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Come, Follow Me (Matthew 1; Luke 1)

By Eric Johnson

This is one in a series of reviews of the weekly lessons found in the Come, Follow Me for Individuals and Families published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To link to all of the 2023 New Testament teachings, click here.

Bold face type in this article comes from the Church’s curriculum. (Note: Not every sentence is being reviewed.)

Bold face type in this article comes from the Church’s curriculum. (Note: Not every sentence is being reviewed.)

January 2-8, 2023 (Matthew 1; Luke 1)

From a mortal perspective, it was impossible. A virgin could not conceive—nor could a barren woman who was well past childbearing years. But God had a plan for the birth of His Son and the birth 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).

The Virgin Birth is an important doctrine in Christianity. A little later I’ll provide resources to show how Mormonism’s version of this teaching is not the same as biblical Christianity.

Ideas for Personal Scripture Study

Who were Matthew and Luke?

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.

Fair assessment.

Matthew 1:18–25; Luke 1:26–35

Jesus Christ was born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father.

In Matthew 1:18–25 and Luke 1:26–35, notice how Matthew and Luke described the miracle of Jesus’s birth. How do their descriptions strengthen your faith in the Savior? Why is it important to you to know that Jesus was both the Son of God and the son of Mary?

The Bible is a clear proponent of the Virgin Birth. Matthew 1:18 says, “When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.” According to the Bible, there was no sexual union between Mary and either God the Father or the Holy Spirit.

If you notice, little is said in this lesson about Mormonism’s unique teaching of the Virgin Birth. The title of the section is our best indication: “Jesus was born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father.” According to Mormonism, “Heavenly Father” impregnated Mary in a “literal” way–there really is no other way to put it–in what the leaders classify as a “virgin birth.” The following illustration in a church manual (Family Home Evening Journal, 1972) depicted this teaching so a parent could even teach a child this unique LDS concept:

The illustration is blasphemous to Bible-believing Christians. We try to keep these reviews on the shorter end, so if you would like more information about what Mormonism means by “Virgin Birth,” we invite you to see the following articles:

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).

According to theologian Wayne Grudem, the Virgin Birth shows us three things:

  1. Salvation ultimately must come from the Lord. Just as God had promised that the “seed” of the woman (Gen. 3:15) would ultimately destroy the serpent, so God brought it about by his own power, not through human effort. The virgin birth of Christ is an unmistakable reminder that salvation can never come through human effort, but must be the work of God himself.
  2. The Virgin Birth is made possible the uniting of full deity and full humanity in one person. If we think for a moment of other possible ways in which Christ might have come to the church, none of them would so clearly unite humanity and deity in one person. It probably would have been possible for God to create Jesus as a complete human being in heaven and send him to descend from heaven to earth without the benefit of any human power. But then it would have been very hard for us to see how Jesus could be fully human as we are.
  3. The Virgin Birth also makes possible Christ’s true humanity without inherited sin. The fact that Jesus did not have a human father means that the line of descent from Adam is partially interrupted. Jesus did not descend from Adam in exactly the same way in which every other human being has descended from Adam (Systematic Theology, 530).

Why did Jesus not receive sin from Mary? Through the overshadowing of the Spirit, there apparently was no transmission of sin (Luke 1:35). As John 1:14 puts it this way: “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Indeed, Jesus was the ultimate Christmas present. Because of this gift, verse 12 rings true: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Matthew 1:18–25; Luke 1:26–38

The faithful willingly submit to God’s will.

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?

Mary listened to God even when it must not have been easy to do. John 6:40 says, “For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” Christians believe in Him for the forgiveness of their sins and realize that it is only through a gift, not by works, that this takes place. This is no mere transaction. I am grateful for, as Matthew 1:23 puts it, the Savior who saves “His people from their sins.”

Luke 1:46–55

Mary testified of Jesus Christ’s mission.

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? You might compare these verses with Hannah’s words in 1 Samuel 2:1–10 and with Jesus’s Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3–12. What does the Spirit teach you as you ponder these verses?

The entrance of the Savior of the world came with great praise just as Hannah rejoiced when she had a son and dedicated him to the Lord.

Ideas for Family Scripture Study and Home Evening

Matthew 1:1–17.

As your family reads the genealogy of Jesus, you might discuss your own family history and share some stories about your ancestors. How does knowing about your family history bless your family? For more family history activities, see

It’s unsettling how self-serving this statement from the LDS writer(s) really seems. It’s as if the church is saying, “Oh, here is the genealogy of Jesus, and by the way, isn’t that a reminder that you should be doing your genealogical work?” The difference, though, is that Latter-day Saints do their family’s genealogy in order to offer salvation to these deceased relations. Church founder Joseph Smith said:

The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead. Those saints who neglect it in behalf of their deceased relatives, do it at the peril of their own salvation.

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 193.

Apostle Boyd K. Packer said that the work done by Latter-day Saints is responsible to save those who are already dead:

Genealogies, or family histories, as I prefer to call them, are an indispensable part of temple work. Temples are nourished with names. Without genealogies, ordinances could be performed only for the living. Searching out the names of our kindred dead is a duty of consummate importance. There is a spirit which accompanies this work very similar to that which attends us in the temple itself.

“Covenants,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1987, 24.

The importance of doing genealogical work is never taught in the Bible; nowhere does it ever insinuate that such work is necessary for salvation purposes. Titus 3:9 says, “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.”

Meanwhile, Matthew and Luke are providing these charts for informational purposes only. So it’s apples and oranges for the writers to bring up the work done in LDS temples today as there is no comparison with the intent of the biblical writers.

For an article to solve the genealogy problems in Matthew and Luke, I recommend checking this article offsite.


In the first chapter for 2023, we already see a huge difference between Mormonism and Christianity. The doctrine of the Virgin Birth is quite different. In Mormonism, Heavenly Father came to Mary and had relations with her to create Jesus in a sexual manner; in Christianity, the Holy Spirit came upon Mary in a nonsexual manner. And genealogical work done by Mormons today is not the same reason why the Bible did genealogy. Indeed, there are many differences between the teachings of Mormonism and what is proclaimed by biblical Christians.

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