Lesson 51: Luke 10:38–Luke 12:59

“Lesson 51: Luke 10:38–Luke 12:59,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)

“Lesson 51,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 51

Luke 10:38–Luke 12:59


The Savior taught Mary and Martha in Martha’s home. Later, He taught many truths to His disciples about prayer and warned against hypocrisy and covetousness.

Suggestions for Teaching

Luke 10:38–42

Jesus teaches Mary and Martha

Ask students to think about the choices they made yesterday. Invite them to take one minute to list as many of those choices as they can in their class notebooks or scripture study journals. Ask several students to report some of their good choices to the class.

  • What are some situations in which we might have to decide between two good choices?

As students study Luke 10:38–42, invite them to look for a principle the Savior taught that can guide us in our decisions—particularly when more than one good choice is available to us.

Explain that after teaching the parable of the good Samaritan, the Savior traveled to Bethany and visited the home of a woman named Martha.

Invite a student to read Luke 10:38–40 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Martha and her sister, Mary, each chose to do while the Savior was in the home.

  • What did Mary do while the Savior was in the home?

  • What did Martha do? (Point out that the word cumbered in verse 40 refers to being burdened.)

Christ in the Home of Mary and Martha

Display the picture Mary and Martha (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 45; see also Explain that hospitality was very important in Jesus’s day. Martha was trying to do what would normally have been expected of her as the hostess. She was focused on temporal concerns such as preparing and serving the meal.

  • According to verse 40, what did Martha ask the Savior that indicates she was worried about temporal matters?

Invite a student to read Luke 10:41–42 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Savior’s response to Martha.

  • What might the Savior have meant when He said, “One thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part”?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Oaks, Dallin H.

“It was praiseworthy for Martha to be ‘careful and troubled about many things’ (v. 41), but learning the gospel from the Master Teacher was more ‘needful’” (“Good, Better, Best,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2007, 104).

  • What might the Savior have meant when He said the “good part” that Mary had chosen would “not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42)? (By choosing to listen to the Savior rather than focus on temporal concerns, Mary would receive spiritual blessings, which are everlasting.)

  • What principle can we learn from the Savior’s words to Martha? (Students may state it differently, but they should identify the following principle: If we choose to devote ourselves to spiritual matters over temporal concerns, then we will receive lasting blessings.)

  • How can we devote ourselves to spiritual matters and still take care of other things that are “needful” (Luke 10:42) but less important?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Oaks:

Oaks, Dallin H.

“As we consider various choices, we should remember that it is not enough that something is good. Other choices are better, and still others are best. …

“Consider how we use our time in the choices we make in viewing television, playing video games, surfing the Internet, or reading books or magazines. Of course it is good to view wholesome entertainment or to obtain interesting information. But not everything of that sort is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best” (“Good, Better, Best,” 104–5).

Ask students to review the list of the choices they made yesterday and to label each positive choice as “good,” “better,” or “best.” Invite one or two students to testify of how they have been blessed for putting spiritual matters ahead of temporal concerns.

Luke 11

Jesus teaches His disciples about prayer

Invite students to imagine they are full-time missionaries teaching an investigator who has tried praying several times and feels that God has not responded. The investigator is thinking of giving up on prayer.

  • Based on your own experiences, how might you respond to this concern?

As students study Luke 11, invite them to look for truths that could help someone who feels God has not answered his or her prayers.

Summarize Luke 11:1–4 by explaining that after listening to the Savior pray, one of His disciples asked if He would teach them how to pray, and the Savior did so.

Explain that after the Lord taught His disciples how to pray, He used analogies to teach additional truths about prayer, including God’s willingness to answer prayers.

Invite students to study Luke 11:5–13 in pairs, looking for what the Lord taught about prayer. Point out the Joseph Smith Translation additions to verses 5 and 13. These additions are found in Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 11:5–6 (in Luke 11:5, footnote a) and Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 11:14 (in Luke 11:13, footnote a). After sufficient time, ask the class:

  • In the parable you read in verses 5–8, what did one friend ask of another? Why?

  • Why do you think the second friend honored the request of the first? (You may want to explain that the word importunity in verse 8 refers to the man’s persistence in asking even when his friend initially refused his request.)

  • If the man in need represents us, and his friend with the bread represents our Father in Heaven, what did the Savior suggest we must do in times of need?

Write the following incomplete statement on the board: If we persistently pray and seek Heavenly Father’s blessings in times of need …

  • According to verse 13, what does Heavenly Father give to those who persistently pray and seek His blessings?

  • Based on the Savior’s teachings in Luke 11:5–13, how would you complete the statement on the board? (After students respond, complete the statement on the board so that it conveys the following truth: If we persistently pray and seek Heavenly Father’s blessings in times of need, then He will answer our prayers in ways that bless us most.)

Consider inviting students to share examples of when they have received answers to their prayers as they have persistently sought Heavenly Father’s blessings.

Summarize Luke 11:14–54 by explaining that Jesus cast a devil out of a man, counseled the people to hear the word of God, and chastised the Pharisees and scribes for their spiritual ignorance and wickedness.

Luke 12

The Savior warns against hypocrisy and covetousness

Read the following questions to the class, and invite students to silently ponder their responses:

  • Have you ever wanted something so badly that you thought about it all the time?

  • What negative effects can this type of thinking have on us?

Summarize Luke 12:1–13 by explaining that as the Savior stood in front of a great multitude, He taught His disciples to beware of hypocrisy. He also reminded them that all hidden things would one day be revealed and that God knows and watches over His children. A man then asked the Savior if He would speak to the man’s brother and persuade the brother to divide an inheritance with him.

Invite a student to read Luke 12:14–15 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Savior’s response to the man’s request.

  • What warning did the Savior give to the people who were with Him?

Explain that covetousness means to excessively desire something. Write on the board the following truth: The Lord commands us not to covet worldly possessions.

  • Why should a person avoid covetousness? How can this truth help us to live happier lives?

Explain that after the Savior told His disciples to avoid covetousness, He gave a parable to illustrate the importance of this commandment. Invite students to read Luke 12:16–19 silently, looking for the number of times the man in the parable uses the words I and my. Ask students to report what they find.

  • What does the man’s frequent use of I and my teach us about his concerns?

  • In what ways might we be tempted to be like this man?

Invite a student to read Luke 12:20–21 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what God said about the man’s greed and covetousness. Ask students to report what they find.

Write on the board the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. (This statement is found in “What Matters Most Is What Lasts Longest,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 44):

“What matters most is what lasts longest” (Elder M. Russell Ballard).

  • In what ways did the rich man in the parable fail to focus on “what matters most”?

  • Why might this man’s actions be considered foolish?

Summarize Luke 12:22–30 by explaining that the Lord emphasized that His disciples did not need to be overly concerned about their temporal needs.

Invite a student to read Luke 12:31–34 aloud. Invite him or her to also read Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 12:34 (in Luke 12:31, footnote a). Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior counseled His disciples to seek rather than focusing on their own selfish desires.

  • What did Jesus counsel His disciples to seek?

  • What were they promised if they sought to bring forth the kingdom of God?

  • How would you summarize the Savior’s teachings in Luke 12:31–34 as a principle? (Students may use their own words, but they should identify the following principle: If we seek to bring forth God’s kingdom and His righteousness, He will help provide for our needs and prepare a place for us in His kingdom.)

  • In what ways can we seek to bring forth God’s kingdom? (As students respond, you may want to refer to the principle they identified earlier about devoting ourselves to spiritual matters over temporal concerns.)

Testify of how you have been blessed as you have sought to prioritize spiritual matters over temporal concerns and to bring forth God’s kingdom. Encourage students to ponder whether they are focused more on spiritual matters or on temporal concerns. Invite them to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals what they will do to prioritize spiritual matters over temporal concerns and to bring forth God’s kingdom.

Summarize Luke 12:35–59 by explaining that the Savior taught His followers to prepare for His Second Coming. He helped them understand that where “much is given, … much [is] required” (verse 48), and He explained that His gospel would cause great divisions among people.

Commentary and Background Information

Luke 10:38–42. “Mary hath chosen that good part”

“Hospitality was very important in Jewish society, and a woman’s honor and reputation depended partly on how well she fulfilled cultural expectations regarding the role of hostess. Because of these social customs, Martha’s complaint that her sister, Mary, had left her to serve alone (see Luke 10:40) would have been seen as justified by many people of the time. But the Savior responded to Martha by commending her sister’s choice: ‘Mary hath chosen that good part’ (Luke 10:42). One of the things the Savior’s response clarified is that there are higher priorities than social customs, even if they are good customs” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 160).

When Martha complained, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone” (Luke 10:40), she allowed herself to inaccurately view the Lord as uncaring. If we allow our priorities to become twisted, we may begin to have thoughts or feelings toward the Lord that are spiritually unhealthy. Jesus’s gentle rebuke was designed to help Martha reconsider her priorities and seek the blessings He lovingly desired her to receive.

Luke 10:42. Choosing the better part

Sister Bonnie D. Parkin, former Relief Society general president, referred to the account of Martha and Mary to teach the importance of choosing the better part:

“The Savior’s response strikingly clarified what mattered most. On that evening in Martha’s home, the good part was not in the kitchen; it was at the Lord’s feet. Dinner could wait. …

“… We all are trying to choose the good part which cannot be taken from us, to balance the spiritual and the temporal in our lives. Wouldn’t it be easy if we were choosing between visiting teaching or robbing a bank? Instead, our choices are often more subtle. We must choose between many worthy options. …

“… One thing is needful, to follow Him each day. Choose ye therefore Christ the Lord. Choose to feast upon His word. Choose to trust in Him above. Choose to wait upon His love. Choose to give Him all your heart. Choose ye therefore that good part” (“Choosing Charity: That Good Part,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2003, 104, 106).

Luke 11:5–10. The parable of the friend at midnight

Elder James E. Talmage of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles noted the differences between the friend in this parable and our Heavenly Father:

“The Lord’s lesson was, that if man, with all his selfishness and disinclination to give, will nevertheless grant what his neighbor with proper purpose asks and continues to ask in spite of objection and temporary refusal, with assured certainty will God grant what is persistently asked in faith and with righteous intent. No parallelism lies between man’s selfish refusal and God’s wise and beneficent waiting. There must be a consciousness of real need for prayer, and real trust in God, to make prayer effective; and in mercy the Father sometimes delays the granting that the asking may be more fervent” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 435).