“November 25–December 1. 1 and 2 Peter: ‘Rejoice with Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“November 25–December 1. 1 and 2 Peter,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
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Shortly after His Resurrection, the Savior made a prophecy that must have been troubling to Peter. He said that when Peter was old, he would be carried “whither [he] wouldest not … , signifying by what death he should glorify God” (John 21:18–19). When Peter wrote his epistles, he knew that this prophesied martyrdom was near: “Shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me” (2 Peter 1:14). Unfortunately, such severe persecution was common for the Saints in Roman provinces, to whom Peter was writing (see 1 Peter 1:1). And yet his words were not filled with fear or pessimism. Instead, he taught the Saints to “greatly rejoice,” even though they were “in heaviness through manifold temptations.” He counseled them to remember that “the trial of [their] faith” would lead to “praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” and to “the salvation of [their] souls” (1 Peter 1:6–7, 9). Peter’s faith must have been comforting to those early Saints, as it is encouraging to Saints today, who are also “partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, [we] may be glad also with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:13).
At first glance, it might seem strange that Peter used words like rejoice, happy, glory, and exceeding joy in association with words we typically associate with hardship: heaviness, temptations, grief, fiery trial, and sufferings (see 1 Peter 1:6; 2:19; 4:12–13). Peter’s message to the early Saints was the same message taught by President Russell M. Nelson: “Saints can be happy under every circumstance. … When the focus of our lives is on God’s plan of salvation … and Jesus Christ and His gospel, we can feel joy regardless of what is happening—or not happening—in our lives. Joy comes from and because of Him. He is the source of all joy” (“Joy and Spiritual Survival,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 82).
One day, each person will stand at the judgment bar and “give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead” (1 Peter 4:5). Some might wonder how God can judge all people fairly when their opportunities to understand and live the gospel are so different. Notice the doctrine that Peter taught in 1 Peter 3:18–20; 4:6 to help the Saints in his day understand that God’s judgments will be just. How do these verses strengthen your faith in God’s fairness and justice?
To study this doctrine further, explore Doctrine and Covenants 138, a revelation President Joseph F. Smith received as he pondered these writings of Peter. What blessings come to those who make the ordinances of the gospel available to their family members who have died and are still waiting for these ordinances?
See also “Baptisms for the Dead,” Gospel Topics, topics.lds.org.
Do you ever feel that becoming like Jesus Christ and developing His attributes is not possible? Elder Robert D. Hales offered this encouraging thought about how we can develop Christlike attributes: “The attributes of the Savior … are interwoven characteristics, added one to another, which develop in us in interactive ways. In other words, we cannot obtain one Christlike characteristic without also obtaining and influencing others. As one characteristic becomes strong, so do many more” (“Becoming a Disciple of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 46).
Consider reading 2 Peter 1:1–11 in conjunction with Elder Hales’s message. What do you learn from these two Apostles that helps you in your efforts to become more Christlike?
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 these verses with your family, consider using rocks to help family members visualize Peter’s teachings that the Savior is our “chief corner stone.” How are we like the “lively [living] stones” that God is using to build His kingdom? What do we learn from Peter about the Savior and our role in His kingdom? What is Peter’s message to your family?
How can we “be ready always to give an answer” to those who ask us about our faith? Your family might enjoy role-playing situations in which someone approaches them with a question about the gospel.
What can you do as a family to learn about your deceased ancestors? Perhaps on a deceased ancestor’s birthday you could cook your ancestor’s favorite meal, display pictures, or tell stories from your ancestor’s life. If possible, you could also plan to receive ordinances for this ancestor in the temple.
In these verses, Peter reminded the Saints of his experience on the Mount of Transfiguration (see also Matthew 17:1–9). What do we learn from these verses about the teachings of prophets? (see also D&C 1:38). What gives us confidence to follow our living prophet today?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.