“March 25–31. Matthew 14–15; Mark 6–7; John 5–6: ‘Be Not Afraid’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“March 25–31. Matthew 14–15; Mark 6–7; John 5–6,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
What could have inspired Peter to leave the safety of his boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee during a boisterous storm? What led him to believe that if Jesus could walk on water, he could too? We can’t know for certain, but perhaps Peter understood that the Son of God came not just to do wonderful things for the people but to empower people like Peter to do wonderful things too. Jesus’s invitation, after all, was “Come, follow me” (Luke 18:22). Peter had accepted this invitation once, and he was willing to accept it again, even if it meant facing his fears and doing something that seemed impossible. Perhaps the Lord will not ask us to step out of a boat in the middle of a storm or contribute our meager supply of bread when thousands need to eat, but He may ask us to accept directions even when we don’t fully understand them. Whatever His invitations to us may be, they may sometimes seem surprising or even frightening. But miracles can happen if we, like Peter, will set aside our fears, our doubts, and our limited understanding and follow Him in faith.
The relationship between Heavenly Father and each of His children is meant to be a sacred one. In these verses, Jesus Christ gave us an inspiring model to follow in our relationship with Heavenly Father. Read John 5:17–47, and mark or note each instance of the word Father. How does the Son honor the Father, and how can you follow His example? What do you learn about how the Father feels about the Son? How can strengthening your relationship with Heavenly Father increase your willingness to seek and obey His will?
Have you ever felt inadequate to meet all the needs you see around you—in your home, in your relationships, or in society? Jesus’s disciples must have felt inadequate when He asked them to feed over five thousand hungry people (see Matthew 14:21) when there were only five loaves of bread and two fish available. As you read about the miracle that happened next, ponder how God might use your humble offerings of service to bless those around you. How might He magnify your efforts as you serve in the Church? Consider this statement from President James E. Faust: “Many nameless people with gifts equal only to five loaves and two small fishes magnify their callings and serve without attention or recognition, feeding literally thousands” (“Five Loaves and Two Fishes,” Ensign, May 1994, 5).
Picture in your mind the details of the scene described in Matthew 14:22–33; Mark 6:45–52; and John 6:15–21. Imagine how Peter and the other disciples may have felt. What do you learn about discipleship from the Savior’s words and actions in these verses? What do you learn from the words and actions of Peter? (See also 1 Nephi 3:7.) What is the Lord inviting you to do that might be like stepping out of the boat? What do you find in these verses that gives you courage to exercise your faith in Jesus Christ?
The day after Jesus miraculously provided bread for the multitudes in the wilderness, His followers found Him and sought for more food. However, they were disappointed and even offended when He instead offered them a spiritual kind of nourishment—the “bread of life” (John 6:48). Many found this to be a “hard saying” (John 6:60).
Have you ever had an experience when you felt that something the Savior or one of His servants taught was a “hard” or difficult doctrine to accept? Think about such experiences as you read this account, particularly Peter’s words in verses 68–69. What are some “words of eternal life” (John 6:68) that help you stay committed to following the Savior?
See also M. Russell Ballard, “To Whom Shall We Go?” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 90–92.
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
As you read about the feeding of the five thousand, you could eat some bread and fish and imagine how much it would take to feed five thousand people. How has your family been fed spiritually by Christ? How has He used you to feed others?
Your family might enjoy reenacting the story in these verses. Why would the disciples have been scared? Why was Peter able to overcome his fear and leave the boat? How did he show faith even when he began to sink? How are we sometimes like Peter?
Invite family members to note instances of the phrase “made whole” in these verses. In what ways can Jesus Christ make people whole? When and how has He made us whole?
Give each family member a piece of bread to eat, and discuss the benefits we receive from bread and other healthy foods. Then search these verses together, looking for why Jesus Christ called Himself the “bread of life” (John 6:35).
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.