“February 11–17. John 2–4: ‘Ye Must Be Born Again’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“February 11–17. John 2–4,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2019
Record Your Impressions
Write three headings on the board: John 2, John 3, and John 4. Give class members a few minutes to review these chapters, and then ask them to write under each heading a verse that helped them understand the doctrine and events in that chapter. Discuss the verses they wrote.
Sometimes we can gain spiritual insights by paying attention to the details in a scriptural account. Consider inviting class members to read John 2:1–11 and list the details that deepen their appreciation of the miracle at the wedding feast. How did this miracle manifest the glory of God? (see verse 11).
It may help class members understand this story if they consider the miracle from the unique perspectives of those who witnessed it. How are our attitudes toward miracles sometimes like those of the people at the wedding feast—for example, like Mary, who knew a miracle could take place, or the ruler, who was unaware that a miracle had occurred? Consider inviting a few class members to give an account of the feast as if they were one of the people present.
How can you help class members learn from the account of Jesus driving the money changers out of the temple? How can they defend sacred places and things such as homes, churches, temples, and scriptures? This statement from President David O. McKay might help: “‘Make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.’ (John 2:16.) Making and spending money, … faultfinding, and particularly gossiping about neighbors in a house of worship, are essentially violations of this command given nearly two thousand years ago” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1956, 7). How can we preserve the sanctity of the temple and other holy places?
To help class members understand Jesus’s invitation to be born again (see John 3:3), you could invite them to share insights they gain from what the Savior taught Nicodemus in these verses. What words and phrases did He use? What other scriptures or statements from Church leaders could expand class members’ understanding of this invitation? (See Topical Guide, “Man, New, Spiritually Reborn” for scriptural examples; see “Additional Resources” for statements from Church leaders.)
How might class members explain to someone of another faith what it means to be born again? How would they include repentance, baptism, and confirmation in this conversation? Consider inviting class members to practice how they would answer this question with the person sitting next to them. The quote from the Prophet Joseph Smith in “Additional Resources” could add to this discussion.
Some people believe that a person can’t really change; Nicodemus, however, is an example of someone who did change as a result of following the gospel of Jesus Christ. To help class members see this, you could invite them to search John 3:1–2; John 7:40–52; and John 19:39–40. What do we learn from these passages about Nicodemus’s attitudes and beliefs? How did he change over time? What examples can we share about people we know who have changed because of the gospel?
Looking at a baby or picture of a baby may give your class a good opportunity to compare the qualities of a newborn with the qualities of someone who has been spiritually reborn.
Our bodies need food and water daily. Jesus referred to these universal needs when He taught both the Samaritan woman and His disciples. To help class members understand what the Savior was teaching, you could post pictures of food and water on the board and invite class members to write under each picture the spiritual truths that Jesus taught. How can worshipping God in spirit and in truth quench our spiritual thirst? How is our spiritual hunger satisfied by doing the will of God?
Reflecting on the progression of the Samaritan woman’s testimony of Jesus Christ can help your class members ponder how they have come to know He is the Messiah. As a class, look for the terms the Samaritan woman used to refer to the Savior in John 4:6–30. What do these terms imply about her knowledge of who Jesus was? How have we grown in our testimonies that He is our Savior?
To inspire class members to read Matthew 5 and Luke 6, tell them that these chapters contain what President Joseph Fielding Smith called “the greatest [sermon] that was ever preached, so far as we know” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Fielding Smith , 234).
“Jesus Turns Water into Wine,” “Jesus Cleanses the Temple,” “Jesus Teaches of Being Born Again,” “Jesus Teaches a Samaritan Woman” (LDS.org)
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “You might as well baptize a bag of sand as a man, if not done in view of the remission of sins and getting of the Holy Ghost. Baptism by water is but half a baptism, and is good for nothing without the other half—that is, the baptism of the Holy Ghost” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 95).
Elder David A. Bednar taught: “Conversion … is mighty, not minor—a spiritual rebirth and fundamental change of what we feel and desire, what we think and do, and what we are. Indeed, the essence of the gospel of Jesus Christ entails a fundamental and permanent change in our very nature made possible through our reliance upon ‘the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah’ (2 Nephi 2:8). As we choose to follow the Master, we choose to be changed—to be spiritually reborn” (“Ye Must Be Born Again,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 20).
Elder D. Todd Christofferson taught: “You may ask, Why doesn’t this mighty change happen more quickly with me? You should remember that the remarkable examples of King Benjamin’s people, Alma, and some others in scripture are just that—remarkable and not typical. For most of us, the changes are more gradual and occur over time. Being born again, unlike our physical birth, is more a process than an event. And engaging in that process is the central purpose of mortality” (“Born Again,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 78).
Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught:
“We were born again when we entered into a covenant relationship with our Savior by being born of water and of the Spirit and by taking upon us the name of Jesus Christ. We can renew that rebirth each Sabbath when we partake of the sacrament.
“Latter-day Saints affirm that those who have been born again in this way are spiritually begotten sons and daughters of Jesus Christ (see Mosiah 5:7; 15:9–13; 27:25). Nevertheless, in order to realize the intended blessings of this born-again status, we must still keep our covenants and endure to the end. In the meantime, through the grace of God, we have been born again as new creatures with new spiritual parentage and the prospects of a glorious inheritance” (“Have You Been Saved?” Ensign, May 1998, 56).