Lesson 14: Jesus Christ Is the Messiah

Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel Teacher Manual, 2015


Introduction

Old Testament prophets testified of the coming Messiah—a descendant of King David who would deliver His people. Jesus Christ was “the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New” (“The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2000, 2). In this lesson, students will explore some of the Old Testament prophecies of Jesus Christ and discover how some individuals responded when faced with accepting or rejecting Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

Background Reading

  • G. Homer Durham, “Jesus the Christ: The Words and Their Meaning,” Ensign, May 1984, 14–16.

  • “The Divine Mission of Jesus Christ: Messiah,” Ensign or Liahona, Aug. 2014, 7.

Suggestions for Teaching

Isaiah 61:1–2; Luke 4:16–24

Jesus announces that He is the Messiah

Ask students if they have ever experienced hearing a long-awaited announcement or seeing the arrival of a long-awaited friend or family member. Tell students that today’s lesson explores a similar experience among the ancient Jews. Invite a student to read Isaiah 61:1–2 aloud. Then ask:

  • Who is this prophecy about?

video iconShow the video “Jesus Declares He Is the Messiah” (3:24) from The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos. (Download and preview the video before class.) Invite students to follow along in Luke 4:16–21 as they watch.

 
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After the video, ask:

  • How would you summarize the Savior’s message in Nazareth that day? (As students respond, be sure the discussion focuses on verse 18 and verse 21.)

  • What do you think is the significance of the phrases “he hath anointed me” and “this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears”? (To help students understand that Messiah and Christ both mean “the Anointed One,” invite them to read the entry for “Messiah” in the Guide to the Scriptures (see scriptures.lds.org).

  • How did Jesus fulfill the prophecy from Isaiah that He quoted from (see verses 18–19)?

Matthew 21:1–11

Jesus Christ came as the Messiah

Display or write the following sets of scripture passages on the board, and invite students to select one or two to study. As students compare and contrast the passages they have chosen, ask them to think about why the passages are grouped together and what they teach about Jesus Christ.

Invite students to share what they learned. (Though they may use different words, students should understand that Jesus Christ came, lived, and died in fulfillment of messianic prophecies.) Emphasize that this truth is what the Savior announced in Nazareth. Read Luke 4:28–29 aloud. Then ask:

  • How did the people in the synagogue at Nazareth respond to Jesus’s announcement?

Tell students that a few years later, Jesus experienced a very different response from some people in Jerusalem. Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Matthew 21:1–11. Before the students read, encourage the class to visualize being at the event described in this passage. Explain to students that as they learn to visualize what is taking place in the scriptures, they will give the Holy Ghost additional opportunities to teach them.

  • Why did the people in Jerusalem respond the way they did? (They recognized Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah.)

  • How do you think you would have responded?

Point out the word Hosanna in verse 9; then share the following definition:

“[Hosanna is a] word from Hebrew that means ‘please save us’ and is used in praise and supplication.

“… At the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the multitudes cried ‘Hosanna’ and spread palm branches for Jesus to ride upon, thus demonstrating their understanding that Jesus was the same Lord who had delivered Israel anciently (Ps. 118:25–26; Matt. 21:9, 15; Mark 11:9–10; John 12:13). These people recognized Christ as the long-awaited Messiah. The word Hosanna has become a celebration of the Messiah in all ages (1 Ne. 11:6; 3 Ne. 11:14–17). The hosanna shout was included in the dedication of the Kirtland Temple (D&C 109:79) and is now a part of the dedication of modern temples” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Hosanna”; scriptures.lds.org).

Consider displaying the following purposes of messianic prophecies (adapted from Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah: The First Coming of Christ [1978], 28–32):

  1. 1.

    Messianic prophecies enabled those living before the birth of Jesus Christ to have faith in Him, thereby helping them to gain salvation (see 1 Nephi 10:4–6; 2 Nephi 25:18–20, 26; Mosiah 3:13).

  2. 2.

    Messianic prophecies enabled those living at the time of Christ to recognize that He was the fulfillment of those prophecies, thus, helping them to gain salvation (see John 4:25, 29).

  3. 3.

    Messianic prophecies help those living after Jesus Christ’s mortal ministry to know that He was the fulfillment of prophecies, thus helping them to gain salvation (see Acts 3:12–18; 26:22–23).

  • As you consider these three purposes, how might it benefit you to learn to identify messianic prophecies in the scriptures and to see Christ as the fulfillment of those prophecies?

John 6:5–69

Following Jesus Christ as the Messiah

Reiterate that Jews during New Testament times believed the Messiah would one day come from the lineage of David to save His people. Many believed He would deliver them from Roman bondage just as Jehovah had delivered the Israelites from Egypt.

Ask students to quickly skim the account in John 6:5–15. Ask:

  • What miracle did Jesus perform in this account?

  • How would you describe the people’s reaction in verses 14–15?

  • Why do you think they responded this way?

Share the following insight from Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“There was a tradition, taught by the Rabbis and firmly entrenched in the public mind, that when Messiah came, he would feed them with bread from heaven” (The Mortal Messiah, 4 vols. [1979–81], 2:367).

Explain that much like when Jehovah fed the children of Israel with manna (see Exodus 16), when Jesus fed the multitude with five barley loaves and two fishes, many interpreted His miracle as a sign that He was the Messiah.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from John 6:31–32, 49–53, 60, 66. Ask the class to follow along and look for how people reacted to Jesus the next day and how He responded to them.

  • Why do you think many rejected Jesus that day?

  • What had they failed to understand? (Jesus was the source of spiritual life; He was the Bread of Life.)

Invite a student to read John 6:67–69 aloud. Then ask the class:

  • What did Peter’s testimony in verse 69 affirm?

  • How did Peter’s testimony of the Savior affect his life?

Write the following incomplete statement on the board, and ask students to explain how they would complete it: If we accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah, then _________________________ .

After a few responses, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President David O. McKay (1873–1970):

President David O. McKay

“What you sincerely in your heart think of Christ will determine what you are, will largely determine what your acts will be. No person can study this divine personality, can accept his teachings without becoming conscious of an uplifting and refining influence within himself” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: David O. McKay [2003], 7).

Give students time to write down what they think about Christ. Invite a few students to share what they wrote.

Encourage students to consider what they can do this week to demonstrate their belief in Jesus Christ.

Student Readings