John the Beloved recorded important doctrines related to Jesus Christ’s role in the premortal existence. John the Baptist also bore witness of Jesus Christ and baptized Him. Jesus Christ invited others to learn of Him.
Divide students into pairs. Display a picture of Jesus Christ on the board. Ask students to imagine that they are talking with someone who knows very little about Jesus Christ. Invite one student in each pair to take one minute to teach the other student about Jesus as if the other student knew very little about Him. Following this activity, invite a few students who were taught about Christ to share with the class what they were taught by their partners.
Briefly introduce the book of John by explaining that the Apostle John recorded what he wanted the Saints to know about Jesus Christ. John was an eyewitness to many of the accounts he wrote about. Most of the material in John’s Gospel is not found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which were written to help Jews and Gentiles believe that Jesus was the Messiah and Savior of mankind. In contrast, John specifically wrote to those who already believed that Jesus was the Christ.
As students study John 1, invite them to look for truths about the Savior that can strengthen their faith in and testimonies of Jesus Christ.
What truths do we learn about Jesus Christ in these verses? (One truth students should identify is that Jesus Christ was with God in the beginning. Write this truth on the board near the picture of the Savior.)
What does it mean that Jesus Christ was with God in the beginning? (Explain that the phrase “in the beginning” refers to the premortal existence. Jesus Christ was the Firstborn of the Father in the spirit [see D&C 93:21], He was like unto God among the spirits gathered “before the world was” [Abraham 3:22–24], and He was chosen by the Father from the beginning [see Moses 4:2].)
Invite a student to read aloud Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:3 (in the Bible appendix), and ask the class to look for an additional truth John taught about Jesus Christ.
What else did John teach about Jesus Christ? (Students should identify a doctrine similar to the following: All things were made by Jesus Christ. Write this truth near the picture of the Savior on the board.)
Explain that Jesus Christ created the heavens and the earth under the direction of the Father and that Jesus Christ has created worlds without number (see Moses 1:33). However, Heavenly Father has reserved “two creative events” to Himself: the creation of all spirits (including Jesus Christ’s) and the creation of the physical bodies of Adam and Eve (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of Faith , 63; see also Moses 2:27).
Invite a student to read aloud Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:4–5 (in the Bible appendix). Ask the class to look for how John described Jesus and His gospel.
How did John describe Jesus and His gospel?
What does it mean that “in him was the gospel”? (Jesus Christ was the good news, the embodiment of the gospel.)
What do you think it means that “the light shineth in the world, and the world perceiveth it not”? (Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:5).
Explain that the Apostle John next taught about John the Baptist. Invite a student to read aloud Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:6–10 (in the Bible appendix). Ask the class to look for what John the Baptist declared about Jesus Christ. Invite students to report what they find.
In verses 9–10, what doctrine did the Apostle John teach about Jesus? (Students should identify a doctrine similar to the following: Jesus Christ is the Light of the World. Write this truth near the picture of the Savior on the board.)
In what ways is Jesus Christ the Light of the World? (See D&C 88:5–13.)
Summarize Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:11–18 (in the Bible appendix) by explaining that John the Baptist testified that all those who believe on Jesus Christ would receive immortality and eternal life.
Point out that in verses 14 and 16, John referred to Jesus Christ as “the Word.” Explain that this is a title of Jesus Christ found in several places in the scriptures (see John 1:1, 14; 1 John 1:1; Revelation 19:13; D&C 93:8–10; Moses 1:32).
Point out that we use words to communicate and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas to others.
In what ways is “the Word” an appropriate title of Jesus Christ?
Also explain that without the Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:18 could be misunderstood as stating that no man has ever seen God the Father. Invite a student to read aloud Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:19 (in the Bible appendix).
Divide students into the same pairs that they were in for the activity at the beginning of the lesson. Ask one student in each pair to take one minute to teach his or her partner about Jesus Christ using the doctrines the class identified in Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:1–19 (in the Bible appendix). After sufficient time, ask:
Why would it be important for someone to know these doctrines about Jesus Christ?
Summarize Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:20–28 (in the Bible appendix) by explaining that the Jews sent priests to John the Baptist asking if he was the Messiah. John explained that his role was to bear record of the Messiah, who would baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost. The next day, John the Baptist saw Jesus, whom he had previously baptized.
Invite a student to stand and read aloud, as if the student were John the Baptist, the words of John the Baptist in Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:29–33 (in the Bible appendix). Invite the class to follow along and look for what John the Baptist wanted people to know about Jesus Christ.
Point to the picture of Jesus Christ and the truths written on the board and ask:
What other truths or descriptions about Jesus Christ could we add from Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:29–33? (List students’ responses on the board.)
Why do you think John the Baptist referred to Jesus as “the Lamb of God”?
Ask students to imagine that a teenager attending fast and testimony meeting hears several friends bear testimony that they know that Jesus Christ is their Savior. This young person wonders how those friends “know” those things.
How would you respond to this question?
As the class studies John 1:35–51, invite students to look for what we can do to receive (or strengthen) our own witness of Jesus Christ as the Savior.
Invite a student to read John 1:35–37 aloud, and ask the class to look for what John the Baptist did the day after he baptized Jesus.
What did John do when he saw Jesus?
Invite a student to read John 1:38–39 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Jesus said to the two disciples.
What did Jesus ask the two disciples?
What was their response?
What did Jesus invite the two disciples to do?
Invite a student to read John 1:40–42 aloud, and ask the class to look for what Andrew learned after he accepted the Savior’s invitation to “come and see.”
What did Andrew learn by accepting the Savior’s invitation to “come and see”? (That Jesus is the Messiah, or the Christ. You may also want to point out that we learn from the Joseph Smith Translation of John 1:42 that Peter would be called “Cephas, which is, by interpretation, a seer, or a stone” [in footnote a], indicating that Peter would become a seer in the Church.)
Invite a student to read John 1:43–46 aloud, and ask the class to look for what the Savior invited Philip to do. Ask students to share what they find.
Which words in verse 45 indicate that Philip received a witness of Jesus Christ after he accepted the Savior’s invitation to follow Him?
What invitation did Philip then give to Nathanael?
Invite three students to read John 1:47–51 aloud. Assign one to be the narrator, one to read the words of Jesus, and one to read the words of Nathanael. Invite the class to listen for what happened as Nathanael accepted the invitation to learn of Jesus.
What happened after Nathanael accepted the invitation to learn of Jesus?
What principle can we learn from these accounts? (Students should identify a principle similar to the following: As we accept the invitation to learn of and follow Jesus Christ, we will receive our own witness of Him.)
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.
“It seems that the essence of our mortal journey and the answers to the most significant questions in life are distilled down to these two very brief elements in the opening scenes of the Savior’s earthly ministry. One element is the question put to every one of us on this earth: ‘What seek ye? What do you want?’ The second is His response to our answer, whatever that answer is. Whoever we are and whatever we reply, His response is always the same: ‘Come,’ He says lovingly. ‘Come, follow me.’ Wherever you are going, first come and see what I do, see where and how I spend my time. Learn of me, walk with me, talk with me, believe. Listen to me pray. In turn you will find answers to your own prayers. God will bring rest to your souls” (“He Hath Filled the Hungry with Good Things,” Ensign, Nov. 1997, 65).
Invite students to ponder their own efforts to learn of Jesus Christ and follow Him.
In what ways has your testimony of Jesus Christ increased as you have learned of and followed Him?
Invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals a few sentences about what they will do to more fully accept the Savior’s invitation to “come and see” and to learn of and follow Him.
Conclude by sharing your testimony of the principles identified in class today.