“April 22–28. Matthew 18; Luke 10: ‘What Shall I Do to Inherit Eternal Life?’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: New Testament 2019 (2019)
“April 22–28. Matthew 18; Luke 10,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2019
Record Your Impressions
These chapters contain many examples of gospel teachings that are different from what the world teaches us. What truths did class members find in these chapters that are hard for some people to accept or live?
At one time or another, we all need to forgive someone who has offended us. How could you use the parable of the unmerciful servant to inspire class members to be more forgiving? Perhaps you could write questions like the following on the board and invite class members to ponder them as one person retells the parable: Who does the king represent? Who does the unmerciful servant represent? What does his debt represent? Who does the fellowservant represent? What does his debt represent? The information about talents and pence in “Additional Resources” can give class members an idea of how vastly different the two debts in the parable are. Invite class members to ponder what messages the parable has for them personally.
You could invite the class to create an adaptation of the parable of the unmerciful servant that teaches the same lessons about forgiveness using modern situations and details. (Consider having them work on this in groups.) Discuss how the parable answered Peter’s question about how many times he should forgive.
The video “Forgive Every One Their Trespasses: The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant” (LDS.org) could help your class visualize the parable. In addition to Matthew 18:35, the following scriptures could help class members understand why the Lord wants us to forgive everyone who sins against us: Matthew 6:12–15; Ephesians 4:32; and Doctrine and Covenants 64:7–11.
Here’s an idea that might give class members a fresh view of the parable of the good Samaritan: Invite them to pretend that they are investigating a case of assault and robbery on the road between Jericho and Jerusalem. Ask a few class members to come to class prepared to represent the different people in the parable and talk about their involvement in the case. For example, why didn’t the priest and Levite stop to help the injured man? Why did the Samaritan stop? What thoughts could the innkeeper add? How did the injured man feel about each of the others? Make sure the discussion inspires class members to be like the good Samaritan and the innkeeper and avoid being like the priest and Levite. When have class members felt like the “certain man,” who needed help desperately? How did help come? How can we as ward members work together to help others, like the good Samaritan and the innkeeper did?
Besides teaching about what it means to love our neighbor, the parable of the good Samaritan could also symbolize Jesus Christ’s power to save us. (Details about this interpretation can be found in “Additional Resources.”) You might invite class members to read the parable, looking for this and other possible symbolic meanings. What do we learn about the Savior and His Atonement when we read the parable this way?
Life is filled with worthwhile things to do. The story of Mary and Martha can help class members consider how to choose “that good part” (verse 42; see also this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families). After reading Luke 10:38–42 together, perhaps you could ask class members how they might have reacted to the Savior’s counsel if they had been in Martha’s place. How might this experience have affected their future choices? How can we know what things in our own lives are “needful”? (Luke 10:42). How can Elder Dallin H. Oaks’s message “Good, Better, Best” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 104–8) help class members?
Tell your class that as they read the Savior’s declarations about His own divinity in John 7–10 for next week’s class, they can come to know with greater surety that He is the Christ.
It’s difficult to know the exact values of the amounts of money mentioned in the parable of the unmerciful servant (see Matthew 18:23–35). However, there are clues in the New Testament that can help us understand the vast difference between the 100-pence debt and the 10,000-talent debt.
The fellowservant in the parable owed the smaller debt of 100 pence. In Matthew 20:2, a penny (the singular form of the word pence) is the wage paid for a day’s work in a vineyard. Therefore, the fellowservant would have to work for 100 days to earn 100 pence to pay his debt. But this amount is extremely small when compared to the 10,000-talent debt of the unmerciful servant. In Matthew 25:14–15, a man’s entire fortune—“his goods”—is valued at only eight talents. Therefore, it would take the combined, accumulated wealth of over 1,000 men like this man to pay the unmerciful servant’s debt.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland shared what he learned about the parable of the unmerciful servant while attending an institute class:
“[The teacher] noted that the 100-pence forgiveness, which we were all expected to give one another and acknowledged as a pretty fair amount of money, was … preciously little to ask in light of the 10,000-talent forgiveness Christ had extended to us.
“That latter debt, our debt, was an astronomical number, [the teacher] reminded us, almost incapable of comprehension. But that, he said, was exactly the Savior’s point in this teaching, an essential part of the parable. Jesus had intended that his hearers sense just a little of the eternal scope and profound gift of his mercy, his forgiveness, his Atonement.
“… For the first time in my life I remember feeling something of the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice for me—a gift bordering to this day on incomprehensibility. But a gift that made me, for the first time, seriously consider my need to forgive other people and to be unfailingly generous regarding their feelings and their needs and their circumstances” (“Students Need Teachers to Guide Them” [Church Educational System satellite broadcast, June 20, 1992]).
Over the centuries, Christians have found symbols in the parable of the good Samaritan that teach about Jesus Christ’s role as our Savior. For example, the man who fell among thieves could represent all of us. The thieves could represent sin and death. The Samaritan could represent the Savior. The inn could represent the Church, and the Samaritan’s promise to return could represent the Savior’s Second Coming. (See John W. Welch, “The Good Samaritan: Forgotten Symbols,” Ensign, Feb. 2007, 40–47.)