Welcome to Gospel Doctrine with Darryl! On behalf of the searchisaiah.org team, we are glad to be here today to share some more insights into what we’ve been doing this year in converting the lessons into the Come, Follow Me format.
Come, Follow Me format:
Prepare yourself spiritually
Invite to act
This lesson is lesson 39: “How beautiful upon the mountains.”
Understanding the Come, Follow Me format
You need to remember that the parts that we have adapted for you includes preparing yourself through study and prayer by looking at both scriptures and conference talks, and then reading those and asking your class to share and ponder them.
On the whiteboard today, I’ve listed some parts to the Come, Follow Me format, but I want to remind you to download the course outline now.
When you do this, you get this three-page series which shows you all the components of Come, Follow Me. (These are listed in the box to the left.)
In the standard Come, Follow Me format, we receive a list of scriptures to prepare ourselves spiritually, some videos, and some conference talks. Then during the week we share those with our class members through text, through email, and just to try to encourage them to study a little before they came. We’re actually wanting them to diligently study, but this is sort of the trigger for you to engage them.
When we get to class, we make connections to last week’s lesson, to what is going on in their home life, what happens in Sunday school, relief society, and priesthood meetings.
This means there’s got to be a little bit of time allowed just to sort of decompress about what had happened the previous week. So, with today’s lesson topic, they might not jump right into it, and don’t worry about that, you need to take it easy because you’re not an instructor; you’re a classroom facilitator. We are getting them to chat and talk; that’s what we’re after, to counsel together. So, after we’ve made connections, we jump in learning together.
Now, “learning together” sounds like you’ve got a lesson plan, but its where you have a study plan and you share it with them. You’re going to divide the class up into groups where they read, talk and ponder about talks, scriptures and videos. But what they share, governs the lesson. It’s not what you think they should do.
Finally, in the end, you summarize everything that you’ve heard as a facilitator and invite them to act on it.
I need to remind you that in order to get both the slide deck and the lesson plan, you need to click ‘download here’ now and then you’ll be able to have access to them. In this particular lesson, there’s a 12-slide deck, but we’ll skinny that down so it’s just the parts that you need.
Following the Come, Follow Me format
In the topic “How beautiful upon the mountains,” we’re going to discuss Isaiah 50–53, Mosiah 14–15, and a couple of conference messages that are very timely. The prophet gave a talk called, “Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives,” in April Conference 2017. This will be a good one for every class member to read before they come, but then they should also read The Living Christ—the Testimony of the Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I’m interested in how many posts and social media I’ve seen, where people have memorized the whole Living Christ. What a great challenge to see if any class members can recite parts of it.
Then there are some videos. So, when the prophet was recently in Israel, he bore his witness of Christ on the Mount of Olives, which was a beautiful testimony there. And finally, there’s the family home evening supplement you could watch and give one of your study groups called “Missionary Work: Our Greatest Duty”. So, what we’re going to do right now is we’re going to start today by watching one of searchisaiah.org Search Hacks. We’ll take a look at the Forbidden chapter, Isaiah 53| Search Hack 2
Isaiah 53 is a monumental chapter of scripture, often called the forbidden chapter among Jews. Throughout all of Isaiah, the prophet prophesies of many things like destruction, freedom from bondage, and salvation.
Chapter 53 specifically is when Isaiah prophesies of Christ, which is left out of the Jewish Torah because of arguments and great confusion in the synagogues. This confusion can mean the difference of being a Jew or a Christian.
“I came to faith to assure that Jesus was the Messiah.”
Isaiah 53 is also well quoted by modern LDS apostles like Elder Holland.
“Isaiah is by every standard the Messianic Prophet of the Old Testament.”
But Isaiah 53 is perhaps the most famous for Handel’s Messiah, which you all hear at Christmas.
Isaiah is a confusing book because Isaiah speaks in a sort of code that makes it hard to tell who he is referring to. To understand that you should study it rather than just read it. The Gospel Library App for your phone and tablet has great study tools.
Let’s apply them to Isaiah 53. In this chapter, Isaiah is referring to someone using the pronoun, he, it’s difficult to discern who he is until verses 3 and 4 say he is rejected of men, a man of sorrows, and he hath borne our griefs. Then verse 5 says he was wounded for our transgressions and with his stripes we are healed.
Now we can tell Isaiah is referring to Christ, and we can use the red highlight tool every time he refers to Christ, as red is the standard for Christ. Using the highlight tool to discern who Isaiah is referring to in different parts of the book is crucial to understanding his timeless message. We’ve just studied the most controversial chapter in Isaiah. Some faiths refer to Isaiah as the 5th Gospel after Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Why do you think that is? You decide.”
Now that we have seen that, we’re going to divide into four discussion groups of five or six people a piece. There is a lot to read and study.
It’s important that you give your class plenty of time for this. Now remember we talked about this last time, you have 40 minutes between sacrament meeting and relief society and priesthood. And in that 40 minutes, you do a quick introduction of the topic, which we’ve done, we’ve done a little bit about it with the search hack. And then you need to give them at least 15 minutes, maybe 20, to read and talk about the scriptures. And today, they get the chance to explore Isaiah’s witness of Christ.
This is a very moving set of scriptures and readings. And so even if you need to take two weeks for this lesson, I would not rush this. We’ve added in the Come, Follow Me format, a study group that gets to look at President Nelson’s talk, The Living Christ, which is a witness of all 15 apostles at the time. Then we will look at the “Special Witness of Christ” by President Nelson from this last August.
Today I’m going to let each of the groups pick what topic they want because, with just four subjects for us to do, people can be in big groups. If you want to cluster up by family or friends, or if you’d rather just be a pair or three or four people, you can go ahead and do that. So, I’m going to ask you right now to pick one of those four subjects and just let me know which one because I want to make sure all four are taken care of. So, it looks like we’re going to have five discussion groups today. We’ll break into those now and we’ll take reports in 15 minutes.
Troy: Faith that motivates distraction gives us more access to his power, and then he goes, “Covenant keeping men and women, seek for ways to keep themselves…”
Darryl: So, I don’t want to interrupt, but I just want to check to be sure you’ve understood the assignment. Isaiah was the prophet then, and President Nelson is the prophet now. So, trying to explore his witness here of Jesus Christ and you just need to share your most poignant discovery ok.
All right, brothers and sisters, we have about 10 minutes left in class. Let’s take reports. This first group had the assignment, Isaiah talks about how beautiful are the feet. Tell me what you discovered.
Kayli: I know something that we discovered is he kind of talks about like how beautiful are the feet of the people who sing praises and are spreading the word of the Gospel. And kind of what Ken was saying and what Thomas and I were kind of discussing together was that, when it comes to the feet, kind of back then, what it meant was that instead of having social media or telephones or anything like that, they would use their feet to walk to one another to spread the messages.
Darryl: So, runners went out. That’s very good. That’s exactly the insight that I had. The insight here is that the Book of Mormon, is probably the best commentary for the book of Isaiah we could get. Group four, you had a special assignment, no scriptures, but you got to explore the words of our current prophet. What did you discover?
Troy: I was reading President Russell Nelson’s talk in April before he became a prophet, but as a disciple. And I’m just going to share one of the quotes he bears witness to the Savior. This was touching. He says, “under the father’s great eternal plan, it is the Savior who suffered. It’s the Savior who broke the bands of death. It is the Savior who paid the price for our sins and transgressions and blocks them out on condition of our repentance.”
Darryl: In the introduction to lesson 39 as we were building this lesson plan, we took a quote from Jeffrey R. Holland, who said, “Isaiah is by every standard, the Messianic Prophet of the Old Testament, and as such, is the most penetrating prophetic voice in that record.” How do you feel about President Nelson now? Is he the most penetrating voice of our day?
You saw how we had four discussion groups today, but at the end of every lesson, they list other discussion topics and I find them to be also good breakouts. We have 35 to 40 in the Gospel Doctrine class every Sunday. And so, I tend to use these other topics.
Today, walking in the light, we have these three scriptures that you could read. We also have this family home evening supplement on missionary work, which ties into the lesson.
So, in all, you could have six discussion groups easily today. My class isn’t necessarily obedient. When I say break into groups of six, they break into groups of two to eight, but that’s fine. It gets the job done.
In conclusion, today, I’d like to read Mosiah 15:18. This is Abinadi speaking,
And behold, I say unto you, this is not all. For O how beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that is the founder of peace, yea, even the Lord, who has redeemed his people; yea, him who has granted salvation unto his people;
I’m sure as you have read with me today, you have enjoyed Isaiah’s testimony as a witness for Christ before He was even born. It’s almost like the book of Isaiah is another witness for Christ before Christ is born.
I want to bear testimony, that as I have studied Isaiah these last four weeks with you, my testimony has been greatly strengthened. I’ve had huge insights—the discussion on the atonement. I just have to share this with you, this is my own personal experience. When Isaiah received this call in Isaiah 6, and the seraphim took glowing coals from the altar fire and placed it on his lips to purge his sin, I remembered a sacrament meeting where were singing “Reverently and Meekly Now” and the witness I had of Jesus Christ being my Savior was so powerful that I felt that witness again when Isaiah said his sins were purged. And he accepted his call.
So, let’s stop for a minute and ask this question. Have your testimonies been strengthened in the last four weeks? What are you doing in your personal studies of the scriptures to focus more on learning about Jesus Christ?
I think most of us in the Old Testament tend to focus on the stories, but finding Christ, that’s really important. I think that lesson we had five weeks ago on Hosea and how Christ took back this adulterous woman, Gomer, it tells us all that we can be forgiven for whatever we’ve done. The atonement is there for us.
So, in future classes, I’m going to call on you to bear your testimony about what you’ve learned about Christ from the Old Testament.
I’d like to remind you who are instructors, that you can download this lesson plan now. You’ll discover the Come, Follow Me format is the way you want to teach Gospel doctrine from now on.