To help each child have the desire to show love and compassion for others as Jesus did when he healed the sick.
Prayerfully study Matthew 8:5–10, 13; 25:34–40; Mark 1:40–45; Luke 4:38–40; 7:11–17; and John 4:46–54; 13:34–35. Then study the lesson and decide how you want to teach the children the scripture account (see “Preparing Your Lessons,” p. vi, and “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii).
Select the discussion questions and enrichment activities that will involve the children and best help them achieve the purpose of the lesson.
Materials needed: a Bible or a New Testament for each child.
Suggested Lesson Development
Invite a child to give the opening prayer.
Tell the following story about Heber J. Grant, who later became the seventh President of the Church.
Heber wrapped his thin coat around him and shivered in the cold. It would soon be his birthday, and all he wanted was a warm coat. But they were too poor to buy a coat. Sometimes they went to bed early because there was no fuel to keep the house warm, and sometimes he was hungry because there was not enough food. To earn money, Heber’s mother often worked far into the night, sewing clothes for others.
On Heber’s birthday his mother gave him a beautiful coat made from leftover material. Heber could hardly wait to go outside and feel its warmth.
A few weeks later, Heber saw a boy just his size crying. He was wearing only a sweater, and Heber knew how cold he must be. The boy looked longingly at Heber’s coat. Heber stopped and, almost without thinking, took the coat off and gave it to the boy.
That afternoon Heber’s mother saw him wearing his old coat. She asked, “What have you done with your new coat?” Heber wondered how to tell her. Then he said, “I saw a boy who needed it worse than I did, so I gave it to him.”
“Couldn’t you have given him your old one?” she asked.
Heber looked up at his mother, hoping she would understand, and saw her eyes fill up with tears. He threw his arms around her as she answered her own question. “Of course you couldn’t, Heber,” she said. “Of course, you couldn’t.” (Adapted from “The Coat,” retold by Lucile C. Reading, Children’s Friend, Nov. 1966, p. 5.)
Ask the children to imagine how Heber felt when he saw the boy crying because he was cold. Explain that Heber had love and compassion for the boy. Jesus wants us to love others like President Grant did. Explain that this lesson shows how Jesus set an example of love and compassion by healing the sick.
Alternate Attention Activity
Write each word from John 13:34 on separate pieces of paper. Scramble the papers and ask the children to arrange them in proper order. Let them use their scriptures if they need help.
Teach the following accounts of Jesus’ miraculous healings. (For suggested ways to teach scripture accounts, see “Teaching from the Scriptures,” p. vii.) Help the children understand that Jesus had great love and compassion for the sick.
Healing the centurion’s servant (Matthew 8:5–10, 13). Explain that the centurion was a Roman army officer who commanded many soldiers. He had heard about Jesus and had faith in him.
Healing a leper (Mark 1:40–45). Explain that lepers suffer a terrible form of skin disease. Because leprosy was thought to be highly contagious, those with the disease were often not allowed to live in the cities and they were shunned by those without leprosy.
Healing Peter’s mother-in-law and many others (Luke 4:38–40).
Raising the widow’s son from the dead (Luke 7:11–17).
Healing the nobleman’s son (John 4:46–54).
Discussion and Application Questions
Study the following questions and the scripture references as you prepare your lesson. Use the questions you feel will best help the children understand the scriptures and apply the principles in their lives. Reading the references with the children in class will help them gain insights into the scriptures.
What qualities do we need to develop in our lives if we are going to follow the Savior’s example in these accounts? (John 13:34–35. You might want to give the children time to underline these verses.) How can we show love, compassion, and concern toward people who are in need? Invite the children to share experiences of how they felt when someone helped them.
Did Jesus know all of the people he healed? (Matthew 8:5–8.) What does this tell us about whom we should help if we see someone in need?
After Jesus healed the leper, what did He ask him to do? (Mark 1:43–44.) What does this tell us about how we should help others?
How does helping others in need bring us closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus? (Matthew 25:45.) How do you feel when you help someone? Invite class members to share experiences when they helped someone in need or when they received help from another person.
You may use one or more of the following activities any time during the lesson or as a review, summary, or challenge.
Have a child read 1 John 3:18. Explain that this verse is telling us that we should not only tell people we love them, we should show our love through our actions. It is what we do for someone else that shows we love them. Have the children act out ways they can show love for their families and friends.
Have a child read this quotation from President Spencer W. Kimball: “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs” (“Small Acts of Service,” Ensign, Dec. 1974, p. 5). Ask each child to tell about a situation when Heavenly Father has met the child’s needs through another person. You could also tell the children about a person you know who has helped someone else in need. Emphasize that this person has developed love, compassion, and concern for others and shows that love through acts of service.
Have the children read the following scriptures about serving others: Matthew 25:34–40 and Mosiah 2:17–18, 4:14–15. Together make a list of the things these scriptures tell us we should do for others. Have the children choose an act of service they could perform during the coming week.
Divide the class into small groups and give each group one or more of the following situations. You could also make up your own situations. Have the children act out ways they could show love and compassion and serve these people.
A new child comes to Primary and doesn’t know anyone.
A child in your Primary class gets sick.
Your friend is not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Someone in your ward or branch is lonely.
Your parents are busy and ask you to help take care of your little brother or sister.
Someone says unkind things to a friend of yours.
Express your gratitude for the life and example of the Savior. Testify that we are following Jesus’ teachings when we show compassion and love to those around us. Suggest to the children that during the week they should try to show more love and do small acts of service for their families and others.
Suggested Home Reading
Invite a child to give the closing prayer.