Lesson 3: “Unto You Is Born … a Saviour”

New Testament: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (2002), 9–12


Purpose

To encourage class members to rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ and follow the example he set in his youth, “[increasing] in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:

    1. a.

      Luke 2:1–7. Jesus Christ is born.

    2. b.

      Luke 2:8–39. Angels and many others rejoice at Jesus’ birth.

    3. c.

      Matthew 2. Wise men from the east visit Jesus and give him gifts. Herod, feeling threatened by the birth of the King of the Jews, orders the death of all children two years old and younger who reside in Bethlehem and its surrounding areas. An angel of the Lord directs Joseph to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus and later to return to Israel with them.

    4. d.

      Luke 2:40–52. Guided by the Father, Jesus grows and prepares in his youth for his ministry.

  2. 2.

    Additional reading: Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 3:24–26; 1 Nephi 11:1–23; Helaman 14:1–8; 3 Nephi 1:4–21; 27:13–16; Doctrine and Covenants 93:11–20.

  3. 3.

    If the following materials are available, use some of them during the lesson:

    1. a.

      “Luke II,” a six-minute segment from New Testament Video Presentations (53914).

    2. b.

      The pictures No Room at the Inn (62115); The Birth of Jesus (62116; Gospel Art Picture Kit 200); The Nativity (62495; Gospel Art Picture Kit 201); The Announcement of Christ’s Birth to the Shepherds (62117; Gospel Art Picture Kit 202); The Wise Men (62120; Gospel Art Picture Kit 203); Flight into Egypt (62119; Gospel Art Picture Kit 204); Boy Jesus in the Temple (62500; Gospel Art Picture Kit 205); Childhood of Jesus Christ (62124; Gospel Art Picture Kit 206); and Jesus and His Mother (Gospel Art Picture Kit 242).

  4. 4.

    Suggestion for teaching: Use appropriate pictures and video presentations to invite the Spirit, add variety to lessons, and help class members remember the scriptural accounts they discuss (see Teaching, No Greater Call [36123], pages 160, 176).

Suggested Lesson Development

Attention Activity

As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.

List the following people on the chalkboard: a shepherd, Simeon, a wise man from the east, Herod, a person at an inn, Anna, an angel, Mary.

Read the following responses to the birth of Jesus Christ. Ask class members to match each response with the appropriate person:

  1. 1.

    I traveled a great distance to find him, gave him gifts, and worshiped him. (A wise man from the east; Matthew 2:1–2, 9–11.)

  2. 2.

    I made no room for him. (A person at an inn; Luke 2:7.)

  3. 3.

    Having received a witness from the Holy Ghost, I took the child up in my arms and knew that I could die in peace. (Simeon; Luke 2:25–32.)

  4. 4.

    I said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (An angel; Luke 2:13–14.)

  5. 5.

    I went quickly to see him. (A shepherd; Luke 2:15–16.)

  6. 6.

    I was troubled and tried to kill him. (Herod; Matthew 2:3–4, 16).

  7. 7.

    After seeing him in the temple, I expressed gratitude and spread the news of his birth. (Anna; Luke 2:36–38.)

  8. 8.

    I pondered the event in my heart. (Mary; Luke 2:19.)

Ask class members to ponder the following questions during the lesson:

  • How do you respond to the account of the Savior’s birth? How do you respond to his life, death, atonement, and resurrection?

Scripture Discussion and Application

As you teach the following scripture passages, help class members understand why we should rejoice in the Savior’s birth. Discuss ways to follow the example he set in his youth.

1. Jesus Christ is born.

Read and discuss Luke 2:1–7. Display some of the pictures listed in the “Preparation” section.

  • Jesus had glory with Heavenly Father “before the world was” (John 17:5). He created the heavens and the earth (Mosiah 3:8). As Jehovah, he revealed commandments and gospel truths to the prophets of the Old Testament (3 Nephi 15:2–5). Why did Jesus come to earth? (See 3 Nephi 27:13–16.)

  • What were the circumstances of Jesus’ birth? (See Luke 2:7.) How did these circumstances foreshadow his mortal ministry and his atoning sacrifice? In what ways do people today refuse to make room for the Savior in their lives? What can we do to make room for him in our lives?

2. Angels and many others rejoice at Jesus’ birth.

Discuss Luke 2:8–39. Invite class members to read selected verses aloud. Display some of the pictures listed in the “Preparation” section.

If you are using the video presentation “Luke II,” show it now.

  • What did the angels say as they announced Jesus’ birth? (See Luke 2:13–14.) How has Jesus glorified the Father? How has he brought peace and goodwill to all people and to you personally? How can we show our gratitude to God for the gift of his Son?

  • What did the shepherds do after they saw the newborn Savior? (See Luke 2:17–18.) What can we do to follow their example? Invite class members to think of someone with whom they can share their testimony of the Savior.

  • What did Mary do after Jesus’ birth and the visit of the shepherds? (See Luke 2:19.) What does this reveal about Mary? Why is it important to take time to cherish and ponder sacred experiences?

  • How had Simeon and Anna been prepared to see the child Jesus? (See Luke 2:25–26, 37.) How did they respond when they saw him? (See Luke 2:27–35, 38.) What can we learn about the Savior from their prophecies?

3. Wise men come to worship the child Jesus. Herod seeks to kill him.

Read and discuss selected verses from Matthew 2. Display some of the pictures listed in the “Preparation” section.

  • Why did the “wise men from the east” seek Jesus? (See Matthew 2:1–2.) What did they do when they found him? (See Matthew 2:11. Note that when they finally reached Jesus, he was a “young child,” not a newborn baby.) What gifts can we offer to the Lord?

  • Why did Herod want to find Jesus? (See Matthew 2:3–6, 13. He was troubled, and he wanted to kill Jesus.) Why did Jesus Christ’s birth trouble the king? (See Matthew 2:2, 6. According to prophecy, Jesus would rule Israel.)

  • How was Jesus protected from Herod? (See Matthew 2:13–15.) How did Joseph know when to return from Egypt? (See Matthew 2:19–23.) Why do you think Joseph was able to receive this guidance from God? What can today’s fathers and mothers do to be able to receive revelation concerning their families? How has God helped you as you have sought his guidance for your family?

4. Guided by the Father, Jesus prepares in his youth for his ministry.

Read and discuss Luke 2:40–52. Display some of the pictures listed in the “Preparation” section. Explain that every year Joseph and Mary and other faithful Jews celebrated the Feast of the Passover in Jerusalem. As was customary, Jesus accompanied them when he reached the age of 12 (Luke 2:41–42).

  • After celebrating the Passover in Jerusalem, Mary and Joseph had begun their journey back to Nazareth when they realized that 12-year-old Jesus was not with them (Luke 2:43–45). Where did they finally find him? (See Luke 2:46.) If your parents or other loved ones did not know where you were, could they be confident that you were doing things that would please your Heavenly Father?

  • The Joseph Smith Translation of Luke 2:46 says that the men in the temple “were hearing [Jesus], and asking him questions.” What does this reveal about Jesus’ youth and training?

  • When Mary and Joseph found Jesus, Mary said to him, “Thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing” (Luke 2:48). To whom did she refer when she said “thy father”? (Joseph.) How did Jesus respond to Mary’s concern? (See Luke 2:49.) To whom did Jesus refer when he said “my Father’s business”? (Heavenly Father.) What does this tell us about young Jesus’ understanding of his foreordained mission?

  • As a youth, how did Jesus treat Mary and Joseph? (See Luke 2:51. Even though he was the Son of God, he was subject to his mother and to Joseph.) What can we learn from this example?

  • As a youth, Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52). In other words, he developed intellectually, physically, spiritually, and socially. What are some specific things we can do to grow intellectually, physically, spiritually, and socially?

  • What can we learn from Doctrine and Covenants 93:11–17 about the Savior’s development as a youth? (In his preparation to be our Redeemer, Jesus did not receive all the necessary intelligence, power, wisdom, and glory at once. He received these things “grace for grace,” a little at a time.) How does this truth apply to us? (See D&C 93:18–20.)

Conclusion

Testify of the truths you have discussed in this lesson. Encourage class members to rejoice in the birth of the Savior and follow the example he set in his youth.

Additional Teaching Ideas

The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or both of these ideas as part of the lesson.

1. “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19)

As you discuss Mary’s reverent response to Jesus’ birth, invite a mother to tell about her feelings after one of her children was born.

2. Youth activity

Select five important scripture passages from the lesson, and familiarize class members with the contents of each passage. Then have class members close their Bibles. Give clues that will lead class members to the scripture passages you have reviewed, wording each clue so there can be no doubt which passage you are referring to. (For example, you could say, “This verse contains the angels’ words of praise to God when Jesus was born.” The only possible answer is Luke 2:14.) After you read a clue, have class members open their Bibles and search for the correct passage. Use this activity as a way to become more familiar with scripture passages rather than as a competition. Do not spend more than a few minutes on it.