“Unit 11, Day 2: Luke 13–15,” New Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2016)
“Unit 11, Day 2,” New Testament Study Guide
Jesus taught about repentance and the kingdom of God, and He healed on the Sabbath. He also used parables to teach about humility and the cost of discipleship. The Pharisees and scribes complained about the Savior’s association with publicans and sinners. The Savior responded by giving the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son.
Imagine you are sitting at lunch with some friends, and they notice a poorly dressed student sitting alone. One person in your group makes a rude comment about the student’s appearance, and many of your friends laugh.
What are some ways you could react in this situation?
As you study Luke 13–14, look for what the Savior taught about interacting with people who are less fortunate than us.
In Luke 13 we read that the Savior related a parable about a fig tree that would be cut down if it failed to produce fruit. This parable was directed to the Jews who should have brought forth good fruit, and it teaches that we will perish if we do not repent. Jesus healed a woman on the Sabbath. He likened the kingdom of God to a mustard seed that grew into a great tree, and He taught about those who will enter His kingdom. He also mourned over the impending destruction of Jerusalem.
In Luke 14:1–6 we read that the Savior was invited to dine at the house of one of the chief Pharisees on the Sabbath. Before the meal, the Savior healed a man who suffered from dropsy—a disease that caused the man’s body to be swollen with fluid.
What can we learn from the Savior’s example about honoring the Sabbath day and keeping it holy? One lesson is that Jesus modeled righteous behavior on the Sabbath day by ministering to people’s needs. This is in contrast to some Pharisees who justified helping animals but not people on the Sabbath day. Consider your actions on the Sabbath day. What can you do on the Sabbath day to be more like Jesus?
Luke 14:7–10 contains a parable the Savior used to teach a gospel truth about the relationship between humility and exaltation. The “chief rooms” (Luke 14:6) were places of honor. Jesus noticed how some of those invited to the feast would seek after places of honor for themselves by sitting close to the host.
Read Luke 14:11, looking for what the Savior taught about humility. The word abased means to be brought to a lower position.
Read Luke 14:12–14, looking for what the Savior taught the Pharisee who had invited Him to dine. Why might people, like this Pharisee, invite their friends and rich or important neighbors to dinner?
In the Savior’s day, those who were maimed (injured), lame, or blind often struggled to provide for themselves and were poor as a result of their disabilities. Some of the Pharisees looked down on these people. What are some reasons why people today might look down on others?
The following is one principle we can learn from these verses: If we try to help people who are less fortunate than us, the Lord will reward us.
In addition to rewarding us at the Resurrection, the Lord will also bless us in this life when we try to help people who are less fortunate than us (see Matthew 6:4).
- Complete one or both of the following activities in your scripture study journal:
Write about a time when you or someone you know was blessed by trying to help someone who was less fortunate. (“Less fortunate” can refer to situations other than lacking material things; for example, it could refer to someone who is lonely or who might not have friends.)
Ponder ways in which you can help those who are less fortunate than you, and write a goal to serve them.
What are some things we might be asked to sacrifice or give up as disciples of Jesus Christ?
What are some excuses someone might be tempted to use to avoid making these sacrifices?
After the Savior counseled the Pharisee to invite the less fortunate to meals, someone in the room said to Him, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God” (Luke 14:15). In response to this statement, the Savior gave the parable of the great supper.
Read Luke 14:16–24, looking for the invitation that the people in the parable received, as well as the excuses made by those who rejected the invitation.
Jesus was speaking to the Jews who were behaving like those people in the parable who were first invited to the feast. How is the gospel of Jesus Christ like a great feast? What excuses were given by the people who did not accept the invitation to the great supper? What do these excuses reveal about these people’s priorities?
One principle we learn from this parable is that if we place other priorities above the Lord and His gospel, we will lose blessings that we could have received.
Look at the list you wrote of things you might be asked to sacrifice or give up as a disciple of Jesus Christ. What blessings could you lose if you are not willing to make these sacrifices? Have you ever thought you were sacrificing something but later realized that the blessings you received were greater than what you thought you sacrificed?
After teaching this parable, the Savior spoke to a multitude about what He requires of His disciples. Read Luke 14:25–27, looking for what the Savior said His disciples must be willing to do.
“In the context of Luke 14:26, the Greek word translated as ‘hate’ means to ‘love less’ or ‘esteem less.’ The Savior was not revoking the commandment to ‘honour thy father and thy mother’ (Exodus 20:12); He was teaching about priorities. For a disciple, devotion to family must come after devotion to Jesus Christ” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 165; see also Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26, footnote b).
The word cross in Luke 14:27 refers to the Crucifixion and represents a willingness to sacrifice. The Joseph Smith Translation helps us understand that to “bear [one’s] cross” (Luke 14:27) means “to deny [oneself] all ungodliness, and every worldly lust, and keep [the Lord’s] commandments” (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 16:26 [in the Bible appendix]).
These verses teach us that disciples of Jesus Christ must be willing to sacrifice everything to follow Him. You may want to write this truth in the margin of your scriptures next to Luke 14:25–27.
After teaching about what His disciples must be willing to do, Jesus said, “Wherefore, settle this in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach, and command you” (Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 14:28 [in Luke 14:27, footnote b]). The word settle here means to resolve or firmly decide. One principle that we can learn from this verse is that as we settle in our hearts to do what Jesus Christ teaches and commands us, we become His disciples.
Ponder how we can reach a point in our discipleship where we are truly settled in our hearts to do what Jesus Christ teaches and commands us to do.
The Savior wanted His followers to thoughtfully consider whether they were willing to sacrifice whatever might be required of them so they could continue as His disciples to the end (see also Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 14:31 [in Luke 14:30, footnote a]). Consider marking Luke 14:33, which provides a simple summary of the Savior’s teachings in this chapter.
- Think about what it will cost, or require, for you to be a true disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. Consider the blessings of living the gospel and the reward of eternal life. What decisions could you make now that would help you place the Lord above all other priorities in your life? Answer this question in your scripture study journal, and include a few goals that can help you become a better disciple of Jesus Christ.
Think of a time you found something important that you had lost. How did you feel?
Think of a person you know who may be spiritually “lost.” This might be someone who has not yet received the restored gospel of Jesus Christ or is not currently living according to the teachings of the gospel.
As you study Luke 15, look for truths concerning how Heavenly Father feels about those who are spiritually lost and the responsibility we have toward them.
Read Luke 15:1–2, looking for what the Pharisees were complaining about.
In response to the Pharisees and scribes’ complaint, the Savior gave three parables: one about a sheep, one about a coin, and one about a son. These parables were meant to give hope to the sinners as well as to chastise and condemn the hypocrisy and self-righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. As you study these parables, pay attention to why the subject of each parable became lost and how it was found.
Read each parable, looking for answers to the questions in the left column of the following chart. Write your answers in the spaces provided.
Parables of the Lost Sheep, Coin, and Son
What was lost?
Why was it lost?
How was it found?
What words or phrases describe the reaction to it being found?
Notice that the sheep became lost through following its normal course of life, the coin was lost because of the negligence or carelessness of its owner, and the prodigal (wasteful or reckless) son was lost because of his own rebelliousness.
What do you think our responsibility is toward those who are lost, regardless of how they became lost?
Notice the phrases that describe the reactions when the animal, object, and person are found. Remember that one purpose of these parables was to chastise the self-righteous Pharisees and scribes who were murmuring about the publicans and sinners Jesus was talking to. When Jesus said there would be more joy in heaven “over one sinner that repenteth … than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke 15:7), He was teaching that there is more joy in heaven over a repentant sinner than over ninety-nine self-righteous Pharisees and scribes who in their pride think that they do not need repentance.
Based on the responses of those who found what was lost, how would you complete the following statement: When we help others feel a desire to repent, we feel .
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What kinds of things can you do to help a person who is spiritually lost to have a desire to repent or draw closer to Heavenly Father?
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Luke 13–15 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: