“April 29–May 5. John 7–10: ‘I Am the Good Shepherd’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“April 29–May 5. John 7–10,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
Although Jesus Christ came to bring “peace [and] good will toward men” (Luke 2:14), there was “a division among the people because of him” (John 7:43). People who witnessed the same events came to very different conclusions about who Jesus was. Some concluded, “He is a good man,” while others said, “He deceiveth the people” (John 7:12). When He healed a blind man on the Sabbath, some insisted, “This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day,” while others asked, “How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?” (John 9:16). Yet despite all the confusion, those who searched for truth recognized the power in His words, for “never man spake like this man” (John 7:46). When the Jews asked Jesus to “tell us plainly” whether he was the Christ, He revealed a principle that can help us distinguish truth from error: “My sheep hear my voice,” He said, “and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
The Jews marveled that Jesus knew so much since He was not learned (see verse 15)—at least, not in ways they were familiar with. In Jesus’s response, He taught a different way of knowing truth that is available to everyone, regardless of education or background. According to John 7:14–17, how can you come to know that the doctrine Jesus taught is true? How has this process helped you develop your testimony of the gospel?
When speaking about the Savior’s interaction with the woman taken in adultery, Elder Dale G. Renlund said: “Surely, the Savior did not condone adultery. But He also did not condemn the woman. He encouraged her to reform her life. She was motivated to change because of His compassion and mercy. The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible attests to her resultant discipleship: ‘And the woman glorified God from that hour, and believed on his name’ [see John 8:11, footnote c]” (“Our Good Shepherd,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 30).
When have you felt like the woman, receiving mercy instead of condemnation from the Savior? When have you been like the scribes and Pharisees, accusing or judging others even when you are not without sin? (see John 8:7). What else can you learn from the way the Savior interacted with the scribes and Pharisees and the woman caught in adultery? What do you learn about the Savior’s forgiveness as you read these verses?
“I am” is the term Jehovah used to identify Himself to Moses, as recorded in Exodus 3:14. So when Jesus said, “I am,” He identified Himself as Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament. The Jews considered this blasphemy, and under the law of Moses, the penalty was death by stoning.
Because negative consequences often follow sin, we may view some of our misfortunes as the results of wrongdoing. However, when the Savior’s disciples assumed that a man was born blind because he or his parents had sinned, Jesus corrected them. How do the Savior’s words in John 9:3 change your perspective about your challenges and the challenges of others? As you read John 9, ponder how the “works of God [were] made manifest” (John 9:3). How have they been made manifest as you have faced challenges?
It is also interesting to note that the disciples’ question in John 9:2 revealed that they believed in the premortal existence, a doctrine that was lost to Christianity during the Great Apostasy but restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith (see D&C 93:29; Moses 4:1–4; Abraham 3:22–26).
When the Savior visited the Americas after His Resurrection, He explained who His other sheep are (see 3 Nephi 15:21–16:5).
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:
How can you help your family understand Jesus’s teaching in John 7:24? One way is to go outside and get one family member dirty. What might strangers think of this family member by looking at his or her outward appearance? List some of the good qualities this family member has that can’t be seen by just looking at him or her (see also 1 Samuel 16:7).
How do we sometimes become a servant to sin? What truths taught by Jesus can make us free?
How could you help your family visualize the account of Jesus healing the blind man in John 9? You could act out the story together or show the video “Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind” (LDS.org). Pause the story occasionally so that family members can read the corresponding verses from John 9. Invite them to note any lessons they learn from the account, such as what it means to become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
To involve family members in learning from the parable of the Good Shepherd, ask each of them to draw a picture of one of the following: a thief, a door, a shepherd, a hireling (a hired worker), a wolf, and a sheep. Invite them to read John 10:1–18, 27–29, and then discuss as a family what the Savior taught about the things they drew.
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.