“January 28–February 3. Matthew 3; Mark 1; Luke 3: ‘Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“January 28–February 3. Matthew 3; Mark 1; Luke 3,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2019
Record Your Impressions
To help class members share how learning from the New Testament is blessing their lives, you could write the following question on the board: What is something you did because of what you read in the New Testament this week?
How do we prepare for the visit of an important guest? A question like this can help you introduce a discussion about how John the Baptist prepared people to receive Jesus Christ. You could then divide the class into three groups to read Matthew 3:1–6; Matthew 3:7–12; and Luke 3:10–15, looking for how John the Baptist prepared people to receive Jesus Christ into their lives. Let each group take turns sharing what they found.
Just as John the Baptist did, living prophets help us prepare to receive the Savior in our lives. To help class members make the connection between modern-day prophets and John the Baptist, you could review John the Baptist’s teachings in Matthew 3:1–12 and Luke 3:2–18 and some counsel from the most recent general conference. How does obeying this prophetic counsel help us prepare to receive the Savior?
Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 3:4–11 (in the Bible appendix) provides insight into the mission of Jesus Christ beyond what is found in Luke 3:4–6. What do class members learn from these verses about the Savior and our need to repent?
In Luke 3:8, John the Baptist taught the people that before they could be baptized, they needed to show “fruits,” or evidence, of their repentance. How can you help class members recognize the evidence of their own repentance? You might ask them to search Luke 3:8–14 and look for what John considered “fruits” of repentance. They could also review Moroni 6:1–3 and Doctrine and Covenants 20:37. You might draw a fruit tree on the board and let class members label the fruit on the tree with the “fruits” of repentance they find. This could also be a good time to talk about what it means to truly repent. Point out that one way we can “make his paths straight” (Luke 3:4) is through repenting of any obstacles that would prevent the Spirit from reaching us.
Singing the hymn “More Holiness Give Me,” Hymns, no. 131, can encourage discussion about how repentance can help us to become more like the Savior. For a music video of this hymn, see mormontabernaclechoir.org.
To review the story of Jesus Christ’s baptism, try this idea: Ask class members how they could use Matthew 3:13–17 to teach someone, such as a child or someone of another faith, about baptism. (They could also use the picture in this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families.) What important elements of baptism would they emphasize? They could practice their ideas by teaching each other.
To help class members remember their own baptisms and reflect on the importance of living their baptismal covenants, you might invite them to read Matthew 3:13–17 and Elder Robert D. Hales’s statement in “Additional Resources.” Class members might enjoy sharing their feelings about their own baptisms and their baptismal covenants. They could also sing “Come, Follow Me,” Hymns, no. 116.
John the Baptist taught that the Savior would baptize “with the Holy Ghost, and with fire” (Matthew 3:11). The baptism of fire happens when we are confirmed and we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Why must we have the gift of the Holy Ghost to progress in God’s kingdom? What effect does the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost have on us? (see Alma 5:14). The video “Baptism of the Holy Ghost” (LDS.org) could help with this discussion.
Here is an activity that will help class members further discuss the doctrine of baptism. Write the following questions on the board and the scripture references on strips of paper. Invite class members to choose strips and then read each scripture as a class. Discuss which question is best answered by each scripture. Are there other scriptures or insights that could help answer these questions?
What do the scriptures teach about the necessity of baptism? (3 Nephi 11:38)
What does baptism by immersion symbolize? (Romans 6:3–5)
How should my baptismal covenants change the way I live? (Mosiah 18:8–10)
Why don’t we baptize infants? (Moroni 8:8–12)
Why is it important that baptism be performed by someone with authority, not just sincere intent? (Hebrews 5:4)
If I am already baptized into another church, why do I need to be baptized again? (D&C 22:1–4)
Why must baptism be followed by receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost? (John 3:5)
To encourage class members to study Matthew 4 and Luke 4–5 at home, invite them to think of a temptation they face, and tell them that these chapters will teach them what the Savior did when He faced temptations.
Elder Robert D. Hales taught:
“When we understand our baptismal covenant and the gift of the Holy Ghost, it will change our lives and will establish our total allegiance to the kingdom of God. … Entering into the kingdom of God is so important that Jesus was baptized to show us ‘the straitness of the path’ [2 Nephi 31:9]. …
“As we follow the example of Jesus, we, too, demonstrate that we will repent and be obedient in keeping the commandments of our Father in Heaven. We humble ourselves with a broken heart and a contrite spirit as we recognize our sins and seek forgiveness of our trespasses [see 3 Nephi 9:20]. We covenant that we are willing to take upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ and always remember Him. …
“By choosing to be in [God’s] kingdom, we separate—not isolate—ourselves from the world. Our dress will be modest, our thoughts pure, our language clean. The movies and television we watch, the music we listen to, the books, magazines, and newspapers we read will be uplifting. We will choose friends who encourage our eternal goals, and we will treat others with kindness. We will shun the vices of immorality, gambling, tobacco, liquor, and illicit drugs. Our Sunday activities will reflect the commandment of God to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. We will follow the example of Jesus Christ in the way we treat others. We will live to be worthy to enter the house of the Lord” (“The Covenant of Baptism: To Be in the Kingdom and of the Kingdom,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 7–8).