Lesson 49: Luke 8–9

New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual, 2016


Introduction

The Savior continued to minister in Galilee, where He prophesied of His death and Resurrection. Leaving Galilee, Jesus traveled toward Jerusalem to complete His mortal mission. In Samaria, James and John desired to call down fire from heaven to consume a Samaritan village that had rejected Jesus, but He taught His disciples that He had come to save people, not destroy them. Jesus also taught about true discipleship.

Suggestions for Teaching

Luke 8:1–9:56

The Savior performs miracles, teaches using parables, and journeys to Jerusalem

Write the following scenarios on the board, or write each of them on a separate piece of paper. Invite three students to read them aloud.

  1. 1.

    When you politely ask your brother to help you clean up a mess, he rudely tells you to do it yourself.

  2. 2.

    While planning a school activity, a few classmates criticize and laugh at an idea you share.

  3. 3.

    As you share the gospel with a friend, she tells you your beliefs are strange.

  • How would you feel in each of these situations? How would you react?

Invite students to look for truths as they study the Savior’s teachings in Luke 8–9 that can guide them when they feel offended by others’ actions or words.

Invite a student to read aloud the chapter summaries of Luke 8–9. Ask the class to follow along, looking for events that are recorded in these chapters. Explain that because they studied these events in detail in the lessons on Matthew and Mark, this lesson will focus on Luke 9:51–62.

Invite a student to read Luke 9:51 aloud, and ask the class to look for the place where the Savior decided to go. Explain that the phrase “be received up” refers to the Savior’s approaching Ascension into heaven.

  • Where did the Savior decide to go?

Explain that to do something steadfastly means to do it in a determined or unwavering way. Earlier, the Savior had prophesied to His disciples that He would be betrayed, scourged, and crucified in Jerusalem (see Matthew 20:17–19; Luke 9:44).

  • What does the Savior’s determination to go to Jerusalem in spite of these challenges reveal about His character?

Point out that while traveling to Jerusalem, Jesus and His disciples approached a Samaritan village. Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Luke 9:52–54, and ask the class to look for the Samaritans’ reaction when they learned that Jesus and His disciples wanted to enter their village.

  • How did the Samaritans react when they learned that Jesus and His disciples wanted to enter their village?

  • How did James and John react to the Samaritans’ inhospitality toward and rejection of the Savior?

  • In what ways might people today overreact to insults and other offenses from others? (Refer to the scenarios from the beginning of the lesson, and ask students to ponder ways in which someone might overreact in these situations.)

Invite a student to read Luke 9:55–56 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Savior’s response to James and John. Invite students to report what they find.

Explain that when the Savior said, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of” (verse 55), He was suggesting that James and John’s request was not in harmony with the Spirit of God but was more in harmony with the spirit of Satan, who stirs up anger in people’s hearts (see 3 Nephi 11:29–30).

  • How did the Savior’s reaction to the Samaritans’ rejection differ from James and John’s reaction?

  • What truth can we learn from the Savior’s example that can guide us when we face offenses? (Using students’ words, write on the board a truth similar to the following: We follow the Savior’s example when we choose to respond to offenses with patience and long-suffering.)

Invite students to recall the scenarios from the beginning of the lesson.

  • What is the potential danger of choosing to be offended in each of these scenarios?

  • In each scenario, how could we follow the Savior’s example?

  • How might we be blessed as we choose to respond to offenses with patience and long-suffering?

Ask students to reflect on an occasion when they have chosen to be offended by someone’s words or actions. Encourage them to follow the Savior’s example by choosing to respond to offenses with patience and long-suffering.

Luke 9:57–62

Jesus teaches about true discipleship

Invite a student to come to the front of class, and present him or her with 20 to 30 small objects (such as beads). Instruct the student to silently count the objects. While he or she is doing so, ask the class to see whether they can throw off the count by distracting the student. Make sure students do not become unruly in their attempts to distract the student. Instruct them to remain seated, and caution them not to throw anything or touch the student who is counting.

  • In what ways is counting objects while being distracted similar to trying to follow Jesus Christ?

Thank the student who counted the objects, and invite him or her to sit down. As students continue to study Luke 9, invite them to consider how we can overcome influences that might distract or prevent us from following the Savior.

Invite a student to read Luke 9:57 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what a man said to Jesus as He and His disciples traveled to Jerusalem.

  • What did this man tell the Savior he was willing to do?

Write the following phrase on the board: To be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, …

Invite a student to read Luke 9:58 aloud, and ask the class to look for the Savior’s response to the man who desired to follow Him. Invite students to report what they find.

  • What does the phrase “the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” indicate about the Savior’s lifestyle? (Jesus and His disciples were constantly on the move. Their ministry was neither comfortable nor easy.)

Invite students to read Luke 9:59–60 silently, looking for a second man’s response to the Savior’s invitation to follow Him.

  • What did this man want to do before following the Savior?

  • What might the word first (verse 59) indicate about this man?

Explain that Jesus Christ did not indicate that it is wrong to mourn a loved one’s death or to pay our respects at a funeral (see D&C 42:45). Instead, He was teaching this man an important lesson about discipleship.

  • What can we learn from the Savior’s response recorded in verse 60 about the priorities of a true disciple?

Invite a student to read Luke 9:61–62 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what a third man desired to do before following the Savior.

  • What did this man want to do before following the Savior?

  • How did the Savior respond to this man?

To help students understand the analogy of putting our hands to the plow and not looking back, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Howard W. Hunter:

President Howard W. Hunter

“To dig a straight furrow [or trench], 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. … 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” (“Am I a ‘Living’ Member?” Ensign, May 1987, 17).

  • How is being a disciple of Jesus Christ like putting our hands to a plow and not looking back?

  • How is the Savior an example of what He taught as recorded in verse 62? (“He steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem” [Luke 9:51] to complete the mission Heavenly Father had given Him, and He did not look back.)

Refer to the incomplete statement on the board.

  • Based on what we have learned from Luke 9:57–62, how would you summarize a truth the Savior taught about what He requires of His disciples? (Students may identify a variety of principles. After they respond, complete the statement on the board so that it conveys the following truth: To be a true disciple of Jesus Christ, we must not let anything take priority over following Him.)

  • Why do we sometimes place other priorities above our responsibilities as disciples of Jesus Christ?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder Richard G. Scott

“Satan has a powerful tool to use against good people. It is distraction. He would have good people fill life with ‘good things’ so there is no room for the essential ones” (“First Things First,” Ensign, May 2001, 7).

To help students consider what could hinder them from fully following Jesus Christ, draw the following chart on the board and ask students to copy it into their class notebooks or scripture study journals.

Responsibilities of a disciple of Jesus Christ

Other priorities

  

Divide students into pairs. Ask them to work with their partners to list in the chart responsibilities of a true disciple of Jesus Christ (which might include being honest, serving others, sharing the gospel, doing family history and temple work, and raising a family). For each responsibility listed in their charts, ask students to list examples of other priorities that someone might put above that responsibility.

Invite several students to report what they listed.

Encourage students to share positive examples of disciples of Jesus Christ by asking:

  • When have you seen someone choose to set aside other goals or priorities in order to follow the Savior?

Ask students to ponder what they might be allowing to take priority over following Jesus Christ and His teachings. Invite them to write a goal in their scripture study journals for what they will do to make the Savior and His gospel a higher priority.

You may want to conclude the lesson by inviting students to sing the hymn “Lord, I Would Follow Thee” (Hymns, no. 220) or another hymn about following Jesus Christ and His teachings.

Commentary and Background Information

Luke 8:1–3. Faithful women assisted and ministered to the Savior

Luke recorded that as the Savior traveled with His Apostles throughout Galilee, teaching in “every city and village” of the region (Luke 8:1), many women also traveled with Him. Some of these women had been healed of various maladies; others could have been wives of the Apostles. A number of these same women continued to follow Jesus up to the time of His death and Resurrection (see Luke 23:27, 49; 24:10; John 20:11–18).

Luke’s account of the women who traveled with Jesus emphasized the Savior’s concern for all people, including women—who were often marginalized in first-century Jewish society. Using the means they had, these women supported Jesus and His chosen servants.

President Howard W. Hunter affirmed the Savior’s regard for all women and asked the women of the Church in our day to stand united with the Brethren in furthering the work of the Lord:

“It must be comforting to you beloved sisters of his Church to remember that this same Jesus, our Savior through the Atonement, demonstrated his love and concern for the women of his time. He enjoyed the company of women and had close friends among them. …

“Is there any reason to think that he cares any less about women today? …

“As our Lord and Savior needed the women of his time for a comforting hand, a listening ear, a believing heart, a kind look, an encouraging word, loyalty—even in his hour of humiliation, agony, and death—so we, his servants all across the Church, need you, the women of the Church, to stand with us and for us in stemming the tide of evil that threatens to engulf us. Together we must stand faithful and firm in the faith against superior numbers of other-minded people. It seems to me that there is a great need to rally the women of the Church to stand with and for the Brethren in stemming the tide of evil that surrounds us and in moving forward the work of our Savior” (“To the Women of the Church,” Ensign, Nov. 1992, 95–96).

Luke 9:54. Fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained the possible reasoning of James and John in asking to have the power to call fire down from heaven to consume the Samaritans:

“[James and John] 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 … , the gospel message was to go forth with charity, patience, forbearance, and long-suffering. …

“… 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, 3 vols. [1965–73], 1:440).

Luke 9:54–56. Choosing to respond to offenses with patience and long-suffering

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that we can choose not to be offended by others’ words and actions:

“To believe that someone or something can make us feel offended, angry, hurt, or bitter diminishes our moral agency and transforms us into objects to be acted upon. As agents, however, you and I have the power to act and to choose how we will respond to an offensive or hurtful situation. …

“The Savior is the greatest example of how we should respond to potentially offensive events or situations” (“And Nothing Shall Offend Them,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 90).

Luke 9:60. “Let the dead bury their dead”

For insight into the Savior’s response to the man who desired first to bury his father before following Christ, see the commentary for Luke 9:59–60 in the New Testament Student Manual ([Church Educational System manual, 2014], 158).

Luke 9:62. Following the Savior’s example and not looking back

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught that discipleship means fully following in the Savior’s footsteps:

“Those who have entered the waters of baptism and received the gift of the Holy Ghost have set their feet on the path of discipleship and are charged to follow steadily and faithfully in the footsteps of our Savior” (“Saints for All Seasons,” Ensign or Liahona, Sept. 2013, 5).

Elder Edward Dube of the Seventy taught that Jesus gave us an example of what it means to put our hand to the plough and not look back:

“Our Savior, Jesus Christ, who sees from the beginning to the end, knew very well the road He would travel to Gethsemane and Golgotha when He proclaimed, ‘No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God’ (Luke 9:62). In the sight of the Lord, it is not so much what we have done or where we have been but much more where we are willing to go” (“Look Ahead and Believe,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2013, 17).