Lesson 52: Luke 13–14

New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual, 2016


Introduction

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.

Suggestions for Teaching

Luke 13:1–14:14

Jesus heals on the Sabbath and teaches about humility and caring for the less fortunate

Read the following scenario aloud: You are sitting at lunch with several 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 your friends laugh.

Invite students to ponder how they would feel in this situation.

  • What are several different ways in which you could react in this situation?

Invite students to look in Luke 13–14 for what the Savior taught about interacting with people who are less fortunate than us.

Summarize Luke 13:1–14:6 by explaining that the Savior related a parable about a fig tree that would be cut down if it failed to produce fruit, which teaches that we will perish if we do not repent. He healed a woman on the Sabbath and taught about the kingdom of God and those who will be allowed to enter it. 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, which is a disease that caused the man’s body to be swollen with fluid.

Divide students into pairs. Invite one student in each pair to read Luke 13:15–16 silently and the other student to read Luke 14:5–6 silently. Ask students to look for the Savior’s responses to the Pharisees who accused Him of breaking the Sabbath by healing these individuals. Invite students to report what they find to their partners.

After sufficient time, ask the class:

  • What phrases describe the things the Pharisees would do for their animals on the Sabbath? (Loose them from bonds and pull them out of pits.)

  • What can we learn from the Savior’s example about honoring the Sabbath day and keeping it holy? (Ministering to people in need is appropriate on the Sabbath day. The Savior’s righteous example contrasts with the attitudes of some Pharisees who justified helping animals but not people on the Sabbath.)

Summarize Luke 14:7–11 by explaining that after healing the man who suffered from dropsy, the Savior chastised the other dinner guests for trying to exalt themselves by sitting in the most honorable seats, which were closest to the host.

Invite a student to read Luke 14:12–14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior taught the Pharisee who had invited Him to dine.

  • What counsel did the Savior give to this Pharisee?

  • What are some possible reasons why people invite their friends and rich neighbors to dinner?

Explain that in the Savior’s day, those who were maimed, lame, or blind often struggled to provide for themselves and were poor as a result. Some of the Pharisees looked down on these people (see Luke 16:14–31).

  • What are some reasons why people today might look down on others?

  • What principle can we learn from Luke 14:14 about trying to help people who are less fortunate than we are? (The following is one principle students may identify: If we try to help people who are less fortunate than we are, the Lord will reward us at the Resurrection.)

Point out that 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 we are.

  • In what ways can we help people who are less fortunate than we are?

  • When have you, or someone you know, been blessed by trying to help people who are less fortunate?

Invite students to ponder ways in which they can help people who are less fortunate than they are. Encourage them to write in their scripture study journals or class notebooks a goal to serve those who are less fortunate than they are.

Luke 14:15–35

Jesus gives the parable of the great feast and teaches about the cost of discipleship

Invite students to write on the board some things they 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?

Invite the class to look as they continue to study Luke 14 for principles that teach what Jesus Christ requires of His disciples.

Explain that 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 related the parable of the great supper.

Invite students to read Luke 14:16–24 aloud with their partners from earlier in the lesson. Ask one student in each partnership to look for the invitation that the people in the parable received. Invite the other student in each partnership to look for the excuses made by the people who rejected the offer. After sufficient time, ask the class:

  • How is the gospel of Jesus Christ like a great feast? (Answers might include the following: the gospel is a gift that has been prepared for us; it can fill us and satisfy our needs; we have been invited to partake of it; and we can accept or refuse the invitation to partake of it.)

  • 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?

According to verse 24, what is the consequence of placing other priorities above the Lord and His gospel? (Students may identify a principle such as the following: If we place other priorities above the Lord and His gospel, we will lose blessings that we could have received.)

Invite students to look at the list on the board of sacrifices they might be asked to make as disciples of Jesus Christ.

  • What blessings could we lose if we are not willing to make these sacrifices?

Explain that after teaching this parable, the Savior spoke to the multitude about what He requires of His disciples. Invite a student to read Luke 14:25–27 aloud. Instruct him or her to also read the Joseph Smith Translation of verse 26 (in Luke 14:26, footnote b) and of verse 27 (in Luke 14:27, footnote b). Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior said His disciples must be willing to do.

  • What did the Savior say His disciples must be willing to do?

Explain that one definition of the Greek word translated as hate is to “love less” (James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible [1890], “misĕō,” 48). The Savior was explaining that for His disciples, devotion to family or even one’s own life must come after devotion to Him (see also Matthew 10:37). To take up one’s cross refers to crucifixion and represents a required willingness to give one’s life for Christ, who gave His life for us (see also Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 16:26 [in Matthew 16:24, footnote e]).

  • What truths about being disciples of Jesus Christ can we learn from these verses? (Students may identify a variety of truths, but make sure they identify a truth similar to the following: Disciples of Jesus Christ must be willing to sacrifice everything to follow Him. You may want to invite students to write this truth in the margin next to Luke 14:25–27.)

  • Why do you think disciples of Jesus Christ need to be willing to put Him before all things, including their family members and their own lives?

Write the phrase Settle this in your hearts (verse 27, footnote b) on the board.

  • What do you think the phrase “settle this in your hearts” means? (Explain that in this context to settle means to resolve or firmly decide.)

  • What does the Savior want us to settle in our hearts?

  • What principle can we learn from the Joseph Smith Translation of Luke 14:27? (Students should identify a principle similar to the following: As we settle in our hearts to do what Jesus Christ teaches and commands us, we become His disciples.)

Provide students with copies of the following statement by Elder Larry W. Gibbons of the Seventy. Invite a student to read it aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what we can do to live this principle.

Elder Larry W. Gibbons

“As you begin to set your priorities in life, remember, the only true security in life is living the commandments. …

“… What a great thing it is to decide once and for all early in life what you will do and what you will not do with regards to honesty, modesty, chastity, the Word of Wisdom, and temple marriage.

“Brothers and sisters, stay on the straight and narrow path. No, stay in the middle of the straight and narrow path. Don’t drift; don’t wander; don’t dabble; be careful.

“… Living the commandments will bring you the happiness that too many look for in other places” (“Wherefore, Settle This in Your Hearts,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 103, 104).

  • What is a commandment that you have firmly resolved to obey? How have you been blessed by making the decision to obey that commandment?

Encourage students to settle in their hearts “what [they] will … and … will not do with regards to honesty, modesty, chastity, the Word of Wisdom, and temple marriage.” You may want to invite students to write their decisions in their class notebooks or scripture study journals.

Explain that after teaching these principles about discipleship, the Savior gave two analogies. Invite a student to read Luke 14:28–30 aloud and another student to read Luke 14:31–33 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and consider what these two analogies illustrate.

  • What do you think these two analogies illustrate?

Explain that both analogies illustrate the importance of counting, or determining, the cost of a course of action before beginning it to determine whether you will be able to finish it. The Savior wanted His followers to thoughtfully consider whether they were willing to sacrifice whatever was necessary so they could continue to the end as His disciples. (See also Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 14:31 [in Luke 14:30, footnote a].)

Ask students to reconsider the list of sacrifices on the board. Invite a few of them to explain why they are willing to make these sacrifices as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Consider inviting students to mark verse 33, which provides a simple summary of the Savior’s teachings in this chapter. Testify of the truths you have discussed.

Commentary and Background Information

Luke 14:12–14. If we try to help people who are less fortunate than we are, the Lord will bless us

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency explained some of the blessings we can receive as a result of helping others:

“As we extend our hands and hearts toward others in Christlike love, something wonderful happens to us. Our own spirits become healed, more refined, and stronger. We become happier, more peaceful, and more receptive to the whisperings of the Holy Spirit” (“You Are My Hands,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 75).

Luke 14:15–24. The parable of the great supper

To learn more about the parable of the great supper, see the commentary in the New Testament Student Manual (Church Educational System manual, 2014), 164).

Supplemental Teaching Idea

Luke 13:1–14:6. The Lord will reward those who help the less fortunate

After students identify the principle that if we try to help people who are less fortunate than us, the Lord will reward us at the Resurrection, you may want to read aloud the following experience that Werner Adler, a Church member from East Germany, had with President Thomas S. Monson:

“‘I am a big man, just about the same size as President Monson, so I guess that’s how I attracted his attention,’ Brother Adler said. ‘He noticed that I was wearing a very old, nearly worn-out suit. In our country at that time, it was hard for just about anybody to buy new clothes; for a man my size, it was nearly impossible. After the conference, President Monson asked me to wait a few minutes. He stepped into a little room, took off his suit and came out dressed in an extra pair of trousers he had in his bag and a shirt. He said, “Here, I think this will fit you.”’

“Brother Adler said President Monson offered to give him his shoes, also. ‘But I looked down at his feet and said, “I think your shoes are too big for me.”’ Another member standing nearby said he thought the apostle’s shoes would fit his son. So he sat down and took off his shoes and gave them to the other man.

“‘I’ll never forget that day,’ Brother Adler said. ‘Apostle Thomas S. Monson had come to our conference dressed in a fine suit and was wearing practically new shoes. He left wearing a pair of old trousers, a shirt and old shoes’” (Gerry Avant, “Lives to Serve Others: Real Humanitarian” Church News, Aug. 27, 2005, 6).

  • How would you have felt toward President Monson if you had been in Brother Adler’s situation?

  • Why do you think President Monson did what he did?