Sunday School lessons for Gospel Doctrine Class

Saturday, February 9, 2019

“The Spirit of the Lord Is upon Me”


Scripture references have been highlighted in red and are hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window. Please click to read! Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog

From His youth, Jesus seemed to be aware that He had a unique, sacred mission. But as Jesus prepared to begin His earthly ministry, the adversary sought to plant doubt in the Savior’s mind. “If thou be the Son of God,” Satan said Luke 4:3. But the Savior had communed with His Father in Heaven. He knew the scriptures, and He knew who He was. To Him, Satan’s offer,“All this power will I give thee”, Luke 4:6 was a hollow one, for the Savior’s lifelong preparation allowed Him to receive “the power of the Spirit”

This week’s lesson includes this statement from the scriptures: “They were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power” Luke 4:32; Mark 1:22. As your study progresses this year in reading the New Testament, do you feel His power? Does the doctrine bring awe to you as it is unveiled through the teaching of Jesus Christ? Do you think, if you had lived at that time you would have felt His power and been astonished? Would you have believed?

Put yourself, for a moment, in the place of the people of Nazareth. Is there anything that might prevent you from freely accepting Christ as your personal Savior.  Is there anything that stands in your way today?

As we study this week from Matthew 4; Luke 4–5 lets think about those temptations that come upon us, even doubts, fears or misunderstandings, and use the knowledge we gain of the Savior's mission and life to cast them aside and wholly commit our belief.

1. Heavenly Father has given us power and means to resist temptation. Matthew 4:1–11; Luke 4:1–13

In the previous lesson Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist as commanded by Father in Heaven and as an example to all of what we need to do gain a remission of our sins and qualify to live again with Father in Heaven.  In your experience what usually happens when one chooses to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized?  Satan comes and trials begin; and many times they are very hard to pass through.  The account given in Matthew 4:1–11; Luke 4:1–13 is just that. 

Following the baptism of Jesus, the spirit of God descended upon him with power in the form of a dove, after which He went to the wilderness to fast and pray to gain spiritual strength, power and knowledge concerning His mission.  Because he had chosen to follow the Plan and complete the work Father had asked him to do, Satan came calling.  


1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.


1 And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
2 Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered. 
3 And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. 
4 And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. 
5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 
6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. 

8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 
9 And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: 
10 For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: 
11 And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 
12 And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 
13 And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.

The account of the Savior resisting Satan could help us recognize ways in which Satan tries to tempt us; and in order for us to understand it correctly and use it, its important to read also the Joseph Smith Translation of this section.  The King James version seems to indicate that Jesus' main purpose in going into the wilderness was to face temptation; or that Satan and taken him to the wilderness to be tempted.  The Joseph Smith Translation adds light to the account so that we understand that the Lord went into the wilderness to commune with his Father, to more fully learn of His mission, and to be strengthened for the difficult trials that lie ahead. The temptations came only after the forty days of communing and fasting when Christ was full with the Spirit upon him.

Elder Bruce R. McConkie added these insights into why Jesus went into the wilderness: “Jesus did not go into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil; righteous men do not seek out temptation. He went ‘to be with God.’ Probably he was visited by the Father; without question he received transcendent spiritual manifestations. The temptations came after he ‘had communed with God,’ ‘after forty days’ [Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 4:12; Luke 4:2]” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary)

 Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 4:11

1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 

2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 
3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 
4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 
9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 
10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 
11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

In much the same way, when we are ready to accept the Jesus Christ, be baptized, attend the temple and/or put our lives in harmony with the gospel, that is when Satan descends upon us the hardest. 

When God has revealed Himself to a mortal, as recorded in the scriptures, Satan has often also revealed himself, seeking to diminish God’s influence (see Moses 1:12–24; Joseph Smith—History 1:15–16). At the beginning of His ministry, the Savior went into the wilderness “to be with God” (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 4:1 [in Matthew 4:1, footnote b]). While He was there, Satan came to tempt Him at a time when He was weakened by hunger (see Matthew 4:1–3).

President Howard W. Hunter explained that Satan’s temptations are often strongest when we are vulnerable: “When Jesus had completed the fast of forty days and had communed with God, he was, in this hungry and physically weakened state, left to be tempted of the devil. … Such a time is always the tempter’s moment—when we are emotionally or physically spent, when we are weary, vulnerable, and least prepared to resist the insidious suggestions he makes. This was an hour of danger—the kind of moment in which many men fall and succumb to the subtle allurement of the devil” (“The Temptations of Christ,” 17)


After reading the account of Jesus being tempted, can you think of modern temptations that could compare to the temptation Christ faced?   President David O. McKay taught:  Every temptation that comes to you and me comes in one of three forms:

“(1) A temptation of the appetite or passion;

“(2) A yielding to pride, fashion, or vanity;

“(3) A desire for worldly riches or power and dominion over lands or earthly possessions of men”


 (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay).

Speaking of Jesus’s experience in Matthew 4, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught:

“‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’ …“The temptation is not in the eating. … The temptation, at least the part I wish to focus on, is to do it this way, to get his bread—his physical satisfaction, relief for his human appetite—the easy way, by abuse of power and without a willingness to wait for the right time and the right way. …“‘If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down’ from the pinnacle of this temple. …“The temptation here is even more subtle than the first. It is a temptation of the spirit, of a private hunger more real than the need for bread. Would God save him? … Why not get spiritual confirmation, obtain a loyal congregation, and answer this Imp who heckles—all with one appeal to God’s power? …“But Jesus refuses the temptation of the spirit. Denial and restraint are also part of divine preparation. … Even the Son of God must wait. The Redeemer who would never bestow cheap grace on others was not likely to ask for any himself. …“… ‘All these things will I give thee, if thou will fall down and worship me.’  “Satan … [asks], ‘What is your price? Cheap bread you resist. Tawdry Messianic drama you resist, but no man can resist this world’s wealth. Name your price.’ Satan is proceeding under his first article of faithlessness—the unequivocal belief that you can buy anything in this world for money.  “Jesus will one day rule the world. He will govern every principality and power in it. He will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But not this way”
(“The Inconvenient Messiah,” Ensign, Feb. 1984, 68–71)


Why is it helpful to know that the Savior faced temptations similar to those we face today? Hebrews 4:14–15

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin said: “The Lord is well aware of our mortality. He knows our weaknesses. He understands the challenges of our everyday lives. He has great empathy for the temptations of earthly appetites and passions” (Conference Report, Apr. 1996, 46)

Why was Christ able to resist temptation?
He had communed with God, he was spiritually prepared, strengthened and ready through fasting, prayer and being led of the Spirit.

How do fasting, prayer, and being “led … of the Spirit” fortify us against temptation? It works for us the same as it did for Christ, when we are completely in tune, Satan can have no power over us but what we give him, we will be strong enough to resist.

Elder Delbert L. Stapley: "The Saints by fasting and praying can sanctify the soul and elevate the spirit to Christlike perfection, and thus the body would be brought into subjection to the spirit, promote communion with the Holy Ghost, and insure spiritual strength and power to the individual. By observing fasting and prayer in its true spirit, the Latter-day Saints cannot be overpowered by Satan tempting them to evil." (General Conference, October 1951)

What do we learn about Christ from this story? and What do we learn about Satan? 

Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "When man is communing with his Maker, he is not subject to temptation; when angels are ministering to him and he is under the spell of their angelic influence, he is not subject to temptation; when the Holy Spirit rests mightily upon him and the visions of eternity are open to his view, he is not subject to temptation.... As the period of edification and spiritual enlightenment drew to its close, as the visions and spiritual experiences ceased...and as Jesus prepared to go back into the normal mortal way of life, with angels no longer at his side and his eyes not open to the unending visions of eternity, then the devil came to entice, to trap, to tempt." (Mortal Messiah, p410)

What Can help us resist temptation?  Jesus responded to each of Satan’s temptations by quoting from the scriptures.  Matthew 4:3–4, 6–7, 8–10  The Savior’s knowledge of the scriptures helped Him respond to Satan (by saying, “It is written”).  The scriptures give us strength to withstand temptation, so it is extremely important that scripture study takes the lead for our days, in this we find safety and peace.  Helaman 3:29–30.

29 Yea, we see that whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked— 
30 And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out.

 What scriptures fortify and strengthen you in facing temptation?   

Christ’s knowledge of the scriptures was part of what had prepared and strengthened Him to turn aside from temptation. The Savior later taught, “Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived” (Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37). While serving as a member of the Seventy, Elder Merrill J. Bateman noted the strength that scripture study provides against temptation: “There are certain blessings obtained when one searches the scriptures. As a person studies the words of the Lord and obeys them, he or she draws closer to the Savior and obtains a greater desire to live a righteous life. The power to resist temptation increases, and spiritual weaknesses are overcome” (“Coming unto Christ by Searching the Scriptures,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 28). 
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin explained that following the Savior’s example of obedience helps us overcome temptation: “Willing obedience provides lasting protection against Satan’s alluring and tantalizing temptations. Jesus is our perfect example of obedience. Learn to do as He did when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness. Even though He was weakened by fasting, His answer was quick and firm: ‘Get thee behind me, Satan’ [Luke 4:8]. … When Satan comes calling, cast him out as quickly as possible” (“Live in Obedience,” Ensign, May 1994)

Jesus Christ Gave No Heed to Satan’s Temptations.  Elder Neal A. Maxwell said of the Savior’s example in resisting temptation: “By emulating the Master, who endured temptations but ‘gave no heed unto them’ [D&C 20:22], we, too, can live in a world filled with temptations ‘such as [are] common to man’ (1 Corinthians 10:13). Of course Jesus noticed the tremendous temptations that came to Him, but He did not process and reprocess them. Instead, he rejected them promptly. If we entertain temptations, soon they begin entertaining us!” (“Overcome … Even as I Also Overcame,” Ensign, May 1987, 71).

President Spencer W. Kimball taught that showing interest in sin can make us more vulnerable to being tempted: “It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the devil to enter a door that is closed. He seems to have no keys for locked doors. But if a door is slightly ajar, he gets his toe in, and soon this is followed by his foot, then by his leg and his body and his head, and finally he is in all the way” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball).



2. Jesus Christ is the prophesied Messiah Luke 4:16–30
The titles Messiah and Christ both mean “the anointed,"  Christ is the Greek word for Messiah. As you read Luke 4:16–30, what do you think it means to say that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, or the Anointed One?

16 ¶ And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. 

17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, 
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, 
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. 
20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. 
21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. 
22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? 
23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. 
24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. 
25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 
26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 
27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. 
28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 
29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. 
30 But he passing through the midst of them went his way,

At Jesus Christ’s Second Coming, everyone will recognize him as the Savior. This was not true at his first coming. The Jews had studied prophecies about the Savior’s coming for centuries, but many of those who heard Jesus failed to recognize him as the Savior. Because Jesus did not free the Jews from Roman control,  they expected the Messiah to free them from political oppression not understanding his true purpose, many of them rejected him and his message.

Jesus Christ began His ministry in Nazareth by going to the synagogue, reading passages from Isaiah about the mission of the Messiah, and then identifying Himself as the One who fulfilled the prophecies Luke 4:16–21. Elder James E. Talmage described the setting as the Savior attended the synagogue:

“Many times as boy and man He had sat in that house of worship [the synagogue], listening to the reading of the law and the prophets and to the commentaries … , as delivered by appointed readers; but now, as a recognized teacher of legal age He was eligible to take the reader’s place. On this occasion He stood up to read, when the service had reached the stage at which extracts from the prophetical books were to be read to the congregation. The minister in charge handed Him the roll, or book, of Isaiah; He turned to the part known to us as the beginning of the sixty-first chapter, and read: [Luke 4:18–19]. … The scripture He had quoted was one recognized by all classes as specifically referring to the Messiah, for whose coming the nation waited” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 179)

In Luke 4:16–19 Isaiah is called “Esaias” what are these verses about quoted from Isaiah 61:1–2? The verses Jesus quoted provide a summary of His earthly mission and atoning sacrifice. The verses referred to a person who was “anointed” a term the Jews recognized as meaning “the Messiah.” As the Messiah, Jesus was sent to “heal the brokenhearted” His atoning sacrifice would save those who offer the sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit. He was sent to “preach deliverance to the captives” His gospel would deliver those in spirit prison as well as those in spiritual bondage 1 Peter 3:18–20; D&C 138:18–30). He was to provide “sight to the blind” He would miraculously restore physical and spiritual sight. He was to “set at liberty them that are bruised” fulfilling the promise to Mother Eve that her posterity, whose heels were bruised by the serpent, would have power to crush the serpent’s head Genesis 3:15. He was to “preach the acceptable year of the Lord” to preach that the Lord had begun His ministry.  

When Jesus finished reading the passage from Isaiah, what testimony did he bear?   Luke 4:21  He declared that he was the Messiah of whom Isaiah prophesied and for whom the Jews had been waiting for centuries.

 21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.

How did the people in the synagogue respond to Jesus’ declaration? Luke 4:22–29
22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son? 
23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country. 
24 And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. 
25 But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; 
26 But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. 
27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. 
28 And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, 
29 And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.

The people of Nazareth “wondered” at Jesus Christ’s declaration of Himself as the Messiah and questioned, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4:22). Elder James E. Talmage explained that the Savior anticipated the people’s response to His message and rebuked their unspoken wish to see proof of His Messiahship:

"In their hearts the people were eager for a sign, a wonder, a miracle. They knew that Jesus had wrought such in Cana, and a boy in Capernaum had been healed by His word; at Jerusalem too He had astonished the people with mighty works. Were they, His townsmen, to be slighted? Why would He not treat them to some entertaining exhibition of His powers? He continued His address, reminding them that in the days of Elijah, when for three years and a half no rain had fallen, and famine had reigned, the prophet had been sent to but one of the many widows, and she a woman of Sarepta in Sidon, a Gentile, not a daughter of Israel. And again, though there had been many lepers in Israel in the days of Elisha, [only] one leper, and he a Syrian, not an Israelite, had been cleansed through the prophet’s ministration, for Naaman alone had manifested the requisite faith.

“Then great was their wrath. Did He dare to class them with Gentiles and lepers? Were they to be likened unto despised unbelievers, and that too by the son of the village carpenter, who had grown from childhood in their community? Victims of diabolical rage, they seized the Lord and took Him to the brow of the hill on the slopes of which the town was built, determined to avenge their wounded feelings by hurling Him from the rocky cliffs”
 (Jesus the Christ, 180).

Why do you think the people in the synagogue had difficulty accepting Jesus as the Messiah? They knew him and had watched him grow up, so they could not see how he could be the great Messiah they were expecting.

Why do you think some people today have difficulty accepting Jesus Christ?

How can we strengthen our testimonies that Jesus is the Savior?

What do these accounts teach us about miracles and responding to God’s servants?

Do you see any messages for today’s Church members in the Savior’s words to the people of Nazareth?

 
3. The commitment to follow Christ means accepting His will and forsaking our own  Matthew 4:18–22; Luke 5:1–11
President Ezra Taft Benson taught, “Men and women who turn their lives over to God will discover that He can make a lot more out of their lives than they can” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Ezra Taft Benson [2014], 42). This is what happened to Peter and his fellow fishermen. Jesus helped them realize that they could do more than catch fish, they could become “fishers of men”  However sometimes the direction the Lord gives us doesn’t make sense at first, this was also the case with Peter we see reading  Luke 5:1–11

1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 
2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets. 
3 And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon’s, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship. 
4 Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. 
5 And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. 
6 And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. 
7 And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. 
8 When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord. 
9 For he was astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him


What were Simon Peter, James, and John doing when Jesus came to them? Luke 5:1–2.
1 And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret, 
2 And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.

What did Jesus tell them about how their lives would change if they followed him? Luke 5:10.
 10 And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. 11 And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him

How did the miracle with the fishing nets foreshadow the experiences that Peter, James, and John would have as “fishers of men”?
Luke 5:5: “At thy word I will let down the net.” (They would work where Jesus directed them.)
Luke 5:6: “They inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.” (They would find many people who would accept the gospel.)
Luke 5:7: “They beckoned unto their partners … that they should come and help them.” (They would call others to assist in the work.)

How might this experience have affected Peter’s views about the Savior and himself?  At the time of his call to be a disciple, Simon Peter was working as a successful fisherman who, with his partners, owned at least two ships. Yet Peter was willing to forsake everything to follow Jesus Christ. The account of Simon Peter forsaking a spectacular catch of fish to follow the Savior is found only in Luke, though a similar event that occurred after the Resurrection is recorded in John 21:2–6. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland explained the significance of this event in Peter’s life:

“Peter was, in President [Spencer W.] Kimball’s words, ‘a diamond in the rough—a diamond that would need to be cut, trimmed, and polished by correction, chastisement, and trials—but nevertheless a diamond of real quality. The Savior knew this apostle could be trusted to receive the keys of the kingdom’ [‘Peter, My Brother,’ Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year (July 13, 1971), 2]. Time was short. Much had to be done in a matter of months. Jesus prepared Peter as quickly as possible for the call that was to come.

“‘Launch out into the deep,’ he counseled this fisherman one morning in Galilee, ‘and let down your nets for a draught.’ (Luke 5:4.) After an unsuccessful night of effort, Peter’s expert judgment told him a final effort was useless. But this was a man of genuinely childlike faith, and he lowered the net. The number of fish taken in that single attempt strained the strings until they began to break and filled two boats until they began to sink. In that small ship Peter kneeled, stunned, at the feet of the Master. Jesus said lovingly, ‘Henceforth thou shalt catch men.’ (Luke 5:10.)

“Launch out into the deep! Peter could not have known the ever-widening circles that single command would make in the stream of his plain and simple life. He was launching out into the expanse of godliness, into the eternal possibilities of redeemed and celestial life. He would be learning the mysteries of the kingdom. He would be hearing unspeakable things. To launch out into that limitless sea of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Peter brought his craft to shore, turned his back on the most spectacular single catch ever taken from Galilee, ‘forsook all, and followed him.’
(Luke 5:11.)

“From that moment on Jesus taught and trained Peter at every opportunity” (“The Lengthening Shadow of Peter,” Ensign, Sept. 1975, 32)

When Peter first met the Savior and witnessed His miraculous power, Peter recognized that he was “a sinful man” in great need of the Savior’s redeeming power (Luke 5:8). Peter’s words illustrate that as we draw near to God, we become aware of our sinfulness and unworthiness and desire His help in becoming more like Him.

Have you had experiences in which you demonstrated  faith in divine guidance, despite not having a complete understanding?  What was the result ?

When have you felt the Savior calling you to follow Him?

How can you show the Lord that you are willing to “forsake all” (Luke 5:11) to follow Him? Just as the fishermen “forsook all” to follow Jesus Christ  there are things we have to forsake to become His disciples.  Peter, James, and John exemplified the qualities of discipleship as “they forsook all” and followed the Savior. President James E. Faust used the experience of Peter and his partners James and John to teach about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ:

“Jesus said to Peter, ‘Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.’ Luke then tells us, ‘When they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him’ [Luke 5:10–11]. They became the Lord’s disciples.

“The word for disciple and the word for discipline both come from the same Latin root—discipulus, which means pupil. It emphasizes practice or exercise. Self-discipline and self-control are consistent and permanent characteristics of the followers of Jesus, as exemplified by Peter, James, and John, who indeed ‘forsook all, and followed him.’

“What is discipleship? It is primarily obedience to the Savior. Discipleship includes many things. It is chastity. It is tithing. It is family home evening. It is keeping all the commandments. It is forsaking anything that is not good for us. … “… Discipleship [requires] us to forsake evil transgression and enjoy what President Spencer W. Kimball has called ‘the miracle of forgiveness’ [see The Miracle of Forgiveness (1969), 362]. This can come only through repentance, which means that we forsake sin and resolve each day to be followers of truth and righteousness. As Jesus taught, ‘What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am’
[3 Nephi 27:27]” (“Discipleship,” Ensign Nov. 2006, 20, 22).

Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin helps us see a modern application of the experience the early disciples had in leaving their nets and following the Savior:

“They were fishermen before they heard the call. Casting their nets into the Sea of Galilee, Peter and Andrew stopped as Jesus of Nazareth approached, looked into their eyes, and spoke the simple words, ‘Follow me.’ Matthew writes that the two fishermen ‘straightway left their nets, and followed him.’ … ‘If the Savior were to call you today, would you be just as willing to leave your nets and follow Him?’ I am confident that many would. …

“… We might define a net as anything that entices or prevents us from following the call of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Nets in this context can be our work, our hobbies, our pleasures, and, above all else, our temptations and sins. In short, a net can be anything that pulls us away from our relationship with our Heavenly Father or from His restored Church.

“Let me give you a modern example. A computer can be a useful and indispensable tool. But if we allow it to devour our time with vain, unproductive, and sometimes destructive pursuits, it becomes an entangling net.

“Many of us enjoy watching athletic contests, but if we can recite the statistics of our favorite players and at the same time forget birthdays or anniversaries, neglect our families, or ignore the opportunity to render acts of Christlike service, then athletics may also be an entangling net. …

“It is impossible to list the many nets that can ensnare us and keep us from following the Savior. But if we are sincere in our desire to follow Him, we must straightway leave the world’s entangling nets and follow Him”
(“Follow Me,” Ensign, May 2002, 15).

Conclusion
Perhaps the most important thing we can do is to live the gospel with all our heart. This is the principal way to qualify for the companionship of the Holy Ghost. You don’t have to be perfect, Peter wasn't perfect, he saw himself as a sinful man, but, he believed Jesus was the Messiah, he gave up all to follow him, and diligently kept trying and progressing to not be sinful, but to be as Christ wanted him to be.  This is all we need to do, follow his example, and keep trying.  Christ has given us the tools through the scriptures, we can resist temptation, we can beat Satan, we can be righteous and full of love and service, we can have the companionship of the Holy Ghost and feel the spirit, and as we do so accepting these gifts, we will be victorious. Just keep believing, Jesus is the Messiah and will return; diligently keep trying and seeking forgiveness through the Savior’s Atonement whenever you stumble; fight the good fight, hold onto to the rod, it will bring you safety, peace, and happiness not only in this life but the life to come.

Next Week:  Read John 2–4 and during the coming week, ponder what you think it means to be “born again.”

Resources
Ensign
Conference Reports
New Testament Student Manual
Teachings of the Presidents of the Church
Bible Dictionary
Jesus the Christ
Mortal Messiah
Doctrinal New Testament Commentary














The Fall of Adam and Eve

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