Lesson 56: Luke 18–21

“Lesson 56: Luke 18–21,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)

“Lesson 56,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 56

Luke 18–21


As Jesus Christ traveled toward Jerusalem for the last time in mortality, He taught His gospel and performed miracles among the people. He rode in triumph into Jerusalem, cleansed the temple again, and taught the people there.

Suggestions for Teaching

Luke 18–21

The Savior teaches on His way to Jerusalem

Christ and the rich young ruler
Christ's Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem

Explain to students that they have already learned about many of the events recorded in Luke 18–21 from their study of Matthew and Mark. To review two of these events, display the following pictures: Christ and the Rich Young Ruler (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 48; see also and Triumphal Entry (Gospel Art Book, no. 50). Invite students to summarize these stories for the class and to explain what they remember learning from the accounts.

You may want to use the following summary of Luke 18–21 if students need help remembering these stories. (Note: To help students understand when the events of this lesson occurred in the Savior’s life, you may want to show students The Mortal Ministry of Jesus Christ at a Glance graphic in the appendix of this manual.)

As Jesus Christ traveled to Jerusalem for the last time in mortality, He taught a number of parables and healed many people. He invited the rich young ruler to give all to the poor and follow Him. He healed a blind man. Despite ridicule, He dined with one of the chief publicans in Jericho.

He arrived in Jerusalem and, amidst shouts of praise, rode a colt as He entered the city. He again expelled the moneychangers from the temple, taught the people there, and responded to questions from chief priests and scribes. He praised a widow who offered her two mites to the temple treasury. He also taught the disciples about His Second Coming.

Explain that most of the accounts students will study in this lesson are unique to the Gospel of Luke.

To prepare students to study these accounts, write the following questions on the board:

What actions might indicate that a person sincerely wants to come closer to the Lord?

What behaviors show he or she really wants to be forgiven or desires the Lord’s help?

Invite students to consider these questions as they study the following accounts from Luke’s writings.

Write the following scripture references on the board: Luke 18:1–8; Luke 18:9–14; Luke 18:35–43; Luke 19:1–10. Explain that these scripture passages include parables and events from the Savior’s last journey toward Jerusalem during His mortal life.

Assign each student one of the scripture references written on the board, or consider dividing the class into four groups and assigning each group one of the scripture references on the board. Invite each student or group to read the assigned scripture passage and prepare to act out the account or parable it contains. (If you do not divide students into groups, consider acting out each of the accounts as a class. If you choose not to act out these accounts, you could invite students to study the assigned scripture references individually by using the following questions and then teaching each other what they learned.) Explain that one student in the class or in each group should be the narrator and read the scriptural account as the rest of the class or group acts it out. Out of reverence and respect for the Savior, instruct those acting out Luke 18:35–43 and Luke 19:1–10 to do so without having someone represent Jesus Christ. Instruct the narrator to read the words of Jesus, and ask the actors to respond as though He were in the scene.

As the groups prepare, invite them to discuss the following questions together and be ready to report their answers to the class after they act out the scene. (Consider writing these questions on the board or providing them on a handout.)

  • What did the main character (widow, publican, blind man, or Zacchaeus) desire in this account?

  • What did the main character do that indicated his or her desire was sincere?

  • What happened because of the main character’s faithful actions?

  • What principles or doctrines can you identify in the story?

After sufficient time, invite the class or each group to act out their account as the narrator reads the verses. As the class watches or follows along in their scriptures, ask students to consider what each account can teach us about exercising faith in the Lord. After each performance, ask the class or group to report their answers to the preceding questions. Ask them to list on the board the principles or doctrines they identified.

After the groups have reported their answers to the questions, ask the following questions:

  • What similarities did you notice in the actions of each of the main characters? (They each showed persistence or sincerity as they sought to obtain their desires.)

  • What can these actions teach us about exercising faith in the Lord?

  • What similarities did you notice in what each of the main characters received as a result of his or her actions? (Each received help or mercy.)

Ask students to identify a principle from the similarities in the accounts. Students may identify a variety of principles, but be sure to emphasize that if we are sincere and persistent as we exercise faith in the Lord, we can obtain His mercy. Write this principle on the board.

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for what indicates a person is exercising faith in the Lord.

Bednar, David A.

“True faith is focused in and on the Lord Jesus Christ and always leads to righteous action” (“Ask in Faith,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 95).

Refer students to the questions written on the board at the beginning of the lesson. Ask students to turn to a partner and discuss answers to the questions.

  • What are some ways we can exercise faith in God today?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Bednar, and ask the class to listen for what it means to experience the mercies of the Lord:

Bednar, David A.

“The Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ” (“The Tender Mercies of the Lord,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2005, 99).

Invite students to respond to the following questions in their class notebooks or scripture study journals. (You may want to write the questions on the board.)

  • In what ways have you or someone you know exercised faith in Jesus Christ? What mercy did you or they experience as a result?

  • Consider in what ways you desire the Lord’s help or mercy in your life. What will you do to exercise your faith in the Lord in order to receive His mercy?

Invite a few students who feel comfortable sharing to report what they wrote. Remind them not to share anything too personal. You might also want to share your experience with the principle and testify of its truthfulness.

Commentary and Background Information

Luke 18:1–8. The parable of the importuning widow and the unjust judge

“Luke stated the main message of the parable of the importuning widow and unjust judge—‘men ought always to pray, and not to faint’ (Luke 18:1). The Greek word translated as ‘to faint’ means to become discouraged or weary or to tire of something. In the parable, praying without giving up is represented by a widow who repeatedly appeals to a judge to remedy an injustice. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

“‘When lonely, cold, hard times come, we have to endure, we have to continue, we have to persist. That was the Savior’s message in the parable of the importuning widow. … Keep knocking on that door. Keep pleading. In the meantime, know that God hears your cries and knows your distress. He is your Father, and you are His child’ (‘Lessons from Liberty Jail,’ Ensign, Sept. 2009, 30).

“Perseverance is rooted in the foundational gospel principles of faith and hope. Perseverance reflects our faith that our actions will bring the Lord’s blessings into our lives” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 177).

Luke 18:9–14. The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican

President Howard W. Hunter explained the difference between the prayer of the Pharisee and the prayer of the publican:

“Could there be greater contrast in the prayers of two men? The Pharisee stood apart because he believed he was better than other men, whom he considered as common. The publican stood apart also, but it was because he felt himself unworthy. The Pharisee thought of no one other than himself and regarded everyone else a sinner, whereas the publican thought of everyone else as righteous as compared with himself, a sinner. The Pharisee asked nothing of God, but relied upon his own self-righteousness. The publican appealed to God for mercy and forgiveness of his sins.

“… The publican, the despised tax collector, ‘went down to his house justified, rather than the other.’ (Luke 18:14.) In other words, the Lord said he was absolved, forgiven, or vindicated. …

“Humility is an attribute of godliness possessed by true Saints. It is easy to understand why a proud man fails. He is content to rely upon himself only. … The proud man shuts himself off from God, and when he does he no longer lives in the light. …

“… History bears record that those who have exalted themselves have been abased, but the humble have been exalted. On every busy street there are Pharisees and publicans. It may be that one of them bears our name” (“The Pharisee and the Publican,” Ensign, May 1984, 65–66).

Luke 18:35–43. Healing the blind man

The faith and persistence of the blind man named Bartimaeus can be seen in how he cried out to Jesus Christ for mercy—he continued to cry out even after many people ordered him to be quiet (see Mark 10:47–48).

Luke 18:1–8, 35–43. Persevering in faith

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared an example of the importance of persevering through trials of our faith:

“A few years ago a family traveled to Europe from the United States. Shortly after arriving at their destination, a 13-year-old son became quite ill. The mother and father initially thought his upset stomach was caused by fatigue from the long flight, and the family routinely continued on its journey.

“As the day continued, the son’s condition became worse. Dehydration was increasing. The father gave his son a priesthood blessing, but no improvement was immediately evident.

“Several hours passed by, and the mother knelt by her son’s side, pleading in prayer to Heavenly Father for the boy’s well-being. They were far from home in an unfamiliar country and did not know how to obtain medical assistance.

“The mother asked her son if he would like to pray with her. She knew that merely waiting for the anticipated blessing would not be enough; they needed to continue to act. Explaining that the blessing he had received was still in effect, she suggested again petitioning in prayer, as did the ancient Apostles, ‘Lord, Increase our faith’ (Luke 17:5). The prayer included a profession of trust in priesthood power and a commitment to persevere in doing whatever might be required for the blessing to be honored—if that blessing at that time was in accordance with God’s will. Shortly after they offered this simple prayer, the son’s condition improved.

“The faithful action of the mother and her son helped to invite the promised priesthood power. … The healing of this 13-year-old boy did not occur until after their faith and was accomplished ‘according to their faith in their prayers’ (D&C 10:47)” (“Ask in Faith,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 96).

Luke 19:1–10. Zacchaeus, chief among the publicans

For more information about Zacchaeus, refer to the New Testament Student Manual ([Church Educational System manual, 2014], 177).