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Come, Follow Me (Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20-21)

This is one of a series of reviews from a Christian perspective on the weekly lessons found in the Come, Follow Me (New Testament, 2023) for Individuals and Families published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To find the index of these reviews, visit here.

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

June 26-July 2

Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20-21

To many observers, the death of Jesus of Nazareth may have seemed like an ironic end to a remarkable life. Wasn’t this the man who raised Lazarus from the dead? Hadn’t He withstood the murderous threats from the Pharisees time after time? He had demonstrated power to heal blindness, leprosy, and palsy. The very winds and the seas obeyed Him. And yet here He was, hanging from a cross, declaring, “It is finished” (John 19:30). There may have been some sincere surprise in the mocking words “He saved others; himself he cannot save” (Matthew 27:42). But we know that Jesus’s death was not the end of the story. We know that the silence of the tomb was temporary and that Christ’s saving work was just beginning. He is found today not “among the dead” but among the living (Luke 24:5). His teachings would not be silenced, for His loyal disciples would preach the gospel in “all nations,” trusting His promise that He would be “with [them] alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:19–20).

Indeed, Jesus did say that the job was “finished”! There is nothing more that needs to be done, as the work was completed on the cross. In Mormonism, what Jesus accomplished on the cross was nothing more than the opportunity to attempt to keep all the commandments. Instead of “it is finished” according to Mormon doctrine, it’s more like “the work has just begun.”

Ideas for Personal Scripture Study
Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20

Jesus Christ was resurrected.

In these passages, you will read about one of the most important events in the history of humankind: the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. As you read, put yourself in the place of the people who witnessed the events surrounding the Resurrection. What do you learn from their experiences?

I agree, this is the cornerstone event in biblical Christianity. Without the resurrection, there is no salvation. No forgiveness of sins. No hope.

In Mormonism, the resurrection of Jesus merely paves the way for all people to gain resurrection from the dead. To gain the celestial kingdom, one must have complete obedience to the laws of God. As tenth President Joseph Fielding Smith put it,

TWOFOLD NATURE OF ATONEMENT. The atonement of Jesus Christ is of a twofold nature. Because of it, all men are redeemed from mortal death and the grave, and will rise in the resurrection to immortality of the soul. Then again, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel, man will receive remission of individual sins, through the blood of Christ, and will inherit exaltation in the kingdom of God, which is eternal life.”

Doctrines of Salvation 1:123

Apostle Milton R. Hunter put it this way:

“Furthermore, I bear witness that Jesus Christ not only through his atonement gave us immortality, but also through the gospel plan of salvation provided a means whereby we may gain eternal life. If we are faithful in keeping God’s commandments, being sufficiently obedient in all things, we shall rise in the resurrection and return to the presence of the Father and the Son and receive a glorious exaltation or eternal life.”

Conference Reports, April 1960, 118.

Seventeenth President Russell M. Nelson put it this way:

“Thanks to the Atonement, the gift of immortality is unconditional. The greater gift of eternal life, however, is conditional. In order to qualify, one must deny oneself of ungodliness and honor the ordinances and covenants of the temple.”

“Divine Love,” Ensign, February 2003, 24. Italics in original).

Obviously, the resurrection in Mormonism is not as emphasized as it is in biblical Christianity. Christians who believe it is the culmination that He conquered death. As mentioned, this event is the cornerstone of our faith. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:

1 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8 and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

Later in that passage, Paul said in verses 13-17:

13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

How do you feel as you read about the Savior’s Resurrection? Consider how it has affected you—your outlook on life, your relationships, your faith in Christ, and your faith in other gospel truths.

For Christians, the resurrection is the “end of the story.” It is everything to us.

Luke 24:13–35

I can invite the Savior to “abide with [me].”

As you read the experience of the two traveling disciples who met the resurrected Savior, look for parallels to your experiences as a follower of Christ. How can you walk with Him today and invite Him to “tarry” a little longer? (Luke 24:29). How do you recognize His presence in your life? In what ways has the Holy Ghost testified of the divinity of Jesus Christ to you?

I believe that the Holy Spirit testifies of the divinity of Christ. It is only through what Jesus did that eternal life is possible. The Bible teaches that we must be filled with the Holy Spirit–the literal meaning is “be being filled.” I don’t want Him to just “tarry” a little longer but with me always, as we have been assured of our salvation.

Luke 24:36–43; John 20

Resurrection is the permanent reuniting of the spirit with the body.

The accounts of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ can help you understand what it means to be resurrected. For example, what truths do you find in Luke 24:36–43 and John 20 about resurrected bodies? You could also explore other scriptures about resurrection, such as 1 Corinthians 15:35–44; Philippians 3:20–21; 3 Nephi 11:13–15; Doctrine and Covenants 88:27–31; 110:2–3; 130:1, 22.

In Mormonism, the resurrection of the body is the reason they get one of three kingdoms of glory. In Christianity, there is a bodily resurrection for those who go to heaven and hell. For instance, Jesus talks about Lazarus in Luke 16. How could the rich man have felt physical agony and requested water unless he had a physical body? Jesus did say in Matthew 10:28, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

John 20:19–29

“Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

Some people feel like Thomas, who said, “Except I shall see … , I will not believe” (John 20:25). In your opinion, why can believing without seeing be a blessing? (see John 20:29). Ponder how you have been blessed for believing in things you could not see. What helps you have faith in the Savior even when you cannot see Him? How can you continue to strengthen your faith in “things which are not seen, which are true”? (see Alma 32:16–21; Ether 12:6). Consider recording in a journal experiences that have helped you believe in Jesus Christ, or share them with someone you know.

What is missing in this assessment is how powerful of a testimony to Jesus’s deity this passage really is. Thomas was not in the room the previous week when the other disciples saw the resurrected Christ. He boldly exclaimed that he would not believe unless he could empirically experience Jesus. The next week, Jesus walks up to Him while the disciples were gathered and Thomas exclaims, “My Lord and my God” (verse 28). This is proof that Jesus is God in the flesh, as He did not criticize Thomas, Instead, in the next verse, Jesus commends his statement but said “more blessed” are those who don’t get a chance to see but still believe. It is certainly one of my favorite passages.

Ideas for Family Scripture Study and Home Evening

Matthew 28:16–20; Mark 16:14–20; Luke 24:44–53.

In these verses, what was Jesus asking His Apostles to do? How can we help accomplish this work? Family members could share experiences when they felt “the Lord working with them” to accomplish His purposes (Mark 16:20).

No mention is made that Mark 16:9ff are not in the earliest and most accurate manuscripts. It’s not that there is anything heretical in these verses, but scholars are pretty certain that this was not ever part of the original autograph of Mark. I probably wouldn’t have used these verses in a scriptural lesson. But that might just be me.

The Great Commission is certainly important for Bible-believing Christians who want to follow what Jesus taught. We are to baptize, disciple, and take the message to everyone. As Romans 10 put it:

14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 16 But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.


There is nothing hugely heretical in this week’s lesson. My major thought is that, while I appreciate the teaching about the bodily resurrection of Jesus. I don’t believe that Mormonism centers around this doctrine. Romans 10:9-13 says,

9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” 12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

It’s seems pretty clear cut: It is faith in the greatest miracle of all, the Resurrected Jesus, that “saves” a person. It’s not based on what we have done or ever can do. When we go to the heart of the Bible, the hope we can have in Christ becomes very clear. It’s a much different message than what is taught in Mormonism.

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