The resurrected Lord appeared to His disciples while they were fishing. On the shore, Jesus ate with His disciples and invited Peter to demonstrate His love for Him by feeding His sheep.
Draw a large heart on the board.
Invite students to come to the board and write inside the heart two or three of their favorite things. Explain that these could include people, possessions, or activities.
When students have finished, you might also list a few of your favorite things.
Summarize John 21:1–2 by explaining that after seeing the resurrected Lord on two occasions, Peter and some of the other disciples were on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (which is also called the Sea of Tiberias).
Invite a student to read John 21:3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Peter decided to do.
What activity do you think Peter might add to our list of favorite things on the board? (After students respond, write fishing inside the heart on the board.)
How long did Peter and the other disciples fish? How much did they catch?
Ask students to consider how they think Peter and the other disciples may have felt after a long night of fishing without any results.
Invite a student to read John 21:4–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what happened the following morning.
What happened after the disciples had unsuccessfully fished all night?
Summarize John 21:7–14 by explaining that as the disciples struggled to lift the net full of fish into the boat, John declared that the man on the shore was the Lord. Peter eagerly dove into the sea and swam toward Jesus while the others came in their boat. When the disciples arrived on the shore, Jesus was preparing a meal for them.
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“After a joyful reunion with the resurrected Jesus, Peter had an exchange with the Savior that I consider the crucial turning point of the apostolic ministry generally and certainly for Peter personally, moving this great rock of a man to a majestic life of devoted service and leadership. Looking at their battered little boats, their frayed nets, and a stunning pile of 153 fish, Jesus [spoke] to His senior Apostle” (“The First Great Commandment,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 84).
Invite a student to read John 21:15–17 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a question Jesus repeatedly asked Peter. You may want to suggest that students mark what they find.
What question did Jesus ask Peter three times?
When Jesus asked, “Lovest thou me more than these?” (verse 15), what do you think the word these referred to? (Jesus could have been referring to the pile of fish or other things associated with the life of a fisherman. Write the following question on the board near the heart: Lovest thou me more than these?)
How did Peter respond?
How might you have felt if you had been in Peter’s position and Jesus had asked you three times if you loved Him?
To help students understand why Jesus may have asked this question and had Peter answer Him three times, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Holland:
“Jesus responded (and here again I acknowledge my nonscriptural elaboration), perhaps saying something like: ‘Then Peter, why are you here? Why are we back on this same shore, by these same nets, having this same conversation? Wasn’t it obvious then and isn’t it obvious now that if I want fish, I can get fish? What I need, Peter, are disciples—and I need them forever. I need someone to feed my sheep and save my lambs. I need someone to preach my gospel and defend my faith. I need someone who loves me, truly, truly loves me, and loves what our Father in Heaven has commissioned me to do. … So, Peter, for the second and presumably the last time, I am asking you to leave all this and to go teach and testify, labor and serve loyally until the day in which they will do to you exactly what they did to me’” (“The First Great Commandment,” 84).
What principle can we learn from the Lord’s conversation with Peter? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: If we love the Savior and Heavenly Father more than anything else, we will feed Their sheep.)
Who are Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ’s sheep? How do we feed them?
To help students understand how we can feed Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ’s sheep, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“This is the call of Christ to every Christian today: ‘Feed my lambs. … Feed my sheep’—share my gospel with young and old, lifting, blessing, comforting, encouraging, and building them, especially those who think and believe differently than we do” (“Being a More Christian Christian,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 91).
To help the class understand how the principle of loving God more than anything else can be applied, invite three students to take turns reading the following scenarios aloud. After each scenario has been read, ask the questions that follow.
A group of boys invites a young man to sit with them during lunch, and he hopes to become friends with them. During their conversation, one of the boys in the group starts publicly making fun of another boy.
A young woman loves playing soccer. She devotes many hours a week to playing soccer and has little time for other things such as family home evening and personal scripture study.
A young man has been very busy with both academic and extracurricular activities. All week, he has been looking forward to spending some rare free time with friends on Friday night. Just before he calls one of them that night, his home teaching companion calls to see if he can go with him to help one of their assigned families with an urgent need.
What choices are available to this person?
What could this person do to demonstrate his or her love for the Lord? How would that action show love for the Lord?
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Holland:
“My beloved brothers and sisters, I am not certain just what our experience will be on Judgment Day, but I will be very surprised if at some point in that conversation, God does not ask us exactly what Christ asked Peter: ‘Did you love me?’” (“The First Great Commandment,” 84).
Share your testimony of the importance of choosing to love Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ above all else and showing that love by feeding Their sheep.
Refer to the items listed in the heart on the board and the question written next to those items: “Lovest thou me more than these?” Underline the word these, and invite students to answer the following questions in their class notebooks or scripture study journals:
If Jesus were asking the same question of you, what do you think He would refer to as “these” in your life?
How would you answer His question?
As you conclude the Gospels, invite several students to share what they wrote for their day 4 lesson assignment in their scripture study journal about the story, event, or teaching from the Savior’s mortal ministry that has helped them to believe or strengthened their belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Invite students to look for answers to the following questions during their study of Acts 1–5: Who would lead the Church after the Savior died and was resurrected? How were other Apostles selected? What miracle occurred on the day of Pentecost? How did the Holy Ghost influence the miracle of that day? What miracle did Peter perform at the temple, and what happened to Peter because of it? What happened to Ananias and Sapphira for lying to their priesthood leader?