“April 10–16. Matthew 15–17; Mark 7–9: ‘Thou Art the Christ,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2023 (2022)
“April 10–16. Matthew 15–17; Mark 7–9,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2023
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?” what might they say? 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; 2 Nephi 31:17–18; Alma 5:45–48; and Doctrine and Covenants 8:2–3.
See also “President Nelson: Hear Him—Personal Revelation” (video), ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
The “keys of the kingdom of heaven” that the Savior promised to give Peter are priesthood keys (Matthew 16:19). What are priesthood keys? Why do we need them? Ponder these questions as you read about the Savior’s promise in Matthew 16:13–19 and its fulfillment in Matthew 17:1–9; Mark 9:2–9 (see also Joseph Smith Translation, Mark 9:3 [in Mark 9:4, footnote a]).
Other resources to help you learn about priesthood keys include Doctrine and Covenants 65:2; 107:18–20; 110:11–16; 128:9–11; “Keys of the Priesthood” in Guide to the Scriptures (scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org); and Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s message “Where Are the Keys and Authority of the Priesthood?,” (Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 29–32). While studying these resources, consider making a list of what you learn about priesthood keys and the blessings that come from them. Why do you think a key is a good symbol for the right to direct priesthood service?
The father mentioned in Matthew 17 and Mark 9 had reasons to feel uncertain that Jesus could heal his son. He had asked Jesus’s disciples to heal his son, and they could not. But when he asked the Savior for a miracle, he chose to express faith. “Lord, I believe,” he said. Then, in acknowledgment that his faith was not perfect, he added, “Help thou mine unbelief.”
What does 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.
Matthew 15:7–9; Mark 7:6–7.
What is the difference between honoring God with our lips, or words, and honoring Him with our hearts?
Matthew 15:17–20; Mark 7:18–23.
Why are we careful about what we put into our mouths? Based on what Jesus taught in these verses, why should we be even more careful about what comes out of our mouths—and out of our hearts? How can we keep our hearts pure?
How does God reveal to us that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God”? (verse 16). How can we prepare ourselves to receive this revelation from Him?
Matthew 16:13–19; 17:1–9.
To teach children about priesthood keys, you could tell Elder Gary E. Stevenson’s story about getting locked out of his car (see the video “Where Are the Keys?” on ChurchofJesusChrist.org). 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 literal mountains (see Jacob 4:6; Moses 7:13). But usually, that isn’t the miracle we need. President M. Russell Ballard taught: “If we have faith as small as a mustard seed, the Lord can help us remove the mountains of discouragement and doubt in the tasks ahead of us as we serve with God’s children, including family members, Church members, and those who are not yet members of the Church” (“Precious Gifts from God,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 10). 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?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested hymn: “I Believe in Christ,” Hymns, no. 134.