“January 7–13. Matthew 1; Luke 1: ‘Be It unto Me according to Thy Word’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“January 7–13. Matthew 1; Luke 1,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2019
Record Your Impressions
From a mortal perspective, it was impossible. A virgin could not conceive. Nor could a barren woman who was well past child-bearing years. But God had a plan for the birth of His Son and of John the Baptist, so both Mary and Elisabeth, against all earthly odds, became mothers. It can be helpful to remember their miraculous experiences whenever we face something that seems impossible. Can we overcome our weaknesses? Can we touch the heart of an unresponsive family member? Gabriel could easily have been speaking to us when he reminded Mary, “With God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:37). And Mary’s response can also be ours when God reveals His will: “Be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).
Matthew was a Jewish publican, or tax collector, whom Jesus called as one of His Apostles (see Matthew 10:3; see also Bible Dictionary, “Publicans”). Matthew wrote his Gospel mainly to fellow Jews; therefore, he chose to emphasize Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah that were fulfilled through Jesus’s life and ministry.
Luke was a gentile (non-Jewish) physician who traveled with the Apostle Paul. He wrote his Gospel after the Savior’s death primarily to a non-Jewish audience. He testified of Jesus Christ as the Savior of both the Gentiles and the Jews. He recorded eyewitness accounts of events in the Savior’s life, and he included more stories involving women compared to the other Gospels.
President Russell M. Nelson explained that the Atonement of Jesus Christ “required a personal sacrifice by an immortal being not subject to death. Yet He must die and take up His own body again. The Savior was the only one who could accomplish this. From His mother He inherited power to die. From His Father He obtained power over death” (“Constancy amid Change,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 34).
For whatever reasons, God’s timing meant that the blessing Elisabeth and Zacharias desired, to have a child, came much later than they expected. If you find yourself having to wait for a blessing, or if it seems that God isn’t hearing your prayers, the story of Elisabeth and Zacharias can be a reminder that He hasn’t forgotten you. He has a plan for you, and He always keeps His promises to His righteous Saints. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland promised, “Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don’t come until heaven; but for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come” (“An High Priest of Good Things to Come,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 38). How did Zacharias and Elisabeth remain faithful? (see Luke 1:5–25, 57–80). Do you find yourself waiting for a blessing? What do you feel the Lord expects of you while you wait?
What other messages might the Lord have for you in this story?
Like Mary, we sometimes find that God’s plans for our life are quite different from what we had planned. What do you learn from Mary about accepting God’s will? In the following tables, write statements from the angel and Mary (see Luke 1:26–38), along with the messages that you find in their statements:
The angel’s words to Mary
Message for me
“The Lord is with thee” (verse 28).
The Lord is aware of my situation and struggles.
Message for me
“How shall this be?” (verse 34).
It’s OK to ask questions when I don’t understand.
Mary’s words in Luke 1:46–55 foretold aspects of the Savior’s mission. What do you learn about Jesus Christ from Mary’s statements? What additional insights do you gain about the blessings that the Savior offers by comparing these verses with Hannah’s words in 1 Samuel 2:1–10 and with Jesus’s Beatitudes in Matthew 5:4–12? What does the Spirit teach you as you ponder these insights?
As you read the scriptures with your family, the Spirit can help you know what principles to emphasize and discuss in order to meet the needs of your family. Here are some suggestions:
As your family reads the genealogy of Jesus, you might explain that it traces His royal lineage through Joseph back to King David. This lineage was significant because it had been prophesied that the Messiah would come through the lineage of David (see Jeremiah 23:5–6). This could be a good opportunity to discuss your own family history and share some stories about your ancestors. How does knowing about your family history bless your family?
Why might the people in these verses have been fearful? What causes us to feel fearful? How might God be asking us to “fear not”?
To help your family build faith that “with God nothing shall be impossible,” you could search Luke 1 together and find things God did that might be considered impossible. What other stories could they share—from the scriptures or their own lives—in which God did seemingly impossible things? Searching through the Gospel Art Book could help them think of ideas.
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.