“March 25–31. Matthew 14–15; Mark 6–7; John 5–6: ‘Be Not Afraid’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“March 25–31. Matthew 14–15; Mark 6–7; John 5–6,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2019
Record Your Impressions
One way to begin a discussion of these chapters is to invite a few class members to each select a chapter from the reading and come prepared to share a message from that chapter that was meaningful to them. As they share, other class members could ask questions or add insights.
In John 5, Jesus provided several insights about Himself, His Father, and His relationship to the Father. To help the class discover these insights, try dividing them into groups and giving them a few minutes to list as many truths as they can find in verses 16–47 about the character of God, Jesus Christ, and Their relationship. Invite the groups to take turns reading truths from their lists until every truth on each list has been shared. How do these truths help us better understand our Heavenly Father and His Son? How can we follow Jesus Christ’s example of obedience to the Father?
An activity in this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families invites learners to note every time Jesus used the word Father in John 5. Invite a few class members to share what they learned as they completed the activity. What insights did they gain about Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son? What does the restored gospel teach that helps us better understand who our Father is and why we worship Him? Some ideas can be found in the Bible Dictionary entry for “God” and in the entry “God the Father” in True to the Faith, 74–76. As part of this discussion, you might sing, listen to, or read “O My Father,” Hymns, no. 292, as a class.
What could help class members find personal meaning in the miracle of Jesus feeding the five thousand? You might ask how reading about the miracle increases their faith in the Savior’s ability to bless them personally. Have they ever felt that their means or abilities were insufficient to accomplish a goal or a commandment from God? Have they ever felt that the Savior magnified or multiplied their efforts to help them accomplish something that seemed impossible?
The video “The Feeding of the 5,000” (LDS.org) may help class members ponder the miracle described in these passages. What details can we find in this account that increase our faith in the Savior? In what ways can the Savior feed us spiritually? When have we been fed and sustained by Jesus Christ? For an example of a miracle in our day that is similar to the miracle of the loaves and fishes, see the video “Pure and Simple Faith” (LDS.org) or Paul VanDenBerghe, “Power in Prayer,” New Era, July 2012, 34–36.
The account in Matthew 14:22–33 can help class members increase their faith in the Savior and their desire to follow Him. Invite class members to read this account, paying special attention to the words spoken by Christ, Peter, and the other Apostles. How might Jesus’s words have helped Peter have faith to leave the boat and walk on the water? How do Jesus’s admonitions to “be of good cheer” and “be not afraid” (verse 27) apply to us today? What can we learn from Peter about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and to trust Him?
Matthew 14:22–33 contains words and phrases that could inspire class members to exercise greater faith in the Savior. Ask them to search for such inspiring words and phrases, write them on the board, and discuss what they wrote. Can class members relate to Peter’s experience? You might encourage them to think about and share experiences in which they, like Peter, took action to follow the Savior, even when the outcome was uncertain. What did they learn from the experience? How has Jesus Christ come to their rescue in their moments of fear or doubt?
The events in John 6 can provide a helpful perspective when people question the doctrine, history, or policies of Christ’s Church. In this chapter, some of Jesus’s followers refused to accept His teachings that He was the Living Bread and that they could be saved only through His sacrifice of flesh and blood. To help your class members apply this account to their lives, you could write questions like the following on the board and ask class members to look for answers in verses 22–71: What were the people expecting? (see verse 26). What did Christ offer them instead? (see verse 51). What did the people misunderstand? (see verses 41–42, 52). What are some ways we can choose to walk with Christ even when we have questions? Invite them to ponder the Savior’s question and Peter’s response in verses 67–69. What are some doctrines, ordinances, or other “words of eternal life” that can be found only in Christ’s restored Church? Invite class members to share how these doctrines and ordinances have blessed them and their families. For insights from a modern-day Apostle, invite a class member to read Elder M. Russell Ballard’s statement in “Additional Resources.”
Class members may feel inspired to read the passages for next week’s class if you point out that the events they read about could enrich their experience listening to general conference. Encourage them to come to the next class ready to share their insights.
After quoting John 6:68–69, Elder M. Russell Ballard taught:
“For some, Christ’s invitation to believe and remain continues to be hard—or difficult to accept. Some disciples struggle to understand a specific Church policy or teaching. Others find concerns in our history or in the imperfections of some members and leaders, past and present. Still others find it difficult to live a religion that requires so much. Finally, some have become ‘weary in well-doing’ [D&C 64:33]. For these and other reasons, some Church members vacillate in their faith, wondering if perhaps they should follow those who ‘went back, and walked no more’ with Jesus.
“If any one of you is faltering in your faith, I ask you the same question that Peter asked: ‘To whom shall [you] go?’ …
“… Before you make that spiritually perilous choice to leave, I encourage you to stop and think carefully before giving up whatever it was that brought you to your testimony of the restored Church of Jesus Christ in the first place. Stop and think about what you have felt here and why you felt it. Think about the times when the Holy Ghost has borne witness to you of eternal truth” (“To Whom Shall We Go?” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 90–91).