Lesson 2

Matthew 3–4; Mark 1; Luke 3–4; John 1:19–4:54


The following assignments include various learning activities, such as questions, lists, essays, charts, comparisons, contrasts, and surveys. To receive credit for this lesson, you must complete the number of assignments indicated below and submit them to your institute instructor or administrator. You may submit your work either electronically or on paper, handwritten or typed.

Each lesson should take approximately 60–90 minutes to complete, the same amount of time you would typically spend in a weekly institute class. Since reading the scripture block listed in the lesson heading is expected of all institute students prior to class, the estimated time for each assignment does not include the time you need to spend reading the scripture block.

Complete assignment 7 and any three of the other assignments:

1.   Matthew 3:1–11; Mark 1:4–8; Luke
3:1–14
; John 1:7–9, 19–28. The Mission of John the Baptist

Describe in writing what was taught about John the Baptist and his mission in 1 Nephi 10:7–10; 2 Nephi 31:4; Isaiah 40:3–4; Malachi 3:1; Doctrine and Covenants 87:27–28.

Read the following references and list ways John the Baptist fulfilled his mission as foretold:

The Savior stated that “among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). Read the entry in the Bible Dictionary on “John the Baptist” (pp. 714–15). Make a list of five actions of John the Baptist that demonstrate his greatness.

2.   Matthew 3:13–17. The Baptism of Jesus Christ

Read Matthew 3:13–17 and the institute student manual commentary for Matthew 3:16, “What Is the Significance of the Holy Ghost Descending ‘like a Dove’?” (pp. 28–29). Then write answers to the following questions:

  • Why was John hesitant to baptize Jesus?
  • What is taught here about the Holy Ghost?
  • Jesus Christ said He must be baptized to “fulfill all righteousness.” List three reasons why Jesus Christ was baptized (see 2 Nephi 31:6–11).
  • What evidence is found in Matthew 3:16–17 that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are three separate personages in the Godhead?

3.   Matthew 4:1–11; Luke 4:1–11. Temptations in the Wilderness

Read Matthew 4:1–11. Then write answers to the following questions:

  • How do the changes made in the Joseph Smith Translation impact the meaning of the verses found in the King James Version? (see footnotes to Matthew 4:1b, 2c, 5a, 6a, 8a, 9a, 11a).
  • Soon after the Savior was baptized, the Spirit led him into the wilderness to be with God (see footnote 4:1b). How do you think this experience prepared the Savior to withstand Satan’s temptations? How do fasting, prayer, and being “led . . . of the Spirit” fortify you against temptation?
  • Read Matthew 4:3–4, 6–7, 8–10. Identify the consistent pattern the Savior used to respond to each of Satan’s temptations. How do the scriptures give you strength and power to withstand temptation?

Read the student manual Points to Ponder, “The Three Temptations Jesus Faced Are a Pattern for All Temptations” (p. 30) and “All Will Be Tested” (pp. 30–31). List one modern example of temptation for each of the three categories President David O. McKay identified.

Read the student manual Points to Ponder, “We Should Not Even Accommodate Temptation” (p. 31); Doctrine and Covenants 20:22. Write a paragraph detailing how following this example of the Savior can strengthen you in times of temptation.

4.   John 1:35–51; Matthew 4:17–25. Early Disciples

Read John 1:29, 36 and identify the title used by John for Jesus Christ. For thousands of years, people who believed in the Lord had offered up sacrifices in the similitude of the future sacrifice of Jesus Christ. To those with “ears to hear,” John was proclaiming that Jesus Christ would be the final offering made on their behalf. Read John 1:35–51; Matthew 4:17–25. Then fill in the chart below listing individuals who came in contact with Jesus Christ. Pay particular attention to the verbs that are used to describe their actions.

List two actions taken by the men in the chart who demonstrated that they believed Jesus Christ was the Messiah.

How were Andrew and Philip examples of the principle taught? Read 1 Nephi 8:12; Mosiah 28:3–4; Doctrine and Covenants 88:81. Write a short paragraph describing what you have done in the past to practice this principle and what you could do in the future to implement it further in your life.

5.   John 2. Water to Wine and Cleansing the Temple

Read John 2:1–22 and the student manual commentary for John 2:4, “What of Jesus’s Addressing His Mother as ‘Woman’?” (p. 30); commentary for John 2:6, “How Much Constitutes a ‘Firkin’?” (p. 30). Write responses to the following questions:

  • What impresses you most about the miracle found in John 2:1–11?
  • How does the student manual help in understanding why Jesus Christ would refer to His mother as “woman”?
  • In what ways are Jesus Christ’s actions in John 2:13–16 symbolic of what He desires of each of us?

6.   John 3. We Must Be Born Again

The Savior declared that we must be “born again” (John 3:3). Read John 3:1–8; Mosiah 5:7. Then respond in writing to the following questions and instructions:

  • What is the difference between “seeing” the kingdom of God and “entering” the kingdom of God?
  • What did Jesus Christ teach Nicodemus that he must do to enter the kingdom of God?
  • What does it mean to be “born of water”?
  • Read Moses 6:59 and list ways that baptism is a symbol of rebirth. Read Romans 6:4 and list how baptism can be a symbol of death.
  • What does it mean to be “born of the Spirit”?
  • What natural element does the Lord compare with the Spirit? Why is it an effective comparison?

Read John 3:14–17, 35–36. Write a paragraph that describes who the Father loves, what He has done to show his love for his children, and for Jesus Christ, what the purpose of the Savior was, and what blessings will come to those who accept the Son.

7.   John 4. The Samaritan Woman at the Well

Read John 4:1–42; Bible Dictionary entry for “Samaritans” (p. 768); student manual commentary for John 4:9, “Why Did the Jews Feel So Much Antipathy Toward the Samaritans?” (pp. 37–38). Write two or three sentences explaining why the Samaritan woman was surprised that Jesus Christ would talk with her.

The Jews had “no dealings with the Samaritans” (John 4:9) and usually avoided Samaria when traveling. Yet Jesus deliberately went through Samaria. How does Colossians 3:25; 2 Nephi 26:33, together with this account of the Samaritan woman, help you understand how the Lord will judge people?

How did the Savior’s actions in this chapter help prepare His disciples for what He later commanded them to do in Matthew 28:19–20; Acts 1:8?

The Samaritan woman’s attitude toward Jesus Christ changed the longer He visited with her. Respond in writing to the following questions about this change:

  • What words and phrases in John 4:9–30 indicate that the woman’s attitude toward Jesus Christ changed?
  • What did she finally come to understand about Jesus Christ?
  • What caused the woman’s attitude toward Jesus Christ to change?
  • What did she do after she understood who He really was? What was the result?
  • How has your testimony of Jesus Christ progressed over the years as you have come to know Him better? What has caused your testimony to deepen? What responsibility do you have because of what you know about the Savior?
  • What was the effect on the community of the woman’s encounter with Jesus? (see John 4:39–41).

The Savior offered the woman “living water.” Describe in writing what the term “living water” might mean. According to Jeremiah 2:13, what are people prone to do in place of accepting the “living water” of the Lord?