Matthew 15–17; Mark 7–9 – Teaching Children the Gospel

Matthew CHAPTER 15 The scribes and Pharisees contend against Jesus—He heals the daughter of a gentile woman—He feeds the four thousand.

Matthew CHAPTER 16 Jesus warns against the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees—Peter testifies that Jesus is the Christ and is promised the keys of the kingdom—Jesus foretells His death and resurrection.

Matthew CHAPTER 17 Jesus is transfigured before Peter, James, and John on the mount—Jesus heals a lunatic, tells of His coming death, and pays taxes in a miraculous manner.

Mark CHAPTER 7 Jesus reproves the Pharisees for their false traditions and ceremonies—He casts a devil out of the daughter of a Greek woman—He opens the ears and loosens the tongue of a person with an impediment.

Mark CHAPTER 8 Jesus feeds the four thousand—He counsels, Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees—He heals a blind man in Bethsaida—Peter testifies that Jesus is the Christ.

Mark CHAPTER 9 Jesus is transfigured on the mountain—He casts out an unclean spirit—He teaches concerning His death and resurrection, who will be greatest, and the condemnation of those who offend His little ones.

I can gain a testimony that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Matthew 16:13–17

Come, Follow Me—For Primary: New Testament 2023 “Matthew 15–17; Mark 7–9” Consider how you can use Peter’s testimony and Jesus’s response to teach the children what a testimony is and inspire them to seek their own.

  • Ask the children to listen for what Peter said as you read Matthew 16:15–17. (See also “Chapter 32: Peter Testifies of Christ,” in New Testament Stories, 76–77, or the corresponding video on ChurchofJesusChrist.org.) Explain that Peter was bearing his testimony of Jesus Christ. Read the verses again. (Or show the video again.) This time ask the children to listen for who told Peter that Jesus Christ was the Son of God.

New Testament Scripture Stories “Peter Testifies of Jesus”

  • Bear your testimony of Jesus Christ, and explain how you received it. Invite the children to seek their own testimonies from Heavenly Father.

Friend January 2013 “How can I get a testimony?”

Friend September 2015 “A New Feeling” – Child feels Holy Ghost while reading about Jesus in the scriptures

For additional teaching ideas see Testimony: Lesson Ideas

Latter Day Kids “What is a Testimony” Lesson ideas

A testimony of Jesus Christ comes through revelation.

Matthew 16:13–17

Come, Follow Me—For Primary: New Testament 2023 “Matthew 15–17; Mark 7–9” How might Peter’s testimony in Matthew 16:13–17 help the children as they build their testimonies?

  • Ask the children what they would say if someone asked them, “Who is Jesus?” Invite the children to read Matthew 16:13–17 to find out how Peter answered that question. How did he gain his testimony of Jesus? What can we do to strengthen our testimonies?

For the Strength of Youth April 2023 “Caesarea Philippi” Learn about the place where the Savior asked, “Whom say ye that I am?”

The backdrop for this event in the scriptures was both beautiful and instructive:

  • In biblical times, the spring at Caesarea Philippi seemed to burst right out of the mountain, flowing out of a cave.
  • Jesus Christ said that He can give us “living water,” which is “a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:11, 14).
  • Jesus Christ is the “source [of] a remission of [our] sins” (2 Nephi 25:26).
  • Jesus Christ is the source of all priesthood authority and priesthood keys on earth (see Doctrine and Covenants 107:2–4).
  • Revelation from God is a pure source of a testimony of Jesus Christ.

Friend January 2013 “How can I get a testimony?”

“Faith in Jesus Christ” (August 2019 Friend)
Make a path through your home that includes objects representing how you show faith in Jesus Christ.

(Or you could have pictures or objects of ways you can show your faith. Have the children choose one and tell how it shows their trust in God. Some additional ideas: a picture of people going to church, picture of a child praying, a picture of the ten commandments or children being kind and obeying the commandments.

  • Help the children compare the way we know spiritual truths with the ways we know other truths. For example, how do we know how tall a person is or what the weather is like? How do we know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Tell the children how the Holy Ghost has testified to you of the Savior.

Liahona April 2023 “Preparation and Progression” Come, Follow Me Family Fun: A Sense of Revelation

Peter saw and heard the Savior’s teachings. However, he received his testimony of Christ through revelation rather than through his physical senses—his “flesh and blood” (see Matthew 16:13–17).

Gather a few objects (see ideas below). Take turns being blindfolded. Have each person use their other four senses to guess what the object is.

Ideas:

  • Smell a flower
  • Taste a treat
  • Listen to a song
  • Touch a soft sweater

Discussion: Read Doctrine and Covenants 6:14–15 and 8:2–3. How can we learn truth through the spiritual sense of revelation rather than only relying on our physical senses? Note that everyone receives a testimony through the Holy Ghost but that some feel that influence differently than others. How can personal revelation through the Holy Ghost deepen our testimonies of Christ?

Friend September 2015 “A New Feeling” – Child feels Holy Ghost while reading about Jesus in the scriptures

Friend June 2020 A testimony is a good feeling from the Holy Ghost telling you that something is true.

  • Bear your testimony of Jesus Christ, and challenge the children to gain or strengthen their own testimonies of Him.

Jesus Christ gives prophets and apostles priesthood keys to lead His Church.

Matthew 16:15–19

Come, Follow Me—For Primary: New Testament 2023 “Matthew 15–17; Mark 7–9” The Savior compared revelation to a rock and priesthood authority to keys. How can you use these comparisons to help the children have faith in those who lead His Church?

  • Show the children a rock as you read Matthew 16:18 with them. Repeat with them the phrase “upon this rock I will build my church,” adding actions to go along with the words. Explain that the Church is built upon the “rock” of revelation.

President Howard W. Hunter (1907–95) taught: “‘And upon this rock I will build my church.’ Upon what rock? Peter? Upon a man? No, not upon a man, upon the rock of revelation, the thing which they were talking about. He had just said, ‘… flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.’ This revelation that Jesus is the Christ is the foundation upon which he would build his Church” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1965, 112; see also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 195).

  • Show the children some keys, and ask what we use keys for. Explain that Peter and the other Apostles received priesthood keys from Jesus. These keys “unlock” blessings for us and open the way to heaven. For example, priesthood keys allow us to be baptized and take the sacrament (also receive temple blessings & gift of Holy Ghost). Give the children paper keys, and have them write some blessings that priesthood keys “unlock.”

Friend February 2017 “What are Priesthood Keys?” and “Locked Out”

  • Show a picture of the President of the Church, and bear your testimony that he holds all of the priesthood keys today, just as Peter did.

The Church of Jesus Christ is led by those who hold priesthood keys.

Matthew 16:15–19

Come, Follow Me—For Primary: New Testament 2023 “Matthew 15–17; Mark 7–9” Studying Matthew 16:15–19 can build the children’s faith that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restoration of the same Church that Jesus established while He lived on the earth.

  • Write Matthew 16:19 on the board, leaving out a few words, including the word “keys.” Ask the children to find the missing words.
  • Show the video “Where Are the Keys?” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org), or review “Keys of the Priesthood” in Guide to the Scriptures (scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org). What are priesthood keys? How are priesthood keys like real keys?

A key unlocks the door to a house. We cannot appropriately enter a house unless we receive the key or the owner’s permission. Likewise, except for the right that husbands and fathers have to bless their families, a man who holds the priesthood can use it only when he receives proper permission. A priest, for example, has the authority to ordain another to an office in the Aaronic Priesthood, but he cannot do it without receiving permission to do so from his bishop or branch president. This power to give permission is called the keys of the priesthood.Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part B, (2000), 8–18:

President Joseph Fielding Smith explained: ‘These keys are the right of presidency; they are the power and authority to govern and direct all of the Lord’s affairs on earth. Those who hold them have power to govern and control the manner in which all others may serve in the priesthood. All [worthy men] may hold the priesthood, but [it] can only use it as authorized and directed so to do by those who hold the keys” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1972, 98; or Ensign, July 1972, 87).”

Duties and Blessings of the Priesthood: Basic Manual for Priesthood Holders, Part B “The Keys of the Priesthood”

  • Help the children list on the board some people who have priesthood keys. “Keys of the Priesthood” in Guide to the Scriptures (scriptures.ChurchofJesusChrist.org) has a list that can help them. Invite someone in your ward who holds priesthood keys to briefly share with the class why these keys are important.

New Era May 2012 “Priesthood Keys” Who has priesthood keys? Members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles hold all the keys necessary for governing the Church. Only the President of the Church has the right to exercise all of those keys. He delegates these keys to others who preside in the Church—temple presidents, mission presidents, stake presidents, district presidents, bishops, branch presidents, and quorum presidents, including deacons and teachers quorum presidents.

  • Hide several keys (or pictures of keys) around the room, and invite the children to find them. After each key is found, help the children think of blessings we enjoy because of priesthood keys (for example, eternal families, baptism, and the sacrament).

Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Matthew 17:1–9

Come, Follow Me—For Primary: New Testament 2023 “Matthew 15–17; Mark 7–9” These verses describe one of the few times in the scriptures when the voice of God the Father was heard testifying of His Beloved Son. Studying this account with the children can build their faith in Jesus Christ.

  • Give the children time to ponder what the account in Matthew 17:1–9 teaches them about Jesus Christ. Invite them to write their thoughts on the board. Invite the children to share how they know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

My faith can work miracles.

Matthew 17:19–20

Come, Follow Me—For Primary: New Testament 2023 “Matthew 15–17; Mark 7–9” When you read Jesus’s promise that faith like a grain of mustard seed can move a mountain, what impressions do you receive about the children you teach?

  • Read Matthew 17:19–20 with the children. Invite them to take turns drawing big mountains and small seeds on the board. Explain that the mountains are like things that are hard for us to do. What are some things that can feel like mountains to us? Use this week’s activity page to help the children think about how faith can help them do things that God wants them to do.

Friend May 2021 “Faith Will Move Mountains”.

Friend May 2019 “Keeping the Orphans Warm” George Muller, a Christian, served God by helping orphans. He had strong faith that God would help him help them. Once, when the heater went out in one of his orphanages, he prayed that a warm wind would come to keep the children warm and that the workers would have a desire to get the work done quickly. His prayer was answered.

Friend January 2016 “Windows before Winter” St. George members do all they can to raise money for tabernacle windows, and they have faith the Lord will help them with what they lack.

Friend January 2016
image

Friend March 2022 “Overcoming Your Challenges” President Dallin H. Oaks discusses the challenges he faced growing up, such as having his father die when he was seven, or being bullied and made fun of by other kids because he couldn’t spell or do math very well. Heavenly Father and Dallin’s family helped him and things got better. President Oaks wants the children to know that Heavenly Father will help them and to not give up. (Coloring page “I Can Overcome Challenges”)

  • Place a picture of a mountain on one side of the room. Ask the children to name some things they can do to gain more faith in Jesus Christ. Let each child who suggests something move the mountain closer to the other side of the room. Read Matthew 17:19–20, and testify of the power of faith in your life.

Liahona April 2023 “Faith in Jesus Christ” See more about faith at the link.

Faith is a firm belief or trust in something. To have faith includes hoping for and believing in things that are true, even when we can’t see them or completely understand them (see Hebrews 11:1Alma 32:21).

Having faith in Christ means having confidence in Him. It means relying completely on Him—trusting in His power, intelligence, and love. It also includes believing and following His teachings.

Faith in Jesus can grow when we learn of him and know who he is.

He is the creator of the world, the son of God, he has all power. He loves us and wants to help us. He is our Savior.

We learn of him by reading the scriptures and following his example.

Friend December 2016 “A Shining Light”

Friend December 2016
  • Sing together a song about faith, such as “Faith” (Children’s Songbook, 96–97). Give each child a seed to take home. Invite them to plant the seed and put it somewhere where they can watch it grow to help them remember to have faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

Additional Resources

New Testament Stories “The Boy with an Evil Spirit”

The Red Crystal

Come Follow Me With Living Scriptures “Keys of the Kingdom” Lesson ideas

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