Matthew 14–15

New Testament Teacher Resource Manual, (2002), 40


timeline

Introduction

The book of Matthew groups many of the Savior’s miracles in chapters 8–9, Sabbath activities in chapter 12, parables in chapter 13, and then a second group of miracles in chapters 14–15. As you read chapters 14–15 consider the different ways in which Jesus showed His power.

Prayerfully study Matthew 14–15and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.

Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For

  • Those who unselfishly serve others and consider others’ needs before their own are more Christlike (see Matthew 14:3–23).

  • When we center our faith on the Savior, we are more successful at accomplishing His will (see Matthew 14:24–33).

  • God’s miracles are manifest in the lives of those who have faith in Him (see Matthew 14–15).

Additional Resources

  • The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 81, 89–90, 95–99.

Suggestions for Teaching

Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Matthew 14–15.

Matthew 14:3–23(see also Mark 6:17–46; Luke 3:19–20; 9:10–17). Those who unselfishly put the needs of others before their own are more Christlike and experience greater happiness.

(10–15 minutes)

Present the following hypothetical situation to your students. You are traveling with your family on a train. Suddenly there is a terrible accident and the train derails and plunges down a steep ravine. Your younger brother and many others on the train are killed. While you feel terrible about the loss of your brother, many on the train are seriously wounded and need help. Ask:

  • What do you think you would do if you found yourself in this situation?

  • How difficult would it be to press on and encourage others?

Explain that something like this happened to someone in the scriptures. Read Matthew 14:10–23with students and ask:

  • What loved one did Jesus learn had been killed?

  • How did John the Baptist die?

  • What was Jesus’ reaction?

List on the board Jesus’ actions that show He placed the concerns of others before His own (see vv. 13–20).

Share the following statement by Elder William R. Bradford, a member of the Seventy, on selflessness. Ask students to listen for the blessings of being selfless.

“Selflessness is righteousness. It embraces the true spirit of companionship. It is the very essence of friendship. It is the portrayer of true love and oneness in humanity. Its reward is the freeing of the soul, a nearness to divinity, a worthiness for the companionship of the Spirit. Every requirement that God’s plan for our salvation places upon us is based on the giving of one’s self” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1987, 92; or Ensign, Nov. 1987, 76).

Read Mark 8:35and discuss how it relates to being selfless. What can we do to develop the ability to put others first in our lives? (Try to think of how the Savior would act, try to imagine ourselves in others’ situations, try to think how others feel when suffering.)

Matthew 14:24–33(see also Mark 6:47–52; John 6:15–21). When we focus our faith on the Savior, we can accomplish His will.

(15–20 minutes)

Place a strip of masking tape about eight feet long in a straight line on the floor. Invite a student to walk along the strip blindfolded. Ask the student to invite someone he or she trusts in the room to guide the student along the strip of tape. After the student successfully walks along the strip, turn the student around and invite him or her to try to walk back along the strip of tape with no help from the friend. (The student will probably not be able to stay on the tape the whole length.)

Invite the class to read Matthew 14:24–33and answer the following questions:

  • Who in this scripture was like the blindfolded student?

  • Who was like the friend who guided the blindfolded student?

  • What did Peter do that was like walking on the tape while listening to his guide?

  • What did he do that was like walking on the tape without listening to his guide?

  • What made the difference between success and failure?

Share the following statement from President Howard W. Hunter, then President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

“‘While [Peter’s] eye was fixed on his Lord, the wind might toss his hair, and the spray might drench his robes, but all was well’ [Frederic W. Farrar, The Life of Christ (1964), 311]. Only when with wavering faith he removed his glance from the Master to look at the furious waves and the black gulf beneath him, only then did he begin to sink. …

”It is my firm belief that if as individual people, as families, communities, and nations, we could, like Peter, fix our eyes on Jesus, we too might walk triumphantly over the swelling waves of disbelief and remain unterrified amid the rising winds of doubt. But if we turn away our eyes from him in whom we must believe, as it is so easy to do and the world is so much tempted to do, if we look to the power and fury of those terrible and destructive elements around us rather than to him who can help and save us, then we shall inevitably sink in a sea of conflict and sorrow and despair” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1992, 24; or Ensign, Nov. 1992, 19).

  • What are ways that we can “fix our eyes on the Lord” today?

  • What are the blessings of doing so?