Lesson 55: Luke 17

“Lesson 55: Luke 17,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)

“Lesson 55,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 55

Luke 17


Jesus taught His disciples about the need to forgive others. Afterward, the Apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith. In response, the Savior taught them the parable of the unprofitable servant. Later, Jesus healed ten lepers, but only one returned to give Him thanks. The Savior was confronted by Pharisees, and He taught about the coming forth of the kingdom of God.

Suggestions for Teaching

Luke 17:1–10

The Apostles ask Jesus to increase their faith

Invite students to think of specific situations that may require them to exercise faith (such as seeking a priesthood blessing, paying tithing, or giving a talk or lesson at church). Invite a few students to report what they thought of, and list their responses on the board.

Ask students to silently ponder the following questions:

  • Have you ever wanted to have greater faith? If so, what experiences have made you feel this way?

Invite students to look for principles as they study Luke 17 that can help them increase their faith.

Summarize Luke 17:1–2 by explaining that the Savior warned that those who lead others astray or persuade them to sin will be held accountable.

Invite students to read Luke 17:3–4 silently, looking for a commandment the Savior gave His disciples that might require faith.

  • According to verse 3, what did Jesus command His disciples to do if someone wronged them?

  • According to verse 4, how often were the disciples to forgive? (Consider explaining that the Savior’s answer is a way of saying we should forgive no matter how many times we are wronged by someone who has repented.)

  • Why might it be difficult to forgive someone who has repeatedly wronged you?

Invite a student to read Luke 17:5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Apostles desired from the Savior after He told the disciples to forgive those who offend them.

  • What did the Apostles desire from the Savior? (You may want to invite students to mark the phrase “increase our faith” in their scriptures.)

  • How might seeking greater faith in the Lord help the Apostles obey the commandment to forgive others?

Summarize Luke 17:6 by explaining that the Savior then taught His Apostles that faith the size of a tiny mustard seed can produce miracles. To help the Apostles know how to increase their faith, Jesus then gave a parable describing the relationship of a master and a servant.

Write the following incomplete statement on the board: Our faith will increase as we …

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Luke 17:7–10. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what a master expected of his servant.

  • What did the master expect of his servant?

Explain that in biblical times a master provided all the necessities of life to his servant as the servant faithfully fulfilled his expected duties. Because of this, there was no need for the master to give special thanks to his servant or to feel indebted to him for performing his duties.

  • How is our Heavenly Father like the master in this parable? What does He expect of us? (To do “all those things which are commanded” us [verse 10].)

Add to the statement on the board so it reads: Our faith will increase as we strive to do all that Heavenly Father commands.

To help students see what else can increase their faith, ask:

  • According to verse 10, what should servants say after keeping their master’s commandments?

  • What does it mean to be “unprofitable servants”? (It means that no matter how well people keep the commandments, they are always indebted to God.)

  • Why are we always indebted to Heavenly Father, even when we are obedient and living righteously? (Because Heavenly Father always blesses us, we can never repay Him [see Mosiah 2:20–26].)

Complete the statement on the board so that it conveys the following principle: Our faith will increase as we strive to do all that Heavenly Father commands and as we remember that we are always indebted to Him. You may want to encourage students to write this principle in their scriptures.

  • How does striving to do all that Heavenly Father commands increase our faith?

Invite students to ponder a time when they kept the commandments or obediently performed their duty and felt an increase in faith as a result. Invite them to record their thoughts in their class notebooks or scripture study journals.

After sufficient time, invite students to share with another student what they wrote. Invite a few students to share their thoughts with the class.

Luke 17:11–19

Jesus cleanses ten lepers

Write the following incomplete statement on the board: During Biblical times, it would have been a great challenge to suffer from leprosy because 

Help students review what they know about leprosy by asking them to tell the class how they would complete the statement. For example, students may mention that leprosy could lead to disfiguration and death; that lepers were separated from the rest of society to protect the health of others; and that they were required to call out “Unclean!” to warn anyone approaching them (see Bible Dictionary, “Leper”).

Invite a student to read Luke 17:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to look for whom Jesus encountered as He stopped at a village while traveling toward Jerusalem. Invite students to report what they find.

  • If you were one of those lepers, what feelings might you have had when you saw Jesus?

Ask a student to read Luke 17:13–14 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for what the lepers said to the Savior and what His response to them was.

  • What did the lepers ask of Jesus?

  • What did Jesus instruct them to do?

Explain that the law of Moses prescribed that lepers show themselves to the priests after they had recovered in order to be admitted back into society (see Leviticus 14).

  • What happened as the lepers went?

  • What principle can we learn from verse 14 concerning what we must do to receive the Lord’s blessings? (Students should identify a truth similar to the following: We receive the Lord’s blessings as we do what He has instructed us to do.)

Ask students to consider what it would have been like to be one of the lepers who were cleansed.

  • What do you think you would have done once you realized you had been cleansed of leprosy?

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Luke 17:15–19. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how one of the lepers reacted differently than the others.

  • What did the Samaritan leper do that indicated his gratitude toward the Savior?

  • Why might Luke have mentioned that the grateful leper was a Samaritan—someone whom most Jews would have looked down upon? What does this detail add to our understanding of this account?

  • What truth can we learn from the leper who returned to give thanks to the Lord? (Students should identify a truth similar to the following: It is important to express gratitude for the blessings we receive.)

  • Why is it important to express our gratitude to God for the blessings we receive?

  • How might we sometimes be like the nine lepers?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson:

Monson, Thomas S.

“My brothers and sisters, do we remember to give thanks for the blessings we receive? Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven and helps us feel God’s love” (“The Divine Gift of Gratitude,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 87).

  • According to verse 19, what did the Savior say had happened to this leper because of his actions? (He was made whole.)

  • In what ways might giving thanks to the Lord for our blessings help us to be made whole?

Invite students to record in their scripture study journal specific blessings from Heavenly Father that they are grateful for. Invite them to write how they can live in gratitude for these blessings.

Luke 17:20–37

Jesus teaches concerning the coming of the kingdom of God

Summarize Luke 17:20–37 by explaining that Jesus taught about His Second Coming. (Note: Similar teachings were treated in the lesson material for Matthew 24 and Joseph Smith—Matthew.)

You may want to conclude by sharing your testimony of the truths identified in this lesson. Invite students to apply these truths in their lives.

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Scripture Mastery Review

This activity can be used to help students memorize a scripture mastery passage.

Divide the class into groups of four or five. Give each group a six-sided die and a pencil. (If dice are not available, you could place six small pieces of paper numbered 1 to 6 in an envelope or other container.) Each student will also need a blank piece of paper. Ask each group of students to sit closely around a table or in a circle. Invite them to open their scriptures to the scripture mastery passage you would like them to memorize. Explain that the object of the activity is to be the first person in the group to write out the passage in its entirety. However, students must use the one pencil given to each group. A person qualifies to use the pencil by rolling a 1 on the die (or selecting the piece of paper numbered 1). Invite the members of each group to take turns rolling the die (or taking a piece of paper and then returning it). When a student rolls a 1, that person takes the pencil and begins writing the words of the verse on his or her paper, saying each word aloud. Meanwhile, the others in the group take turns rolling the die. When another student in the group rolls a 1, that person takes the pencil from the previous writer and begins writing the verse on his or her paper while saying the words. The previous writer joins the rest of the group in rolling the die. When students qualify for the pencil and have already written a portion of the verse, they must read that portion aloud before writing more of the verse. (This provides the repetition that will help students to memorize the verse.) The activity concludes when a student from each group has written the scripture mastery passage in its entirety.

Ask the class to repeat the verse in unison after the activity.

Commentary and Background Information

Luke 17:15–16. “And one of them … fell down … giving him thanks”

President Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of the importance of gratitude:

“The habit of saying thank you is the mark of an educated man or woman. …

“… Let a spirit of thanksgiving guide and bless your days and nights. Work at it. You will find it will yield wonderful results” (“A Prophet’s Counsel and Prayer for Youth,” Ensign, Jan. 2001, 4, or Liahona, Apr. 2001, 32).

President David O. McKay taught how we should express gratitude:

“Gratitude is deeper than thanks. Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts” (“The Meaning of Thanksgiving,” Improvement Era, Nov. 1964, 914).

Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 17:21. “The kingdom of God has already come unto you”

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught the following about the “kingdom of God”:

“Some say the kingdom of God was not set up on the earth until the day of Pentecost, and that John [the Baptist] did not preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; but I say, in the name of the Lord, that the kingdom of God was set up on the earth from the days of Adam to the present time. Whenever there has been a righteous man on earth unto whom God revealed His word and gave power and authority to administer in His name, … there is the kingdom of God” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 82).