Luke 7–9testifies of the Savior’s love and compassion. He tenderly and mercifully healed the sick, raised children from the dead, forgave repentant sinners, calmed storms, cast out devils, fed thousands of hungry souls with food and with the words of salvation, and tutored and prepared His Apostles. These events led Luke to record that the people “were all amazed at the mighty power of God” (Luke 9:43). The words of the hymn “I Stand All Amazed” seem appropriate when considering these miracles:
As you read these chapters look for how these miracles help you better understand and appreciate the Savior’s love.
Prayerfully study Luke 7–9and consider the following principles before preparing your lessons.
Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For
Jesus Christ has power to heal the sick, raise the dead, control the elements, and forgive sinners (see Luke 7:1–18, 36–50; 8:22–36, 41–56; 9:37–42). He can confer His priesthood power upon others (see Luke 9:1–2).
Our testimonies grow as we nourish them through faith, sacrifice, patience, obedience, and resisting temptation (see Luke 8:4–18).
The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 75–76, 192.
Suggestions for Teaching
Choose from the following ideas, or use some of your own, as you prepare lessons for Luke 7–9.
Luke 7:1–17(see also Matthew 8:5–13). Through faith, compassion, and service we can help others come to Christ.
Briefly review with students the Book of Mormon account of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies (see Alma 23–25). Tell students these were people of great faith who were brought to Jesus Christ by a group of missionaries who loved and served them. Invite students to read Alma 27:4, and ask: According to this verse, what phrase describes how the Anti-Nephi-Lehies treated Ammon and his missionary companions? Have students read Alma 26:11–14, 26–29looking for what these missionaries did to earn the description of “angels sent from God.”
Write the words faith, compassion, and service on the board. Ask: Do you believe these missionaries possessed these three attributes? Why? Ask students to tell of someone who has been a powerful influence in their lives whom they might think of as an “angel.”
How has this person changed your life or someone else’s life?
How did this person show faith, compassion, or service?
In what way did that play a part in this person’s influence on you?
Invite students to read Luke 7:1–17 and look for other people who were brought unto Jesus Christ. Ask:
What miracles occurred in the lives of the centurion’s servant and the widow’s son?
What evidences of faith, compassion, and service do you see in these accounts?
What feelings did you have toward the Savior as you read these stories?
Testify of the Savior’s love and that only through His power and their faith could these miracles have occurred.
What miracles occurred in the lives of the centurion and the widow?
How were these miracles different from those of the servant or the son?
If you were the centurion or the widow, how would these miracles have affected your life?
Consider reading to the class the following statements on compassion, service, and faith or giving them as a handout:
Compassion and Service
Compassion is a “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th ed. , “compassion,” 234). Compassion motivates us to give service to the poor and needy. When we follow Jesus’ example and serve those who suffer, they receive relief and blessings. But those who serve also receive blessings of joy, happiness, fulfillment, and even forgiveness (see Mosiah 4:26). If we are to be like Jesus, the service we give others must be motivated by the pure love of Christ. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve taught:
“Even the most extreme acts of service—such as giving all of our goods to feed the poor—profit us nothing unless our service is motivated by the pure love of Christ” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1984, 16; or Ensign, Nov. 1984, 14).
Elder Thomas S. Monson taught:
“In the New Testament of our Lord, perhaps we have no more moving account of ‘mother blessed’ than the tender regard of the Master for the grieving widow at Nain. …
“What power, what tenderness, what compassion did our Master and exemplar thus demonstrate. We, too, can bless if we will but follow his noble example. Opportunities are everywhere. Needed are eyes to see the pitiable plight, ears to hear the silent pleadings of a broken heart. Yes, and a soul filled with compassion that we might communicate not only eye to eye or voice to ear, but in the majestic style of the Savior, even heart to heart” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1973, 29; or Ensign, Jan. 1974, 31).
Faith is a principle of power. Jesus Christ can do all things for those who exercise faith in Him. Elder John K. Carmack, a member of the Seventy, explained:
“Although faith often includes positive thinking, it is much, much more than that. Faith taps into divine sources and is a manifestation of unity and partnership with the Lord. Even the ideas and words formulated by faith come by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and the power to accomplish the words formed by faith comes from God. …
“… Faith is not an exclusive tool of the priesthood. The Roman centurion held no priesthood, but through faith he asked the Lord to heal his servant. He added that he was not worthy to have Jesus come to his home, although he was a man whose authority others obeyed. He said, ‘But speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed’ (Matthew 8:8). Jesus marveled at his faith. ‘I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel’ (8:10). …
“… We can learn much about faith … from our friends of other faiths such as the Roman centurion, and especially from our children. No matter how we learn to use the power of faith, we need to have it to accomplish the awesome tasks assigned to us” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1993, 55–56; or Ensign, May 1993, 42–43).
Invite students to give examples of people they know today who, like the centurion’s servant and widow’s son, need miracles in their lives. Ask:
What blessings are available through faith and the power of the priesthood to those whose spirits are in need of healing?
What are some ways we can help alleviate the suffering of others?
Encourage students to become “angels” in others’ lives by helping them come to Christ. Ask them to look carefully for those who are in need and then to render service and compassion and exercise faith in their behalf. Encourage the students to write their “angel experiences” in their journals, and invite them, if they choose, to share them with the class as they happen during the remainder of the year.
Luke 7:1–10; 8:26–56(see also Matthew 8:5–13, 28–34; 9:18–26; Mark 5). We should come unto Christ and help others do so also.
Write the following proverb on the board: Failing to plan is like planning to fail. Ask students:
Do you think this statement is true? Why or why not?
How can writing plans or goals help us accomplish things in our lives?
Ask students to write one sentence that describes their mission or goal in life, and invite them to share what they wrote. Read the following mission statement of the Church, and ask students to consider how well their mission matches the Church’s:
“Yes, brothers and sisters, the mission of the Church is glorious—to invite all of us to come unto Christ through proclaiming the gospel, perfecting our lives, and redeeming our dead. As we come unto Christ, we bless our own lives, those of our families, and our Father in Heaven’s children, both living and dead” (Ezra Taft Benson, in Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 98; italics added; or Ensign, May 1988, 85).
What blessings are given to those who come unto Christ? (see Moroni 10:30–34).
How might you help your family come unto the Savior?
How might you help your friends come unto Christ?
What helped each person in these verses come to the Savior?
What evidence is there that the people in these verses had great faith in the Savior?
What blessings do those who came unto Christ receive?
What most impressed you about each story?
When they are through, discuss the questions and the students’ feelings about these miracles of the Savior. Remind students that though trials often cause us to turn to the Lord, it is great faith that brings about Christ’s miracles. Testify that Christ’s power to heal and bless is available to us today.
Conclude by contrasting these stories with the account of the legion of devils. Explain that while Jesus would have us come unto Him, Satan seeks to destroy us or take us away from Jesus. Have students read Luke 8:26–40.
How was this man’s life different after the Savior came and cast out the devils?
How could you apply this story to your life?
Read the following quote from President Ezra Taft Benson:
“We must put God in the forefront of everything else in our lives. He must come first. …
”When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives. Our love of the Lord will govern the claims for our affection, the demands on our time, the interests we pursue, and the order of our priorities” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1988, 3; or Ensign, May 1988, 4).
Ask: How will we be blessed if we follow President Benson’s counsel?
Luke 7:17–35(see also Matthew 11:2–19). John the Baptist was a great prophet and the forerunner for Jesus Christ. He stressed that people should worship the Savior, not him.
Tell the students: Imagine you are at the funeral of the recently deceased prophet and President of the Church. During the service a nonmember acquaintance whispers to you, “Isn’t it tragic that the leader of your church has passed away?” Ask students how they would respond. After discussing some of their answers, ask them why the following would be an appropriate response: “Yes it was tragic, but isn’t it wonderful that He rose again after the third day!”
Tell students that it is important for us to remember that Jesus is the leader of His Church. Those who are called to serve in the Church should never take glory or honor away from Jesus Christ. The Savior set the example by showing us how to give appropriate glory and honor. Have students read Moses 4:1–2and look for how Satan’s desire for glory was different from that of the Son.
Whom did John send his disciples to see?
From these verses, what seems to be the reason John wanted them to go to Jesus?
What effect did Jesus’ miracles have on John’s disciples?
Read the commentary for Matthew 11:2, 3 in The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles (p. 65) and ask:
How does this help you understand John’s motive in sending the disciples?
How do you feel about John, knowing that he wanted his followers to become disciples of Jesus Christ?
What can we learn from John’s example?
Tell students that the Savior praised John and testified of his mission in Luke 7:24–30. Ask students to read those verses and look for what else impresses them about John. Read the Prophet Joseph Smith’s statement about why John was such a great prophet (see the teaching suggestion for Matthew 11:1–19, p. 35).
Point out that in spite of the greatness of John and Jesus, many of the people still rejected them. Have students read Luke 7:31–35. Elder Bruce R. McConkie paraphrased the Savior’s message to the people in these verses this way:
“You are like fickle children playing games; when you hold a mock wedding, your playmates refuse to dance; when you change the game to a funeral procession, your playmates refuse to mourn. In like manner you are only playing at religion. As cross and capricious children you reject John because he came with the strictness of the Nazarites, and ye reject me because I display the warm human demeanor that makes for pleasant social [interaction]” (in Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:263).
Luke 7:36–50. When we recognize our dependence on the Savior, repent of our sins, and receive forgiveness, we will be filled with peace and love.
Discuss with students what debt is, and then ask some of the following questions:
What do many people go into debt for? (Answers might include houses, school, cars.)
How would you feel if the person to whom you were most indebted released you from that debt?
How would your feelings be different if the person released you from a large debt instead of a small one?
Invite students to read Romans 3:23, and ask:
What does this verse teach about debt?
Why do we need Jesus Christ to be our “creditor” or Savior?
How much debt do you think Christ has the power to forgive?
Read and discuss the following statement by Elder Boyd K. Packer:
“When your desire is firm and you are willing to pay the ‘uttermost farthing’ [see Matthew 5:25–26], the law of restitution is suspended. Your obligation is transferred to the Lord. He will settle your accounts.
“I repeat, save for the exception of the very few who defect to perdition, there is no habit, no addiction, no rebellion, no transgression, no apostasy, no crime exempted from the promise of complete forgiveness. That is the promise of the atonement of Christ” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1995, 23; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 20).
Read Luke 7:36–50 with your students and discuss the following questions as you read:
What debts were owed by the people in the parable? (see vv. 41–42).
How were the woman’s feelings toward the Savior different from Simon’s?
What do you think made these two people treat Jesus so differently?
How were both of them dependent on the Savior?
What blessing did the woman gain because she recognized her dependence on the Savior? (see v. 47).
What does this incident teach about Jesus Christ’s power to cleanse people from sin?
Invite students to think about how their lives are like those of the people in this story and how the Savior’s words to the woman can be a source of hope for each of us. Read the following statements or give copies to students as a handout. Discuss them as a class.
Elder Ronald E. Poelman, a member of the Seventy, taught:
“The beginning and completion of repentance leading to forgiveness is faith in Jesus Christ, who is the ‘author and the finisher of [our] faith’ (Moroni 6:4). Our faith in him as Savior and Redeemer engenders in us godly sorrow for our transgressions, a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and a sense of personal accountability. There follows a change in attitude and a turning toward God” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1993, 114; or Ensign, Nov. 1993, 85).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie, commenting on the woman in Luke 7:36–50, wrote:
“All this was the work and worship of a devout and faithful woman who had been a sinner but who was now cleansed; who was now free from the crushing burden of many offenses; who now walked in a newness of life because of him whose feet she now kissed and upon whom she now bestowed all the reverent and awe-inspired love that her whole soul had power to possess.
“This we must know if we are to envision what really transpired on this inspiring occasion in the home of Simon the Pharisee. Here is a woman who once was a sinner but now is clean. Jesus is not going to forgive her sins—he has already done so; it happened when she believed and was baptized in his name; it happened when she repented with full purpose of heart and pledged her life and every breath she thereafter drew to the Cause of Righteousness. We are dealing with a convert who has come to pour out, in the spirit of thanksgiving and rejoicing, the gratitude of her soul to him who has freed her, freed her in times past, from the chains of bondage and hell.
“None of this is known to Simon. He is in his sins, being unbaptized; and like Nicodemus, the master in Israel who knew not that men can be born again, Simon is, in his present state, spiritually incapable of conceiving that a woman whose soul once was scarlet is now as white as snow” (Mortal Messiah, 2:200–201).
Teach students that we can obtain forgiveness for our sins, no matter how bad they are, if we will follow this woman’s example and sincerely repent. Testify that the process of repentance makes us feel an appreciation and love for Jesus.
What did this woman do that showed her gratitude for Jesus Christ’s Atonement?
What can we do to show our love for Him?
Conclude by singing “I Stand All Amazed” (Hymns, no. 193). Ask students to share their feelings about the Savior’s Atonement and to describe how they felt as they sang the hymn.
Note: Make sure students do not conclude that it would be profitable to sin so that they could come to love the Savior more (see Romans 6:1–2). Students must understand the importance of developing a love for Jesus Christ by keeping His commandments and avoiding sin. Encourage students to avoid sin but to have confidence that we can be completely forgiven when we do sin if we repent.
Luke 8–9(see also Matthew 8–10, 12–14, 16–18; Mark 4–6, 8–9). A review game can be fun and informative.
Luke 8–9 contains stories you may have taught in Matthew and Mark. Use this activity to review the material while maintaining the continuity of Luke’s testimony.
Arrange desks or chairs in a large circle or row. At each seat, tape a thought-provoking question with a scripture reference from Luke 8–9 that helps answer it. Number the questions, and give each student a piece of paper with corresponding numbers and enough space to write answers to each question. Create questions that are challenging enough to require students to use reason, but clearly identify the reference where the answer can be found so students do not spend too much time looking. Use questions such as these:
Read Luke 8:1–3. What do you think the phrase “which ministered unto him of their substance” means?
What does the seed represent in the parable of the sower? (see Luke 8:11). What are some ways that you could plant that seed in your life?
Read Luke 8:22–25. According to these verses, what emotions did the disciples feel that probably disappointed the Savior?
Give students one minute to answer the question that is taped to the seat where they are sitting. Then give a signal for all students to move to the next seat and spend a minute on the question there. Continue until the students have had a chance to respond to all the questions. Then correct their answers as a class, taking the time to explain those questions and answers that are most important to your students or those that they may have found most challenging.
Luke 9:1–6, 10(see also Matthew 10:1, 5–42; Mark 6:7–13, 30). When we are given assignments, we are responsible to report what we have done.
Have students think of the most important assignment or job they have ever had, and then ask them some of the following questions:
Who gave you the assignment?
Why do you think you were chosen to receive the assignment?
How well did you fulfill your obligation?
How can you tell whether the person cared how well you filled it?
Read Luke 9:2–5and ask:
What assignment did Jesus give His Apostles?
How important was this assignment?
Do you think Jesus was interested in how well they fulfilled their assignment? Why?
Ask students to read Luke 9:10and look for what the Apostles did when they finished their assignment.
Teach students that we have an important obligation to report how well we filled our assignments to those who gave them to us. Ask:
How does the Lord give us assignments or stewardships? (Through Church leaders, sacred covenants, the scriptures, personal revelation.)
How do we report on these assignments to the Lord?
To whom else do we report regarding the fulfillment of our Church callings?
How do we report our assignments in our families?
Read Revelation 20:12and ask:
Before whom will we stand as we make our final report of our life upon this earth?
What would you like to be able to report at that moment?
Luke 9:46–56. Jesus invites us to be tolerant of others.
Bring several different musical selections to class. Play each selection and invite students to pick their favorite. Discuss how people, like musical selections, are all different. Read 4 Nephi 1:17and ask: What does this verse teach about how we should feel towards those of different nationalities, religions, or backgrounds?
Write the word tolerant on the board and discuss what it means. Invite students to tell the class about someone who is especially tolerant and kind to those who are different. Ask:
What impresses you about this person?
How can we avoid being intolerant?
Invite students to read Luke 9:49–56.
What might those who are tolerant of others think of the man who was casting out devils in Christ’s name or of the Samaritans?
How did the Apostles view the man who was casting out devils?
How did they view the Samaritans?
Ask students to read the verses again and look for the Savior’s attitude towards the man casting out devils and the Samaritans. Ask: Do you think the Savior was pleased with the attitude of His disciples? Why or why not?
Invite students to think about their attitudes toward people of other religions or those who seem to be sinners. Ask the students to write down what they think the Savior might say if He were to talk to them about their attitude. Read the following statements or give them to the students as a handout.
President Gordon B. Hinckley taught:
“I plead with our people everywhere to live with respect and appreciation for those not of our faith. There is so great a need for civility and mutual respect among those of differing beliefs and philosophies. We must not be partisans of any doctrine of ethnic superiority. We live in a world of diversity. We can and must be respectful toward those with whose teachings we may not agree. We must be willing to defend the rights of others who may become the victims of bigotry.
“I call attention to these striking words of Joseph Smith spoken in 1843:
“‘If it has been demonstrated that I have been willing to die for a “Mormon,” I am bold to declare before Heaven that I am just as ready to die in defending the rights of a Presbyterian, a Baptist, or a good man of any other denomination; for the same principle which would trample upon the rights of the Latter-day Saints would trample upon the rights of the Roman Catholics, or of any other denomination’ (History of the Church, 5:498)” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 94–95; or Ensign, May 1995, 71).
Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:
“Though inharmonious with the true Spirit of Christ, this offer of James and John is neither so harsh or vindictive, nor so scripturally unrealistic, as it might seem. They knew that the God of Israel—the same Jesus in whose presence they then stood—had sent fire from heaven at Elijah’s word to consume the enemies of that ancient prophet. (2 Kings 1.) They knew also that the same merciful God would destroy the wicked by fire at his Second Coming. (Mal. 4:1.) What they had yet to learn was that for their dispensation, under the conditions which then existed (and they are comparable today), the gospel message was to go forth with charity, patience, forbearance, and long-suffering. However, their offer to compensate for the rebuff suffered by their Master was a manifestation of rather majestic faith. Who but those thoroughly converted to the righteousness and ultimate triumph of their cause would expect Deity to send fire from heaven to defend and vindicate them?
“Even devout and good men are sometimes swayed by the influence and spirit of Satan rather than by the Spirit of the Lord. Though they were unaware of its source, James and John were here influenced in their proposal by a spirit from beneath rather than a Spirit from above” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary , 1:440).
Encourage your students to develop greater tolerance for others.
Luke 9:57–62. Sacrifice is an important principle of the gospel. We must be willing to make any sacrifice necessary to follow Christ with all our hearts.
Read the following true story as told by President Gordon B. Hinckley, then a member of the First Presidency:
“In 1856 more than a thousand of our people, some of them perhaps your forebears, found themselves in serious trouble while crossing the plains to [the Salt Lake Valley]. Because of a series of unfortunate circumstances, they were late in getting started. They ran into snow and bitter cold in the highlands of Wyoming. Their situation was desperate, with deaths occurring every day.
“President Young learned of their condition as the October general conference was about to begin. He immediately called for teams, wagons, drivers, and supplies to leave to rescue the bereft Saints. When the first rescue team reached the Martin Company, there were too few wagons to carry the suffering people. The rescuers had to insist that the carts keep moving.
“When they reached the Sweetwater River on November 3, chunks of ice were floating in the freezing water. After all these people had been through, and in their weakened condition, that river seemed impossible to cross. It looked like stepping into death itself to move into the freezing stream. Men who once had been strong sat on the frozen ground and wept, as did the women and children. Many simply could not face that ordeal.
“And now I quote from the record: ‘Three eighteen-year-old boys belonging to the relief party came to the rescue, and to the astonishment of all who saw, carried nearly every member of the illfated handcart company across the snowbound stream. The strain was so terrible, and the exposure so great, that in later years all the boys died from the effects of it. When President Brigham Young heard of this heroic act, he wept like a child, and later declared publicly, “that act alone will ensure C. Allen Huntington, George W. Grant, and David P. Kimball an everlasting salvation in the Celestial Kingdom of God, worlds without end.”’ (Solomon F. Kimball, Improvement Era, Feb. 1914, p. 288.)” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1981, 59–60; or Ensign, Nov. 1981, 42).
What do you think of the sacrifice of those three teenage boys?
What might have motivated them to save those Saints?
What do you imagine the Saints felt like before their rescuers arrived?
What about after they had been saved? How do you think they felt towards their rescuers?
If being saved physically is important, how much more important would it be to be saved spiritually and return to our Father in Heaven in the celestial kingdom?
Ask students to read Luke 9:23–25 as well as the Joseph Smith Translation of Luke 9:24–25 in the appendix. How important do these verses make “being saved” sound?
Write the phrase Some Requirements for Being Saved on the board. Ask students to read Luke 9:26, 57–62 and look for what these verses teach about Jesus’ expectations of His followers. List what students discover on the board and discuss their findings. Ask: How would meeting these requirements help us gain salvation?
If desired, share the following commentary on Luke 9:57–62 by President Marion G. Romney, who was a member of the First Presidency:
“Jesus was not looking for, or calling, men to do lip service only. He wanted them to realize that following him meant effort and sacrifice. Luke tells us of an occasion when ‘there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
”‘If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
“‘And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
“‘So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.’ (Luke 14:25–27, 33.)
“In these seemingly harsh statements, Jesus was not specifying ‘literal hatred toward one’s family … as a condition of discipleship.’ He was emphasizing ‘the preeminence of duty toward God over personal’ or worldly demands of those who would be his disciples. (James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976, p. 453.)” (in Conference Report, Sept.–Oct. 1978, 54; or Ensign, Nov. 1978, 38).
Tell students that sometimes our excuses can get in the way of our doing that which would help us to be saved spiritually. Ask:
What are some of your favorite excuses when you don’t fulfill your duties (for example, “I woke up late,” or “I lost my homework”)?
What excuses did the three men give Jesus in Luke 9:57–61?
Read verse 62. How did Jesus respond to these excuses?
What do you think Jesus was trying to teach?
Elder Howard W. Hunter, when a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, explained:
“To dig a straight furrow, the plowman needs to keep his eyes on a fixed point ahead of him. That keeps him on a true course. If, however, he happens to look back to see where he has been, his chances of straying are increased. The results are crooked and irregular furrows. We invite those of you who are new members to fix your attention on your new goal and never look back on your earlier problems or transgressions except as a reminder of your growth and your worth and your blessings from God. If our energies are focused not behind us but ahead of us—on eternal life and the joy of salvation—we assuredly will obtain it” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1987, 19; or Ensign, May 1987, 17).
What are some popular excuses in our day for not following Jesus?
How can excuses get in the way of our discipleship?
Read the words to