To help class members understand that Apostles are called to be special witnesses of Jesus Christ and that we are blessed when we sustain and follow them.
Read, ponder, and pray about the following scriptures:
Luke 4:14–32. Jesus teaches in a synagogue in Nazareth and testifies that he is the Messiah of whom Isaiah prophesied. The people angrily reject him.
Matthew 10. Jesus ordains and instructs the Twelve Apostles and sends them forth to preach the gospel.
If the following pictures are available, use them during the lesson: Calling of the Fishermen (62496; Gospel Art Picture Kit 209) or Jesus and the Fishermen (62138; Gospel Art Picture Kit 210); Christ Ordaining the Apostles (62557; Gospel Art Picture Kit 211); and a picture of the current Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (from the most recent conference issue of the Ensign or the Liahona).
Suggestion for teaching: Learn and use class members’ names. When you do so, class members see that you care about them as individuals. Knowing class members’ names can also help you encourage participation by enabling you to direct questions to specific people.
Suggested Lesson Development
As appropriate, use the following activity or one of your own to begin the lesson.
Have a class member read the first part of Mosiah 27:31 (through “confess that he is God”). Explain that at Jesus Christ’s Second Coming, everyone will recognize him as the Savior. This was not true at his first coming. The Jews had studied prophecies about the Savior’s coming for centuries, but many of those who heard Jesus failed to recognize him as the Savior. Because Jesus did not free the Jews from Roman control, as they expected the Messiah to do, many of them rejected him and his message.
Point out that the first part of this lesson will discuss what happened when Jesus first announced that he was the long-awaited Messiah. Other parts of the lesson will discuss Jesus’ calling of Apostles to help spread his message.
Scripture Discussion and Application
As you teach the following scripture passages, discuss the blessings that come from knowing that Jesus Christ is the Savior and from following the Apostles.
1. Jesus announces that he is the Messiah.
Discuss Luke 4:14–32. Invite class members to read selected verses. Explain that Jesus was invited to read a passage of scripture and comment on it during the service in the synagogue in Nazareth.
Have a class member read Luke 4:16–19. (Point out that verses 18–19 are a quotation of Isaiah 61:1–2. Isaiah is called “Esaias” in Luke 4:17.) What are these verses about? (They are a prophetic description of things the Messiah would do; see lesson 1.)
When Jesus finished reading the passage from Isaiah, what testimony did he bear? (See Luke 4:21. He declared that he was the Messiah of whom Isaiah prophesied and for whom the Jews had been waiting for centuries.) How did the people in the synagogue respond to Jesus’ declaration? (See Luke 4:22–29.)
Why do you think the people in the synagogue had difficulty accepting Jesus as the Messiah? (See Luke 4:22. Answers may include that they knew him and had watched him grow up, so they could not see how he could be the great Messiah they were expecting.) Why do you think some people today have difficulty accepting Jesus Christ? How can we strengthen our testimonies that Jesus is the Savior?
2. Jesus calls his Twelve Apostles.
Read and discuss selected verses from Luke 5:1–11, 27–28; 6:12–16. Display the picture of Jesus and the fishermen and the picture of the current Twelve Apostles. As you discuss the scripture passages, help class members understand that Apostles are called to do what Jesus himself did in the synagogue in Nazareth—declare that he is the Messiah, the Savior.
What were Simon Peter, James, and John doing when Jesus came to them? (See Luke 5:1–2.) What did Jesus tell them about how their lives would change if they followed him? (See Luke 5:10.) How has your life been affected because of your decision to follow Jesus Christ?
How did the miracle with the fishing nets foreshadow the experiences that Peter, James, and John would have as “fishers of men”? (Mark 1:17). Have class members consider the following phrases:
Luke 5:5: “At thy word I will let down the net.” (They would work where Jesus directed them.)
Luke 5:6: “They inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.” (They would find many people who would accept the gospel.)
Luke 5:7: “They beckoned unto their partners … that they should come and help them.” (They would call others to assist in the work.)
Point out that in Luke 5:1–11, Jesus called Peter, James, and John to be his disciples. Later he would call them to be Apostles. Write Disciple and Apostle on the chalkboard. What is the difference between a disciple and an Apostle?
Explain that a disciple is any follower of Jesus Christ (Bible Dictionary, “Disciple,” 657). An Apostle is a disciple who has been called to be a special witness of Christ (D&C 107:23). The word Apostle means “one [who is] sent forth” (Bible Dictionary, “Apostle,” 612). The members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are sent forth to testify to the world that Jesus is the Savior and Redeemer of mankind.
Why was it important that Jesus call Apostles? (See Matthew 9:36–38; 16:19; Mark 3:14–15; John 20:19–21, 23; Ephesians 4:11–15. They would help Jesus preach the gospel and would lead the Church and carry on priesthood authority after Jesus was gone.) Why is it important that the Lord has called Apostles today?
How did Jesus choose the original Twelve Apostles? (See Luke 6:12–13.) How did Jesus prepare himself to call them? How does this compare to the way people are chosen today to be Apostles and to serve in other Church callings? (Church leaders pray and seek inspiration to know whom the Lord would have serve in each calling.)
What do the scriptures tell us about the background and character of the men whom Jesus called as Apostles? (See Luke 5:5, 8, 11, 27–28. Answers may include that they had no formal training for the ministry, but they were humble, obedient, hardworking men who were willing to sacrifice everything to follow the Lord.) What does this suggest about how a person becomes qualified to serve the Lord? (See also D&C 4:3, 5–6; Articles of Faith 1:5.)
3. Jesus ordains and instructs the Twelve Apostles.
Read and discuss selected verses from Matthew 10. Display the picture of Christ ordaining the Apostles.
After Jesus called the Twelve Apostles, he gave them priesthood power and instructed them in their responsibilities. What do we learn about the powers and responsibilities of Apostles from Jesus’ counsel in Matthew 10? (List class members’ responses on the chalkboard. Answers may include those listed below.)
They have power to heal the spiritually and physically sick (verse 1).
They are sent to the lost sheep of Israel to preach that the kingdom of heaven is at hand (verses 6–7).
They are to use their priesthood power to bless and heal people (verse 8).
They are to seek out those who are prepared to hear the gospel (verses 11–14).
They are to teach as guided by the Spirit (verses 19–20).
They are to give their lives entirely to the Savior’s work (verse 39).
How do the powers and responsibilities given to the original Apostles compare to those given to latter-day Apostles? (See D&C 107:23, 33, 35; 112:14, 19–22, 30–31.) How have you seen latter-day Apostles fulfill these responsibilities?
Elder Spencer W. Kimball said: “No one in this Church will ever go far astray who ties himself securely to the Church Authorities whom the Lord has placed in his Church. This Church will never go astray; the Quorum of the Twelve will never lead you into bypaths; it never has and never will” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1951, 104).
Testify that Jesus Christ is the true Messiah and that the Twelve Apostles are special witnesses of him. You may want to share an experience in which following the counsel of an Apostle blessed your life.
Additional Teaching Ideas
The following material supplements the suggested lesson outline. You may want to use one or more of these ideas as part of the lesson.
1. The current Twelve Apostles
Display pictures of the current Twelve Apostles and help class members learn their names. You may want to use the following quiz:
Give each class member a pencil and a piece of paper, and ask them to number their papers from 1 to 12. Display a picture of each Apostle without revealing his name, and ask class members to write the name on their papers next to the appropriate number. When you have shown all the pictures, review the correct answers.
2. The original Twelve Apostles
Help class members learn the names of the original Twelve Apostles (Matthew 10:2–4). Present the following information in your own words to help class members understand how various Apostles are referred to in the scriptures:
Two Apostles were named James: James the son of Zebedee and James the son of Alphaeus. Two were named Simon: Simon Peter and Simon the Canaanite, also called Simon Zelotes (“the zealot”). Two were named Judas: Judas (also called Lebbaeus Thaddaeus) and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ. Matthew is called Levi in Luke 5:27–28. Thomas was also known as Didymus, which means “twin.” The Apostle referred to as Bartholomew in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke is presumed to be the same person referred to as Nathanael in the gospel of John.
3. “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me” (Matthew 10:37)
Have class members read Matthew 10:35–38.
4. Video presentation
The first segment of “New Testament Customs,” a selection from New Testament Video Presentations (53914), may be useful in this lesson. This segment includes information on what it meant for Jesus to declare himself the anointed one, or Messiah (Luke 4:18); on worship in the synagogue; and on what it means to preach the gospel without purse or scrip, as Jesus instructed his Apostles to do (Matthew 10:9–10).
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