“Lesson 48: Luke 7:18–50,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)
“Lesson 48,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
Jesus praised John the Baptist and testified that John prepared the way for His ministry. While Jesus was eating with Simon the Pharisee, a repentant woman showed her faith in and love for the Savior.
Invite students to work in pairs, and give each pair a piece of paper. Ask the pairs to write down as many facts about John the Baptist from memory as they can in one minute. After one minute, ask students to count the number of facts on their papers.
How many facts about John the Baptist were you able to list?
Invite students to tell the class about some of the facts they listed.
If possible, display a tall reed of grass and a soft piece of clothing. Explain that Jesus used these items to teach the people about John the Baptist’s character. Invite a student to read Luke 7:24–26 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Jesus taught about John the Baptist while referring to a reed and soft clothing.
How was John the Baptist different from a reed or blade of grass? (Unlike a reed, which is shaken or blown about by the wind, John the Baptist was firm and unshakable in his testimony and in performing his mission.)
Display the accompanying picture of John the Baptist and ask:
How was John the Baptist different from those who are “clothed in soft raiment” and live in luxury “in kings’ courts” (verse 25)? (John the Baptist lived in the desert and wore clothing made of camel’s hair, which was very coarse. Rather than seeking temporal comforts, John the Baptist only sought to do God’s will.)
What did Jesus say about John the Baptist in verse 26?
To help students understand John the Baptist’s unique role, explain that Jesus quoted a prophecy written hundreds of years before that spoke of a “messenger” who would “prepare the way before [the Messiah]” (Malachi 3:1). Invite a student to read Luke 7:27–28 aloud, and ask the class to follow along, looking for why John the Baptist was unique among prophets.
What unique and important role was John the Baptist foreordained to perform? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following truth: John the Baptist was the prophet foreordained to prepare the way for and baptize the Son of God.)
How did John the Baptist prepare the way for the coming of Jesus Christ?
Explain that the Prophet Joseph Smith said the following regarding Luke 7:28:
“Jesus was looked upon as having the least claim in God’s kingdom, and [seemingly] was least entitled to their credulity as a prophet; as though He had said—‘He that is considered the least among you is greater than John—that is I myself’” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 82).
Summarize Luke 7:29–35 by explaining that many believed Jesus’s teachings, but the Pharisees and lawyers who were present rejected His teachings. Jesus explained that they rejected the truth regardless of whether He or John the Baptist taught it.
Write the following question on the board: Can I be forgiven?
Invite students to consider times when they may have wondered if they could be forgiven. Invite them to look for truths that answer this question as they continue their study of Luke 7.
To help students understand the context and content of Luke 7:36–50, invite a student to read aloud the following summary and explanation:
A Pharisee named Simon invited Jesus to a feast in his home. At feasts of this kind, guests would recline on cushions around a low table and extend their feet away from the table. Social customs of the day allowed people in need to collect leftover food from the banquets. Thus, it was not unusual for uninvited people to enter the home during a feast (see James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. , 261).
How did Luke describe the woman portrayed in Luke 7:37?
How did the woman show her love for the Savior? (You may want to explain that an “alabaster box of ointment” was a bottle filled with costly perfumed oil.)
What did Simon think when he saw what the woman was doing?
To review the parable Jesus taught, ask a student to read Luke 7:40–43 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what Jesus taught Simon.
Copy the following chart on the board.
Debtor who owes 50 pence =
Debtor who owes 500 pence =
Explain that a creditor is someone who lends money; a person who borrows money is a debtor. The debtor agrees to pay back the creditor or go to jail. Ask a student to summarize the parable in his or her own words.
Whom does the creditor represent? (Write Jesus Christ on the board next to “Creditor.”)
Which of the debtors could represent the woman, and which could represent Simon the Pharisee? Why? (Write Simon the Pharisee next to “Debtor who owes 50 pence” and Woman next to “Debtor who owes 500 pence.”)
Explain that during Jesus’s time it was customary for the host to honor his distinguished guests by offering acts of kindness such as kissing them in greeting, providing water for them to wash their feet, and anointing their heads with oil (see James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 261).
Resume the video at time code 7:25 and stop it after Jesus says, “Go in peace” (Luke 7:50) (time code 8:52). Or, invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Luke 7:44–47. Ask the class to look for how Simon treated Jesus in comparison to how the woman treated Him and how they each might have felt about Jesus.
According to verses 44–47, what were some differences between how Simon treated Jesus and how the woman treated Him and how they each might have felt about Jesus? (Write students’ responses in the chart on the board.)
When students have finished reporting what they found, the chart should look similar to the following:
Creditor = Jesus Christ
Debtor who owes 50 pence = Simon the Pharisee
Did not give Jesus water to wash His feet
Did not give Him a kiss
Did not anoint Him with oil
Loved Him little
Debtor who owes 500 pence = Woman
Washed His feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair
Kissed His feet
Anointed His feet with ointment
Loved Him much
What blessing did the woman receive from the Savior?
Point out that by implicitly comparing Simon to the debtor who owes 50 pence, the Savior was suggesting that Simon also needed forgiveness for his sins.
Invite students to read Luke 7:47–50 silently, and ask them to look for what made it possible for this woman to receive forgiveness.
What principles can we learn from this account? (Using students’ words, write the following principles on the board: As we exercise our faith by showing our love for and devotion to the Lord, we can experience His forgiveness. As we receive the Lord’s forgiveness, we are filled with the desire to love and serve Him even more.)
Why might we desire to love and serve the Savior even more as we experience His forgiveness?
Invite three students to each read aloud a paragraph from the following statement by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“There are many degrees of personal worthiness and righteousness. Yet repentance is a blessing to all of us. We each need to feel the Savior’s arms of mercy through the forgiveness of our sins.
“Years ago, I was asked to meet with a man who, long before our visit, had had a period of riotous living. As a result of his bad choices, he lost his membership in the Church. He had long since returned to the Church and was faithfully keeping the commandments, but his previous actions haunted him. Meeting with him, I felt his shame and his deep remorse at having set his covenants aside. Following our interview, I placed my hands upon his head to give him a priesthood blessing. Before speaking a word, I felt an overpowering sense of the Savior’s love and forgiveness for him. Following the blessing, we embraced and the man wept openly.
“I am amazed at the Savior’s encircling arms of mercy and love for the repentant, no matter how selfish the forsaken sin. I testify that the Savior is able and eager to forgive our sins. Except for the sins of those few who choose perdition after having known a fulness, there is no sin that cannot be forgiven. What a marvelous privilege for each of us to turn away from our sins and to come unto Christ. Divine forgiveness is one of the sweetest fruits of the gospel, removing guilt and pain from our hearts and replacing them with joy and peace of conscience” (“Repent … That I May Heal You,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 40–41).
Invite students to think of a time when they experienced the Lord’s forgiveness. Ask them to ponder what they thought and how they felt about the Savior.
Refer to the question on the board. Ask students to explain how they would answer if someone asked them, “Can I be forgiven?”
Conclude the lesson by testifying that Jesus Christ has power to forgive us if we exercise faith in Him and repent of our sins.
To help students review the five scripture mastery passages they have studied so far during this course, you may want to give them a brief quiz. Provide the key words from the seminary bookmark, and ask students to write down the corresponding scripture references. See the appendix of this manual for more ideas.