Jesus Christ “is the light, the life, and the hope of the world” (“The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2000, 3). This lesson will help students understand that as they come unto Christ, they will receive increased hope for eternal life and they will have more determination to endure life’s trials.
Read aloud the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency. Ask the class to listen for circumstances that might cause a person to feel as if they are surrounded by darkness:
“I have a cherished painting in my office that is titled Entrance to Enlightenment. It was created by a friend of mine, the Danish artist Johan Benthin, who was the first stake president in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“The painting shows a dark room with an open door from which light is shining. It is interesting to me that the light coming through the door does not illuminate the entire room—only the space immediately in front of the door.
“To me, the darkness and light in this painting are a metaphor for life. It is part of our condition as mortal beings to sometimes feel as though we are surrounded by darkness. We might have lost a loved one; a child might have strayed; we might have received a troubling medical diagnosis; we might have employment challenges and be burdened by doubts or fears; or we might feel alone or unloved.
“But even though we may feel lost in the midst of our current circumstances, God promises the hope of His light—He promises to illuminate the way before us and show us the way out of darkness” (“The Hope of God’s Light,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2013, 70).
What are some circumstances that can cause a person to feel surrounded by darkness?
What did President Uchtdorf say God can do when we feel this way?
After students respond, explain that this lesson will focus on how we can receive light and hope from God, whatever our circumstances.
Ask a student to read John 1:1–5 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for words and phrases John used to describe the Savior. As students report what they found, write the following doctrine on the board: Jesus Christ is the Light of the World.
To help students deepen their understanding of this doctrine, ask them to read John 1:6–9 silently. Then ask:
What do these verses teach about Jesus Christ’s role as the Light of the World?
How do the footnotes for verse 9 help you to understand how Jesus can be the Light of the World to all individuals?
Tell students that in the scriptures, the light “which lighteth every man” (John 1:9), or the Light of Christ, “is sometimes called the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, or the Light of Life” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 96). The Light of Christ is described in Doctrine and Covenants 88.
Assign students to work in pairs. Ask them to study Doctrine and Covenants 88:6–13 and identify how Jesus Christ is the source of light and life. After sufficient time, ask the following questions:
How does the Light of Christ influence all of Heavenly Father’s creations?
What do the truths recorded in these verses suggest the Light of Christ has power to do for an individual?
Why is it helpful to understand that the light that governs the universe is the “same light that quickeneth your understandings”? (D&C 88:11).
Display the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, and ask a student to read it aloud:
“God’s light is real. It is available to all! It gives life to all things [see D&C 88:11–13]. It has the power to soften the sting of the deepest wound. It can be a healing balm for the loneliness and sickness of our souls. In the furrows of despair, it can plant the seeds of a brighter hope. It can enlighten the deepest valleys of sorrow. It can illuminate the path before us and lead us through the darkest night into the promise of a new dawn.
Discuss the following questions with your class:
According to President Uchtdorf, what blessings come from the light that Father in Heaven offers to us through Jesus Christ?
When have you experienced the blessings President Uchtdorf spoke of?
Write the following incomplete statement on the board:
Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:13 again, looking for a phrase that completes the statement on the board. Ask:
How does the Savior’s role as the Light of the World relate to His role as the Life of the World?
In what ways is light associated with life? (You might point out that Jesus is the “life of the world because his resurrection and his atonement save us from both physical and spiritual death” [Dallin H. Oaks, “The Light and Life of the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 65].)
What would be the result if the Savior’s light and power ceased to sustain all things? (There would be no more life.)
Explain that the scriptures provide examples of how Jesus is literally the Light of the World. At the time of the Savior’s death, there were three days of darkness, symbolizing that the Light of the World had left the world (see 3 Nephi 8:20–23). On the other hand, the Savior’s birth was accompanied by a star and great lights in the heavens and also by three days of light (see Helaman 14:3–5; 3 Nephi 1:15, 21).
Explain to students that the term hope can have multiple meanings. In the context of the gospel of Jesus Christ, hope is “the confident expectation of and longing for the promised blessings of righteousness” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Hope”; scriptures.lds.org). The Savior is sometimes called “the hope of the world” because the promised blessings of righteousness come to us through Him (“The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles,” Ensign or Liahona, Apr. 2000, 3).
Display the following questions and scripture references, or write them on the board:
Divide the class into small groups. Invite the groups to study each scripture passage, look for important words and phrases about hope, and discuss their answers to the questions. After sufficient time, ask the groups to compose one or two statements of doctrine or principle that summarize what they learned about the doctrine of hope. Invite the groups to share their statements with the class. Make sure students understand that hope is having confidence that, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and obedience to the commandments, we will receive God’s promised blessings, including eternal life. If time permits, you may want to discuss the following questions:
What does the word surety in the phrase “might with surety hope for a better world” (Ether 12:4) suggest to you? (Assurance, confidence, or certainty. You may want to suggest that students write this definition in the margin of their scriptures next to Ether 12:4.)
How could hope, as described in these verses, be “an anchor to the souls of men” and help us to be “sure and steadfast, always abounding in good works”? (Ether 12:4).
Display the following statement, and ask a student to read it aloud:
“When we have hope, we trust God’s promises. We have a quiet assurance that if we do ‘the works of righteousness,’ we ‘shall receive [our] reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come’ (D&C 59:23). Mormon taught that such hope comes only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ [see Moroni 7:41]” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 85).
How is our faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement vital to developing real hope? How does this help you understand why Jesus Christ is the hope of the world? (When we hope in Jesus Christ, we can look beyond mortal troubles and sorrow and focus on the blessings available through His Atonement, such as resurrection and eternal life.)
What might you do to live with greater hope in this life?
As moved upon by the Holy Ghost, you might ask students to share about a time when their hope in the resurrection and eternal life through Jesus Christ was a blessing to themselves or others.