Each young man will better understand the meaning of the sacrament and his role as the Lord’s representative in that ordinance.
Suggested Lesson Development
An Ordinance of Remembrance and Recovenanting
Express to the young men how you feel about the sacrament. Explain that it is one of the most sacred ordinances of the priesthood. Heavenly Father has a great deal of confidence in Aaronic Priesthood holders. He has allowed them the privilege of administering the sacred emblems of the sacrament. Ask them to try to imagine how it would have been to be present when the Savior blessed the sacrament.
Scriptures and discussion
Have the young men read and discuss 3 Nephi 18:1–12.
What can we learn about the sacrament and our responsibility as Aaronic Priesthood holders from these verses?
The following may help in the discussion:
Jesus commanded that the sacrament be administered to the Church (verses 3–4, 6–8, and 10–12).
Priests must be properly ordained and authorized to administer the sacrament (verse 5); teachers and deacons may prepare and pass the sacrament.
Partaking of the sacrament is an act of remembering Jesus (verses 7 and 11).
Those who always remember Jesus are promised they will always have his Spirit with them (verses 7 and 11).
Everyone who partakes of the sacrament is obeying a commandment (verse 10).
By partaking of the sacrament members of the Church promise to obey all of Jesus’ commandments (verse 10).
Explain that having the constant companionship of the Lord’s Spirit is one of the most important things in our lives since we all need to be guided and sustained by the Holy Ghost. The only way we can become purified is through the Holy Ghost.
What key for having the constant companionship of the Spirit does the Lord reveal in these verses? (To always remember him.)
What does it mean to always remember him? (To think of him continually, striving to make our thoughts, words, and actions like his.)
If we really understand and appreciate Christ’s atonement for us, should it be difficult to remember him?
What are the differences between these versions? (The Joseph Smith Translation specifies that the body is given as a ransom for us, the emblems are given for remembrance of that sacrifice, and as many as shall believe in Christ shall have a remission of their sins.)
Explain that the sacrament is an ordinance that helps us remember Jesus Christ and what he has done for us. He paid the ransom to allow us to escape from the destroyer, or Satan. Jesus’ sacrifice allows each of us to be forgiven for our sins if we will believe and repent. The sacrament helps us to remember him and renew the covenants made at baptism to keep his commandments.
Scripture and discussion
Have a young man read Mosiah 18:10. Before he reads explain that these are the words of Alma as he taught the believers at the Waters of Mormon.
What words seem to be similar to the sacrament prayers? (Alma said that the people should take Jesus Christ’s name and witness that they have entered into a covenant, or agreement, to keep his commandments. Jesus Christ will then pour out his Spirit upon them, which means he will bless, guide, and sustain them.)
Remind the young men that when we partake of the bread and water, we witness that we desire to do all Jesus Christ has instructed us to do and testify that we will represent him by our behavior. It is important to renew our covenants weekly because we sometimes forget our promises as we become preoccupied with the things of the world.
At the dedication of the Jordan River Temple, Elder Mark E. Petersen stressed the importance of the sacrament:
“The sacrament is commemorative of the most sacred and important thing that has ever happened—the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing is so sacred as the Atonement. Nothing is so important.
“We commemorate the suffering and death of Christ on the cross by partaking of the sacrament. And as we do so, again we enter into a covenant as we accept both the bread and the water. And what is this covenant, and how serious is it?
“Do we realize how serious it really is?
“Only a god could bring about the Atonement. And Christ was divine, the Son of God, our Redeemer, even the Creator of all things.
“When he spoke of his suffering on the cross, he said:
“‘Behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent;
“‘But if they would not repent they must suffer even as I;
“‘Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—
“‘Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men’ (D&C 19:16–19).
“How great was his suffering! We human beings can never measure the extent of it. But he died for us, he suffered for us, and we commemorate his death and suffering through the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
“As we partake of that sacrament, we should realize how truly important and sacred it is, for as we do so we declare to Almighty God, our Father in Heaven, that we will always remember the Christ. We witness to our Father, we testify to our Father, we covenant with our Father, that we are willing to take upon us the name of Christ and always remember him, and always keep his commandments which he has given us.
“That is the covenant we enter into each time we partake of the sacrament. Do we realize what we do? Do we realize how serious the covenant is that we take upon ourselves?” (address given at Jordan River Temple dedication, 16 Nov. 1982).
The Priests Act in Behalf of the Congregation
Explain that in Old Testament times a priest performed the sacrifice for the people in the temple.
What priesthood did the Old Testament priests hold? (The Aaronic Priesthood.)
Emphasize that the ancient priests officiated because they held the priesthood and that they were official representatives of the Lord.
Point out that the Old Testament priests represented the people at the sacrificial altar. The members were not allowed at the altar. The people were not allowed to perform their own ordinances in the temple either. Similarly, as individual members of the Church, we are not allowed to bless and administer the sacrament whenever we feel like it. There is a set order that the Lord has proclaimed, which is outlined in the scriptures.
Scriptures and discussion
Have a young man read Doctrine and Covenants 20:46.
Explain that a priest has the duty to administer the sacrament. He acts for and in behalf of the members as the priests did anciently.
Have a young man read Leviticus 10:8–11.
To what do these verses refer? (These were instructions to the priests who officiated at the sacrificial altar.)
What does it mean in verse 10 to “put difference between holy and unholy”? (Aaron was to be different from the congregation, to be worthy to officiate.)
From what this scripture says, what is a priest’s responsibility regarding worthiness to officiate at the sacrament table?
How can we prepare ourselves to officiate in the sacrament?
Answers should include a discussion of how the priests live their lives during the week—what they think and how they act. Point out that if any of them feel they are not worthy to officiate at the sacrament table, they should talk with the bishop.
Have a young man read 1 Corinthians 11:26–29.
What do you think Paul is saying about the sacrament? (It is a sacred ordinance. We should not partake of it unworthily, which means unrepentantly.)
Point out that we need not be perfect, but we should try to keep the commandments.
What obligation do we have as priesthood representatives of the Lord when we bless and administer the sacrament? (We are to be examples and should strive to be worthy.)
Discussion and adviser presentation
How should priests dress as they officiate at the sacrament table?
Help the young men understand that priests should dress in their best clothes and be groomed in a way that honors their calling.
Explain that, as officiators at the sacrament table, priests represent the people who are trying to renew their covenants and who are trying to have the Spirit of the Lord with them. Priests are performing the same ordinance the Savior did at the Last Supper. Point out that they are going before the Lord in the same manner as the priests anciently went before the Lord. These priests were told what to wear in minute detail in order to honor the Lord (see Exodus 28:2–4). We are given general guidelines.
What would you wear if you had an appointment to appear before the ruler of a nation, or a king, or the President of the Church?
Explain that the priest (and the teachers and deacons) have the potential to make the sacrament service meaningful for those who come to renew their covenants and to get spiritually renewed. They can make a difference.
Tell or read the following story:
A few years ago I attended a ward sacrament meeting. When it came time for the ordinance of the sacrament, I was suddenly impressed by the prayer I heard being repeated.
It was the same prayer I had heard for many years, but there was a sincerity to it that made it new and important to me. I felt I was in a holy place, and the prayer was saying words I wanted to say. After the prayer on the bread, I looked up at the priest who had said the prayer. He was clean and dressed in his best clothes. That helped him look good. But the thing that made the prayer special to me was the feeling he put into it. That day I learned about how to say a prayer and how to influence the congregation to think about the Lord. I was taught by a young man who cared to represent the people before the Lord.
Explain that the priests have an obligation to say the sacrament prayers with meaning and feeling. This means they say the prayers loudly enough, distinctly enough, and with enough feeling to help the congregation have an edifying experience. As they put feeling into the prayers, it will become more meaningful to those in the congregation.
Scripture and activity
The young men should underline and memorize Doctrine and Covenants 20:77, 79.
Point out that all of these references mention wine, but Doctrine and Covenants 27:2 explains that it does not matter what is used for the sacrament if it is done with an eye single to Christ’s glory.
You may wish to discuss the prayers line by line so that the young men can better understand the significance of the prayers.
Let several young men read the prayers aloud. Check for exactness. Help them express themselves clearly. Help them realize that their goal is not to see how quickly they can get through the prayers, but to say the prayers meaningfully and accurately. Accuracy and feeling come easier by not hurrying. Feeling comes from pondering the Savior’s sacrifice and the meaning of the prayer.
What are some things Aaronic Priesthood holders can do to ensure that the sacrament service is a time of spiritual renewal for the congregation?
List young men’s responses on the chalkboard. Answers could include the following:
Arrive early at the sacrament table.
Be sure the sacrament is prepared on time.
Be reverent during the meeting.
Dress appropriately and neatly.
Priests should say the prayers with meaning and reverence; teachers should prepare the sacrament with reverence; and the deacons should pass it with the same reverent attitude.
Challenge the young men to do all they can each week to prepare for, partake of, and administer the sacrament in a way that makes it as meaningful as possible for themselves and the congregation they serve.