“Home-Study Lesson: Matthew 23:1–26:30 (Unit 6)” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)
“Home-Study Lesson: Unit 6,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
As Jesus Christ taught His disciples about His Second Coming while on the Mount of Olives, He related the parable of the talents.
Before class, place five coins on one side of the room and two coins on the other side. Place eight other coins in your pocket.
To begin the lesson, invite three students to come to the front of the class to help you act out a parable that Jesus Christ taught His disciples as part of His instruction concerning His Second Coming.
Invite a student to read Matthew 25:14–18 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what each servant received and what he did with it.
What did the master give to each of his servants? (Explain that the talents in this parable were sums of money. Take the eight coins out of your pocket, and give five to one student, two to the next student, and one to the third student.)
What did each servant do with the money he had been given?
Invite the student with five coins to retrieve the additional five coins from one side of the room. Ask the student with two coins to retrieve the additional two coins from the other side of the room. Invite the student with one coin to hide or pretend to bury the coin.
Ask the students to return the coins to you and be seated. Write the following elements of the parable on the board (without the interpretations in parentheses):
What might the elements of the parable represent? (If needed, help students identify who and what the elements represent. Write the interpretations next to the elements on the board. Explain that some of the gifts and abilities we have in mortality were received and developed in our premortal life. We can choose to continue to develop those gifts and others in mortality.)
According to Matthew 25:15, why did the master give each servant a different amount of money? (After students respond, point out that the phrase “according to his several ability” indicates that God gives each of us the gifts and abilities we need according to our circumstances. Everyone has been given a spiritual gift from God [see D&C 46:11]. Explain that the amount of talent we have been given is not an indication of our personal worth.)
Read aloud the following questions, and invite students to ponder them:
Which servant do you feel is most like you: the one given five talents, two talents, or one talent? Why?
Invite a student to read Matthew 25:19–21 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the master said to the servant who had received five talents.
What did the master say to the first servant?
Explain that being made a “ruler over many things” and “enter[ing] … into the joy of thy lord” (Matthew 25:21) mean fulfilling our divine potential and receiving eternal life with Heavenly Father.
What principle can we learn from the first servant’s experience? (The following is one principle students may identify: If we faithfully use the gifts and abilities the Lord has given us, then we can fulfill our divine potential and receive eternal life.)
What are some examples of how we can faithfully use the gifts and abilities the Lord has given us?
Point out that the second servant could have complained when he saw that the first servant had received five talents and he had received only two. Instead, he faithfully used the talents he had been given.
Invite a student to read Matthew 25:22–23 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the master said to the servant who had received two talents.
What did the master say to the servant who had received two talents?
Even though the master had given the first two servants different amounts of money, why do you think they both received the same response from their master?
What principle can we learn from the experience of the man who was given two talents? (Students may use different words but should identify the following principle: The Lord will bless us if we faithfully use the gifts and abilities He has given us, regardless of how many we have or what they may be. Using students’ words, write this principle on the board.)
Ask the class to ponder if they have ever felt that someone else had more or better gifts and abilities than they had. Point to the principle you just wrote on the board.
How can remembering this principle help us when we feel that someone else has received more or better gifts than us?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“The growth in our own talents is the best measure of personal progress. … Comparing blessings is almost certain to drive out joy. We cannot be grateful and envious at the same time. If we truly want to have the Spirit of the Lord and experience joy and happiness, we should rejoice in our blessings and be grateful” (“Rejoice!” Ensign, Nov. 1996, 29, 30).
How can we discover the gifts and abilities that the Lord has given us?
Give each student a piece of paper and ask them to write their names at the top. Invite them to pass their papers to the student sitting next to them. Ask students to write a gift or ability they see in the person whose name is on the paper. Instruct them to continue passing the papers around the room and writing down gifts and abilities they have observed.
After a few minutes, ask students to return the papers to their original owners. Give students time to read about the gifts and abilities others see in them. Then ask them to write on their papers an answer to the following question:
What is one way you can use one of your gifts to further the Lord’s work?
Point out that the parable of the talents includes warnings about the gifts and abilities we have been given. Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Matthew 25:24–30. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the master responded to the servant who hid the talent. After verse 27 is read, explain that usury means interest (income gained from investing or lending money).
Why did the last servant hide his talent? How did the master respond to this servant’s choice?
Even though the servant had not lost any of his master’s money, what was wrong with the servant’s actions?
How do you think the master would have responded to the servant if he had brought back two talents?
Invite students to share their testimonies of the principles they have discussed. Encourage them to use their gifts and abilities to further the Lord’s work.
Explain that next week the students will study in detail the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which began with His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and continued through the unlawful trials, the mocking, the beatings, and His death through crucifixion, and finally ended with His glorious Resurrection.