To help class members recognize and avoid hypocrisy and thus strengthen their commitment to Jesus Christ.
Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:
John 12:1–8. Jesus travels to Bethany, where Mary anoints his feet. Judas criticizes Mary’s use of expensive oil.
Matthew 21:1–11. Jesus returns to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. He makes a triumphal entry into the city, riding on a colt, the foal of an ass.
Matthew 21:23–46. The chief priests and elders come to Jesus in the temple and challenge his authority. Instead of answering their questions, Jesus tells them the parable of the two sons and the parable of the householder.
Matthew 22:15–46. The scribes and Pharisees try to trap Jesus into saying something that will allow them to discredit and condemn him.
Matthew 23. Jesus condemns the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy.
If you use the attention activity, bring one cup that is clean outside and inside and a similar cup that is clean outside but dirty inside.
If the picture Triumphal Entry (62173; Gospel Art Picture Kit 223) is available, use it during the lesson.
Suggestion for teaching: As you prepare to teach, you should do more than merely read the assigned scriptures. Study each scripture block at least three times. The first time, read it to comprehend what the passages contain. Then study it more carefully, looking for principles, doctrines, and significant events. Then read it again, determining which passages will best meet class members’ needs and planning ways to discuss those passages.
Suggested Lesson Development
Additional Teaching Ideas
The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or more of these ideas as part of the lesson.
1. Jesus curses a barren fig tree, a symbol of hypocrisy
Read and discuss Matthew 21:17–22. Explain that another symbol of hypocrisy was the fig tree Jesus saw on his way into Jerusalem.
What did Jesus do when he found that the tree had many leaves but no fruit? (See Matthew 21:19.) How was the fig tree like a hypocrite?
Elder James E. Talmage explained: “[The tree] was made the object of the curse and the subject of the Lord’s instructive discourse, because, having leaves, it was deceptively barren. Were it reasonable to regard the tree as possessed of moral agency, we would have to pronounce it a hypocrite; its utter barrenness coupled with its abundance of foliage made of it a type of human hypocrisy” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. , 527).
2. Video presentation
The second segment of “New Testament Customs,” a selection from New Testament Video Presentations (53914), explains the Jews’ use of phylacteries and fringes. If you did not show this segment in lesson 9, you could show it now to help class members understand Matthew 23:5 (“they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments”). Discuss how these items were symbolic of the scribes’ and Pharisees’ hypocrisy.
John recorded that many people who believed in Jesus would not admit to their belief because “they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42–43). How do we sometimes become too concerned with receiving “the praise of men”? What are the consequences of seeking “the praise of men”? How can we overcome the desire to seek praise and recognition from others? (See D&C 82:19; 88:67.)