“March 27–April 2. Matthew 14; Mark 6; John 5–6: ‘Be Not Afraid,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2023 (2022)
“March 27–April 2. Matthew 14; Mark 6; John 5–6,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2023
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 5:16–47, 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? What are you inspired to do to strengthen your relationship with your Heavenly Father?
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 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 has He magnified your efforts as you have served Him? Consider this statement from Sister Michelle D. Craig: “You and I can give what we have to Christ, and He will multiply our efforts. What you have to offer is more than enough—even with your human frailties and weaknesses—if you rely on the grace of God” (“Divine Discontent,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 54).
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?
When Jesus referred to Himself as the “bread of life” (John 6:48), many found this to be a “hard saying” (John 6:60). How can Peter’s words in John 6:68–69 help you during times when the Savior’s doctrine seems hard to accept or live by? What impresses you about Peter’s testimony? 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.
Matthew 14:15–21.Consider how you might help your family imagine how much bread and fish it would take to feed five thousand people. What does the miracle in Matthew 14:15–21 teach us about the Savior? Consider sharing an experience when you felt you didn’t have enough to offer and the Savior multiplied your efforts.
Matthew 14:22–33.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?
John 5:1–16.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?
John 6:28–58.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). What might it mean to “eat” the bread of life? (see D. Todd Christofferson, “The Living Bread Which Came Down from Heaven,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 36–39).
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested hymn: “How Great the Wisdom and the Love,” Hymns, no. 195.
Seek your own spiritual insights. In your personal and family study, do not limit yourself to the scripture passages addressed in these outlines. The Lord likely has messages for you in these chapters that are not covered here. Prayerfully seek them.
Against the Wind, by Liz Lemon Swindle