You are on page 1of 5

Gospel doctrine Lesson Four  

Prepare Ye The Way
Of The Lord  

Purpose: To inspire
class members to
draw near to the
Savior by repenting
of their sins,
keeping their
baptismal
covenants, and
withstanding
temptation.

 
Read Mark 3:1-5. Several Old
Testament prophets foretold of
the ministry of John the Baptist,
Isaiah 40:3, 1 Nephi 10:7-10 and
Malachi 3:1. Why do you think God
emphasized the coming ministry
of John the Baptist so much?

It is clear that our Heavenly
Father knew that a step of
preparation had to be made
in the hearts of men before
God and man could come
together. What were the
steps that John taught? (See
Matthew 3:6,8)

Cultural Note:
At the time of John the
Baptist’s coming, baptism
wasn’t a new practice. It
was a required ordinance
for any Gentile who
wanted to become a Jew.
The gentiles at this time
were seen as a secondclass, unworthy and unchosen people. How then
does Jesus’ baptism
foreshadow his ministry?

God’s silence, Our Questions
Read the following passage from Max Lucado’s book, Trusting More,
Worrying Less. Then, respond to the thought questions.

 In  anyone’s  book,  John  the  Bap2st  deserved  be6er  
treatment  than  he  got  at  the  end.  A;er  all,  wasn’t  he  the  
forerunner  of  the  Christ?  Wasn’t  he  a  rela2ve  of  the  
Messiah?  Hadn’t  he  spent  his  life  courageously  calling  the  
people  to  repentance?    At  the  end  of  John’s  mortal  life,  
however,  none    of  this  seemed  to  ma6er.  Imprisoned  
for  openly  calling  King  Herod  an  adulterer,  his  wife  
demanded  John’s  head  on  a  pla6er.  
   This  story  reeks  with  injus2ce.  It  just  doesn’t  seem  
fair.  John  dies  while  Herodias  smirks.  A  man  of  God  is  killed  
while  a  man  of  passion  sins.  Is  this  how  God  rewards  his  
anointed?  Is  this  how  he  honors  his  faithful?  Is  this  how  
God  crowns  his  chosen?  With  a  dark  dungeon  and  a  shiny  
blade?    The  inconsistency  was  more  than  John  could  
take.  Even  before  Herod  reached  his  verdict,  John  was  
asking  his  
 ques2ons.  His  concerns  were  
outnumbered  only  by  the  number  of  2mes  he  paced  his  
cell  asking  them.  When  he  had  a  chance  to  get  a  message  
to  Jesus,  his  inquiry  was  one  of  despair:  
 “When  John  heard  in  prison  what  Christ  was  doing,  
he  sent  his  disciples  to  ask  him,  ‘Are  you  the  one  who  was  
to  come,  or  should  we  expect  someone  else?”’  
 Note  what  mo2vated  John’s  ques2on.  It  was  not  
just  the  dungeon  or  even  death.  It  was  the  problem  of  
unmet  expecta2ons—the  fact  that  John  was  in  deep  
trouble  and  Jesus  was  conduc2ng  business  as  usual.  Is  this  
what  messiahs  do  when  trouble  comes?  Is  this  what  God  
does  when  his    followers  are  in  a  bind?  
 Jesus’  silence  was  enough  to  chisel  a  leak  into  the  
dam  of  John’s  belief.  “Are  you  the  one?  Or  have  I  been  
following  the  wrong  Lord?”  Had  the  Bible  been  wri6en  by  
a  public  rela2ons  agency,  they  would  have  eliminated  that  
verse.  It’s  not  good  PR  strategy  to  admit  that  one  of  the  
cabinet  members  has  doubts  about  the  president.  You  
don’t  let  stories  like  that  get  out  if  you  are  trying  to  
present  a  unified  front.  But  the  Scriptures  weren’t  wri6en  
by  personality  agents;  they  were  inspired  by  an  eternal  
God  who  knew  that  every  disciple  from  then  on  would  
spend  2me  in  the  dungeon  of  doubt.    
 Though  the  circumstances  have  changed,  the  
ques2ons  haven’t.  They  are  asked  any2me  the  faithful  
suffer  the  consequences  of  the  faithless.  Any2me  a  person  
takes  a  step  in  the  right  direc2on,  only  to  have  her  feet  
knocked  out  from  under  her,  any2me  a  person  does  a  
good  deed  but  suffers  evil  results,  any2me  a  person  takes  a  
stand,  only  to  end  up  flat  on  his  face.  .  .  the  ques2ons  fall  
like  rain:  
“If  God  is  so  good,  why  do  I  hurt  so  bad?”  
“If  God  is  really  there,  why  am  I  here?”  
 
 

le;  standing  in  the  dungeon  of  doubt,  then  understand  
this:  Perhaps  it  isn’t  that  God  is  silent.  Perhaps,  like  John,  
you’ve  been  listening  for  the  wrong  answer.  John  had  been  
listening  for  an  answer  to  his  earthly  problems,  while  Jesus  
was  busy  resolving  his  heavenly  ones.  That’s  worth  
remembering  the  next  2me  you  hear  the  silence  of  God.  If  
you’ve  asked  for  a  mate,  but  are  s2ll  sleeping  alone.  .  .  if  
you’ve  asked  for  a  child,  but  your  womb  stays  barren.  .  .  if  
you’ve  asked  for  healing,  but  are  s2ll  hur2ng.  .  .  don’t  think  
God  isn’t  listening.  He  is.  And  he  is  answering  requests  you  
are  not  even  making.  
Saint  Teresa  of  Avila  was  insigh^ul  enough  to  pray,  “Do  not  
punish  me  by  gran2ng  that  which  I  wish  or  ask.”  
 The  fact  is,  John  wasn’t  asking  too  much;  he  was  asking  
too  li6le.  He  was  asking  the  Father  to  resolve  the  
temporary,  while  Jesus  was  busy  resolving  the  eternal.  
John  was  asking  for  immediate  favor,  while  Jesus  was  
orchestra2ng  the  eternal  solu2on.    
Does  that  mean  that  Jesus  has  no  regard  for  injus2ce?  
 No.  He  cares  about  persecu2ons.  He  cares  about  
inequi2es  and  hunger  and  prejudice.  And  he  knows  what  it  
is  like  to  be  punished  for  something  he  didn’t  do.  He  knows  
the  meaning  of  the  phrase,  “It’s  just  not  right.”  
For  it  wasn’t  right  that  people  spit  into  the  eyes  that  had  
wept  for  them.  It  wasn’t  right  that  soldiers  ripped  chunks  
of  flesh  out  of  the  back  of  their  God.  It  wasn’t  right  that  
spikes  pierced  the  hands  that  formed  the  earth.  And  it  
wasn’t  right  that  the  Son  of  God  was  forced  to  hear  the  
silence  of  God.  It  wasn’t  right,  but  it  happened.  
For  while  Jesus  was  on  the  cross,  God  did  sit  on  his  hands.  
He  did  turn  his  back.  He  did  ignore  the  screams  of  the  
innocent.  He  sat  in  silence  while  the  sins  of  the  world  were  
placed  upon  his  Son.  And  he  did  nothing  while  a  cry  a  
million  2mes  bloodier  than  John’s  echoed  in  the  black  sky:  
“My  God,  my  God,  why  have  you  forsaken  me?”6  
Was  it  right?  No.  
Was  it  fair?  No.  
Was  it  love?  Yes.  
In  a  world  of  injus2ce,  God  once  and  for  all  2pped  the  
scales  in  the  favor  of  hope.  And  he  did  it  by  sibng  on  his  
hands  so  that  we  could  know  the  kingdom  of  God.  
 
 
 
 

Thought Questions:
1.  According to this passage, why did John send word
to ask Jesus if he was really the Messiah?

2.  Name a situation in which you have felt
persecuted for doing what was right. What was
the outcome of your experience?

3.  Read Proverbs 21:2 and Jeremiah 17:9. What do
these passages suggest about how we can
interpret the bad things that happen to us?

4.  Write down the three characteristics of the
church that are implied in Jesus’ answer to John.
In what ways have you seen these
characteristics continuing in your lifetime?

Scripture

Physical
temptation

Spiritual
Temptation

Matthew
4:1-4

Turn stones
into bread

Reverse the
priorities of life,
make the
physical more
important than
the spiritual

Matthew
4:5-7

Cast thyself
down from the
pinnacle

Your faith, in
order to valid,
must include
grand displays.
Simple, everyday
displays of peace
and joy, patience
and longsuffering
are not enough.

Matthew
4:9-10

I will give you
glory and rule
over all the
earth if you
will worship
me

Fame, glory, and
prestige are
important. Don’t
we all want to
make our mark
on the world and
feel like we have
made a
difference? This
temptation
appeals to our
pride.

What is the Savior’s response? What
should our response be? What would
that look like in your life?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Lessons from the
temptation of Christ
1.  We are not tempted because we are bad, we are
tempted because we are human.
2.  Look at Christ’s response in Matthew 4:10. Notice
here the close relationship between worship and
service. To worship is to serve and to serve is to
worship.
3.  “It is written…” Every time Jesus is tempted he
takes refuge in the scriptures.

Yea,  we  see  that  whosoever  
will  may  lay  hold  upon  the  
word  of  God,  which  is  quick  
and  powerful,  which  shall  
divide  asunder  all  the  cunning  
and  the  snares  and  the  wiles  
of  the  devil,  and  lead  the  man  
of  Christ  in  a  strait  and  
narrow  course  across  that  
everlas2ng  gulf  of  misery  
which  is  prepared  to  engulf  
the  wicked—  
   And  land  their  souls,  yea,  
their  immortal  souls,  at  the  
right  hand  of  God  in  the  
kingdom  of  heaven,  to  sit  
down  with  Abraham,  and  
Isaac,  and  with  Jacob,  and  
with  all  our  holy  fathers,  to  go  
no  more  out.  
 
Helaman  3:29-­‐30  

How do the scriptures
give us strength to
withstand temptation?