This week’s readings: Matthew 4; Luke 4–5
Don’t forget to record your impressions and read the ideas and outline in the new Come, Follow Me manuals on lds.org.
This week’s scriptural insight comes from Verse by Verse: Volume 1 by Andrew C. Skinner and D. Kelly Ogden.
Forty days and forty nights of fasting—nearly six weeks—is a long time. Forty is a curious number in biblical scripture (see Numbers 14:33-34, Acts 1:3, and Genesis 7:4, 12 for a few examples). In some cases, the number 40 appears to mean exactly that amount, or duration, of time. In other cases, it seems to be simply figurative for a long period of time. Whether or not Jesus fasted for literally 40 days and nights (though we assume He did), upon finishing this lengthy fast, Jesus’ physical body was, of course, immensely hungry. King Benjamin, in his prophetic preview of the Lord’s ministry, noted that “he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer” (Mosiah 3:7).
These ideas and topics are compiled from Come, Follow Me and have been adapted for specific situations. Check out the manuals online for more ideas, or come up with your own as you study!
Consider reading the account of Christ’s 40-day fast and then discussing the greatest temptations you face as individuals and as a couple. You could discuss how the Savior resisted temptation or find scriptures that could fortify and strengthen you when you feel tempted. Perhaps it could be helpful to talk about how you could help each other resist their greatest temptation or pick a specific purpose to fast for together during the coming month.
Just like Christ gave up bread and water for 40 days and nights and like the apostles “forsook all” to follow Christ (Luke 5:11), there are things we must forsake to become His disciples. As part of your personal study and efforts to apply what you are learning this week, you could prayerfully ponder what things in your own life the Lord would have you forsake. You might even write down the things that come to mind and label it “My Fishing Nets,” and then put it somewhere you will see every day as a reminder of what you are willing to do for Christ this week and how you want to become better.
For families with young children:
After reading this week’s scriptures together, you might talk about the fact that because Christ suffered and overcame all, He is able to help us in our brightest days as well as our darkest nights. You might help your family better understand this during your family study time by giving each person a strip of paper that begins with “Because of Jesus Christ” and take turns finishing the sentence. For example, “Because of Jesus Christ, my family can be together forever.” Then each person could share why this is important to them.
For families with teens:
During this week’s family study, you might find it particularly helpful to focus on Matthew 4:3–4 and Luke 4:3–4. In these verses, Satan uses the word “if” to question Christ’s divine identity. This is something that Satan continues to do to us today, particularly to teens. You might talk with your family about the importance of understanding our divine identities by having each family member draw a line down a sheet of paper. On one side, family members can attempt to describe themselves the way God would see them (e.g. I am His child, I am capable of making good decisions, I am loved, etc.) and on the other side list things Satan has told them to confuse this (e.g. I’m dumb, everyone thinks I am weird, nobody notices me, I am ugly, etc.). Then you can discuss as a family some of the things you’ve each written down and brainstorm ways that you can remind each other of your divine identities this week.