“April 1–14. Matthew 16–17; Mark 8–9; Luke 9: ‘Thou Art the Christ’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“April 1–14. Matthew 16–17; Mark 8–9; Luke 9,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
Isn’t it strange that the Pharisees and Sadducees would demand that Jesus show them “a sign from heaven”? Weren’t His many well-known miracles enough? What about His powerful teachings or the multiple ways He had fulfilled ancient prophecies? Their demand was prompted not by a lack of signs but by an unwillingness to “discern the signs” and accept them. (See Matthew 16:1–4.)
Peter, like the Pharisees and Sadducees, witnessed the Savior’s miracles and heard His teachings. But Peter’s definitive testimony, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God,” did not come through his physical senses—his “flesh and blood.” His testimony was revealed to him by our “Father which is in heaven.” Revelation is the rock upon which the Savior built His Church then and now—revelation from heaven to His servants. And this is the rock upon which we can build our discipleship—revelation that Jesus is the Christ and that His servants hold “the keys of the kingdom.” When we are built upon this foundation, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against [us].” (Matthew 16:15–19.)
If Jesus Christ asked people today, “Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?” their answers would differ from the answers given by people in His time. What modern attitudes toward Jesus have you noticed? How would you respond if Jesus asked you, “Whom say ye that I am?” (See Matthew 16:13–15.)
Ponder your testimony of the Savior and how you received it. What do you learn from Matthew 16:15–17 that could strengthen it? If you would like to learn more about testimony and personal revelation, explore these scriptures: John 15:26; 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Nephi 31:18; Alma 5:45–48; and Doctrine and Covenants 8:2–3.
When Jesus took Peter, James, and John to “a high mountain,” He was transfigured (or glorified) before them. Moses and Elias (Elijah) also appeared and bestowed priesthood keys on the Apostles. These keys enabled them to lead Christ’s Church on the earth after His Resurrection (see Bible Dictionary, “Transfiguration, Mount of”). These keys were also restored in our day (see D&C 110).
The “keys of the kingdom of heaven” that the Savior promised to give Peter are priesthood keys (Matthew 16:19). “Priesthood keys are the authority God has given to priesthood leaders to direct, control, and govern the use of His priesthood on earth. The exercise of priesthood authority is governed by those who hold its keys (see D&C 65:2; 81:2; 124:123). Those who hold priesthood keys have the right to preside over and direct the Church within a jurisdiction” (Handbook 2: Administering the Church , 2.1.1).
The keys of the priesthood given to Peter and the other Apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration were restored in our day (see D&C 110:11–16). Those who hold priesthood keys include the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other General Authorities; presidents of temples, missions, stakes, and districts; and bishops, branch presidents, and quorum presidents.
The father mentioned in Matthew 17 and Mark 9 had reasons to doubt that Jesus could heal his son. He had asked Jesus’s disciples to heal his son, and they could not. But when the Savior invited him to exercise faith, he did not focus on his doubts. “Lord, I believe,” he said, and then, in acknowledgment that his faith was not perfect, added, “Help thou mine unbelief.”
What did the Spirit teach you as you read about this miracle? How has Heavenly Father helped you increase your faith? What can you do to build upon the faith you already have? Perhaps you could compile a list of scriptures, conference messages, or experiences that have strengthened your faith.
See also Jeffrey R. Holland, “Lord, I Believe,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 93–95.
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:
To teach children about priesthood keys, you could tell Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s story about getting locked out of his car (see “Where Are the Keys and Authority of the Priesthood?” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 29–32). You could let your children use keys to open the house, the car, or other locks. Consider showing a picture of the President of the Church and testifying that he holds all the priesthood keys, just as Peter did.
Prophets with faith in Jesus Christ have moved mountains (see Jacob 4:6; Moses 7:13). The following testimony from Bishop Richard C. Edgley can help make this verse relevant to your family: “I have never witnessed the removal of an actual mountain. But because of faith, I have seen a mountain of doubt and despair removed and replaced with hope and optimism. Because of faith, I have personally witnessed a mountain of sin replaced with repentance and forgiveness. And because of faith, I have personally witnessed a mountain of pain replaced with peace, hope, and gratitude. Yes, I have seen mountains removed” (“Faith—the Choice Is Yours,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 33). What are some mountains in our lives that need to be moved? How can we show faith in God’s power to help us remove these mountains?
What does it mean to look back after putting our hand to the plow? Why would this attitude make us not fit for the kingdom of God?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.