Chapter 16: Luke 4–8

New Testament Student Manual, 2014

Introduction and Timeline for Luke 4–8

Chapters 4–8 of Luke begin with the account of Satan tempting Jesus Christ in the wilderness, followed by Jesus’s declaration in Nazareth that He was the Messiah, who had come to bless those in need. Luke next recorded the Savior’s compassionate efforts to lift individuals from the negative effects of evil spirits, disease, sin, and death. Accompanying these miracles are the Savior’s instructions to His disciples to love others, give generously, show mercy, and forgive as He did.

In addition to illustrating Jesus Christ’s loving ministry among the downcast, these chapters show different ways in which people responded to Him. They show how individuals’ varying levels of humility, faith, and willingness to sacrifice affected their experience with the Savior.

lesson 16 timeline

Commentary for Luke 4–8

Luke 4:1–2. “Forty Days Tempted of the Devil” (see also Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13)

During Jesus Christ’s 40-day sojourn in the wilderness, “angels ministered unto him” (Mark 1:13) and He was “full of the Holy Ghost” (Luke 4:1). This was a time of great spiritual preparation for His ministry, which would follow. To read more about Christ’s temptations in the wilderness, see the commentary for Matthew 4:2–10.

Luke 4:3–9. Satan’s Temptations in the Wilderness (see also Matthew 4:8–10)

Satan tempted Jesus to use His power for selfish reasons—to save Himself, not all mankind. Satan continued to tempt the Savior in this way even at the end of His life. While Jesus was hanging on the cross, the soldiers and one of the thieves crucified beside Him said: “If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself” (Luke 23:37) and “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us” (Luke 23:39). Satan tried to destroy God’s plan for the redemption of His children by tempting Jesus to use His power selfishly.

Satan also offered the Savior all the kingdoms, power, and glory of the world if He would worship him. However, these were not Satan’s to give. Jesus Christ, as the Creator, already held dominion over this earth, under the direction of His Father. One lesson we can learn from these verses is that Satan often entices us with allurements he cannot provide, including peace and happiness when we sin (see 1 Nephi 20:22; Alma 41:10; Mormon 2:13).

President Howard W. Hunter (1907–95) warned against seeking worldly possessions and glory by yielding to Satan’s temptations: “Jesus knew that if he were faithful to his Father and obedient to every commandment, he would inherit ‘all that [the] Father hath’ (D&C 84:38)—and so would any other son or daughter of God. The surest way to lose the blessings of time or eternity is to accept them on Satan’s terms” (“The Temptations of Christ,” Ensign, Nov. 1976, 18).

Similarly, the Book of Mormon provides examples of people whom Satan deceived into believing they could obtain success by yielding to temptation and also warns that “the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell” (Alma 30:60; see also verses 52–60).

Luke 4:9–12. Jesus Christ Was Tempted on a Pinnacle of the Temple (see also Matthew 4:5–7)

The Savior’s refusal to throw Himself from the temple and trust the angels to prevent His fall provides two important insights into His character. First, He refused to make a self-serving display of His power as the Son of God. Second, He was unwilling to deliberately place Himself in circumstances from which He would need divine rescue. The Savior’s example encourages us to likewise avoid situations, activities, and materials that are potentially harmful. Joseph Smith’s inspired translation of Luke 4:5, 9 makes clear that it was the Spirit, not the devil, who took Jesus Christ to a high mountain and brought Him to Jerusalem, and then afterward Satan came to tempt Him (see Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 4:5 [in Luke 4:5, footnote a] and Joseph Smith Translation, Luke 4:9 [in Luke 4:9, footnote a]; see also the commentary for Matthew 4:1, 5, 8).

model of Jerusalem temple

Model of the temple built upon a mount in Jerusalem, surrounded by a series of courtyards and walls

Photograph by James Jeffery

Luke 4:13. Satan Departed for a Season

Luke 4:13 states that “when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season.” However, this respite may not have lasted long, for Luke records that the Savior was subject to later temptations (see Luke 22:28). For additional insight on the temptations faced and overcome by the Savior, see the commentaries for Hebrews 2:10, 14–18 and for Hebrews 4:15.

Luke 4:14–15. Jesus “Returned in the Power of the Spirit”

After Jesus “had fasted forty days and forty nights, and had communed with God,” He returned to Galilee and began teaching the gospel in the synagogues (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 4:2 [in Matthew 4:2, footnote c]). The scriptures state that He “returned in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14). Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained, “Fasting had blessed Him with the power of the Spirit” (“The Law of the Fast,” Ensign, May 1986, 33). We can increase our own spiritual power by following the Savior’s example of fasting and praying at a time of need.

Luke 4:16–21. In Nazareth, Jesus Christ Declared He Is the Messiah

Jesus Christ began His ministry in Nazareth by going to the synagogue, reading passages from Isaiah about the mission of the Messiah, and then identifying Himself as the One who fulfilled the prophecies (see Luke 4:16–21). Elder James E. Talmage (1862–1933) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles described the setting as the Savior attended the synagogue:

“Many times as boy and man He had sat in that house of worship [the synagogue], listening to the reading of the law and the prophets and to the commentaries … , as delivered by appointed readers; but now, as a recognized teacher of legal age He was eligible to take the reader’s place. On this occasion He stood up to read, when the service had reached the stage at which extracts from the prophetical books were to be read to the congregation. The minister in charge handed Him the roll, or book, of Isaiah; He turned to the part known to us as the beginning of the sixty-first chapter, and read: [Luke 4:18–19]. … The scripture He had quoted was one recognized by all classes as specifically referring to the Messiah, for whose coming the nation waited” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 179).

After reading the scripture, Jesus Christ sat down to comment. In Jesus’s era, it was customary to stand while reading but to sit while teaching (see Matthew 5:1; 26:55; John 8:2; Acts 16:13). As the eyes of everyone in the synagogue turned on Him, Jesus declared, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21).

The verses Jesus quoted (see Isaiah 61:1–2) provide a summary of His earthly mission and atoning sacrifice. The verses referred to a person who was “anointed”—a term the Jews recognized as meaning “the Messiah.” As the Messiah, Jesus was sent to “heal the brokenhearted”—His atoning sacrifice would save those who offer the sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit (see 3 Nephi 9:20; D&C 59:8). He was sent to “preach deliverance to the captives”—His gospel would deliver those in spirit prison as well as those in spiritual bondage (see 1 Peter 3:18–20; D&C 138:18–30). He was to provide “sight to the blind”—He would miraculously restore physical and spiritual sight. He was to “set at liberty them that are bruised”—fulfilling the promise to Mother Eve that her posterity, whose heels were bruised by the serpent, would have power to crush the serpent’s head (see Genesis 3:15). He was to “preach the acceptable year of the Lord”—to preach that the Lord had begun His ministry, which He had!

video iconTo help you better understand Christ’s declaration, review the video segment video icon (3:26) from The Life of Jesus Christ Bible Videos, available on This segment covers Luke 4:15–30.

Luke 4:22–30. Jesus Christ Was Rejected in Nazareth (see also Matthew 13:54–58; Mark 6:1–6)

The people of Nazareth “wondered” at Jesus Christ’s declaration of Himself as the Messiah and questioned, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4:22). Elder James E. Talmage explained that the Savior anticipated the people’s response to His message and rebuked their unspoken wish to see proof of His Messiahship:

Jesus in the Synagogue at Nazareth

Jesus in the Synagogue at Nazareth, by Greg K. Olsen

“In their hearts the people were eager for a sign, a wonder, a miracle. They knew that Jesus had wrought such in Cana, and a boy in Capernaum had been healed by His word; at Jerusalem too He had astonished the people with mighty works. Were they, His townsmen, to be slighted? Why would He not treat them to some entertaining exhibition of His powers? He continued His address, reminding them that in the days of Elijah, when for three years and a half no rain had fallen, and famine had reigned, the prophet had been sent to but one of the many widows, and she a woman of Sarepta in Sidon, a Gentile, not a daughter of Israel. And again, though there had been many lepers in Israel in the days of Elisha, [only] one leper, and he a Syrian, not an Israelite, had been cleansed through the prophet’s ministration, for Naaman alone had manifested the requisite faith.

“Then great was their wrath. Did He dare to class them with Gentiles and lepers? Were they to be likened unto despised unbelievers, and that too by the son of the village carpenter, who had grown from childhood in their community? Victims of diabolical rage, they seized the Lord and took Him to the brow of the hill on the slopes of which the town was built, determined to avenge their wounded feelings by hurling Him from the rocky cliffs” (Jesus the Christ, 180).

Although Luke does not explain how, Jesus Christ was able to escape from the violent crowd by “passing through the midst of them” (Luke 4:30). This episode clearly illustrates the truth of the Apostle John’s statement that Jesus Christ “came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11; see also Isaiah 53:2–3).

Luke 4:31–44. “He Laid His Hands on Every One of Them, and Healed Them”

In contrast to the people of Nazareth who rejected the Savior, many in Capernaum sought Him out and pleaded “that he should not depart from them” (Luke 4:42). This may have been one of the reasons why Capernaum came to be known as Jesus’s “own city” (Matthew 9:1) and as Church headquarters for His ministry. The differences in the Savior’s ministries in Nazareth and in Capernaum illustrate the truth that the Lord works “not among the children of men save it be according to their faith” (2 Nephi 27:23; see also Matthew 13:58). As described in Luke 4:44, Jesus customarily went first to the synagogues to teach, a practice continued by the Apostles after His Resurrection.

Luke 4:33–37, 40–41. Jesus Christ Cast Out Devils

To learn about the Savior’s power to cast out devils, see the commentary for Mark 1:23–27, 34; 3:11, 14–15, 22–30.

Luke 4:38–39. “Simon’s Wife’s Mother” (see also Matthew 8:14; Mark 1:30)

Luke 4:38 reveals that Simon Peter was married. Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that the Lord’s servants in every dispensation have had the blessings of marriage and family: “Jesus’ specially selected disciples were married men with wives and children and families of their own, as his specially called servants should be in all ages” (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [1979–81], 2:37).

Luke 5:1–9. “Launch Out into the Deep” (see also Matthew 4:18–22; Mark 1:16–20)

At the time of his call to be a disciple, Simon Peter was working as a successful fisherman who, with his partners, owned at least two ships. Yet Peter was willing to forsake everything to follow Jesus Christ. The account of Simon Peter forsaking a spectacular catch of fish to follow the Savior is found only in Luke, though a similar event that occurred after the Resurrection is recorded in John 21:2–6. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, while serving as a dean at Brigham Young University, explained the significance of this event in Peter’s life:

Christ and Peter with net of fishes

Cast Your Net to the Other Side, by Minerva Teichert

“Peter was, in President [Spencer W.] Kimball’s words, ‘a diamond in the rough—a diamond that would need to be cut, trimmed, and polished by correction, chastisement, and trials—but nevertheless a diamond of real quality. The Savior knew this apostle could be trusted to receive the keys of the kingdom’ [‘Peter, My Brother,’ Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year (July 13, 1971), 2]. Time was short. Much had to be done in a matter of months. Jesus prepared Peter as quickly as possible for the call that was to come.

“‘Launch out into the deep,’ he counseled this fisherman one morning in Galilee, ‘and let down your nets for a draught.’ (Luke 5:4.) After an unsuccessful night of effort, Peter’s expert judgment told him a final effort was useless. But this was a man of genuinely childlike faith, and he lowered the net. The number of fish taken in that single attempt strained the strings until they began to break and filled two boats until they began to sink. In that small ship Peter kneeled, stunned, at the feet of the Master. Jesus said lovingly, ‘Henceforth thou shalt catch men.’ (Luke 5:10.)

Launch out into the deep! Peter could not have known the ever-widening circles that single command would make in the stream of his plain and simple life. He was launching out into the expanse of godliness, into the eternal possibilities of redeemed and celestial life. He would be learning the mysteries of the kingdom. He would be hearing unspeakable things. To launch out into that limitless sea of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Peter brought his craft to shore, turned his back on the most spectacular single catch ever taken from Galilee, ‘forsook all, and followed him.’ (Luke 5:11.)

“From that moment on Jesus taught and trained Peter at every opportunity” (“The Lengthening Shadow of Peter,” Ensign, Sept. 1975, 32).

Luke 5:8. Peter Saw Himself as a Sinful Man

When Peter first met the Savior and witnessed His miraculous power, Peter recognized that he was “a sinful man” in great need of the Savior’s redeeming power (Luke 5:8). Peter’s words illustrate that as we draw near to God, we become aware of our sinfulness and unworthiness and desire His help in becoming more like Him.

Luke 5:10–11. “They Forsook All, and Followed Him” (see also Matthew 4:22; Mark 1:20)

Peter, James, and John exemplified the qualities of discipleship as “they forsook all” and followed the Savior. President James E. Faust (1920–2007) of the First Presidency used the experience of Peter and his partners James and John to teach about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ:

video icon“Jesus said to Peter, ‘Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.’ Luke then tells us, ‘When they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him’ [Luke 5:10–11]. They became the Lord’s disciples.

“The word for disciple and the word for discipline both come from the same Latin root—discipulus, which means pupil. It emphasizes practice or exercise. Self-discipline and self-control are consistent and permanent characteristics of the followers of Jesus, as exemplified by Peter, James, and John, who indeed ‘forsook all, and followed him.’

Christ Calling Peter and Andrew

Christ Calling Peter and Andrew, by Harry Anderson

“What is discipleship? It is primarily obedience to the Savior. Discipleship includes many things. It is chastity. It is tithing. It is family home evening. It is keeping all the commandments. It is forsaking anything that is not good for us. …

“… Discipleship [requires] us to forsake evil transgression and enjoy what President Spencer W. Kimball has called ‘the miracle of forgiveness’ [see The Miracle of Forgiveness (1969), 362]. This can come only through repentance, which means that we forsake sin and resolve each day to be followers of truth and righteousness. As Jesus taught, ‘What manner of men ought ye to be? Verily I say unto you, even as I am’ [3 Nephi 27:27]” (“Discipleship,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 20, 22). To read more about Jesus Christ’s disciples forsaking their nets, see the commentary for Matthew 4:18–22.

Luke 5–6. Commentary Found Elsewhere in This Manual

Many of the teachings and events in the Savior’s ministry that are found in Luke 5–6 are also found in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. The following chart identifies where you can find student manual commentary for these teachings and events:

Location of Topic in Luke

Commentary in This Manual

Luke 5:12–15. Jesus Christ healed a leper.

Mark 1:40–45

Luke 5:17–26. Jesus healed a man with palsy.

Mark 2:2–5

Luke 5:27–32. Jesus called Levi (Matthew) to follow Him.

Matthew 9:9–13

Luke 5:36–39. Christ told the parables of the old and new garments and bottles.

Matthew 9:14–17

Luke 6:1–11. Jesus taught about proper Sabbath observance.

Mark 2:23–3:7 and Mark 2:27–28

Luke 6:12–13. The Savior chose Twelve Apostles.

Matthew 10:1–5

Luke 6:17–49. Christ taught the Sermon on the Plain.

Multiple commentaries for Matthew 5–7 (Sermon on the Mount) beginning with Matthew 5:1–12

Luke 5:39. “No Man Also Having Drunk Old Wine Straightway Desireth New”

Elder Bruce R. McConkie suggested that the Savior likely gave the one-verse parable in Luke 5:39 in response to a question from disciples of John the Baptist, recorded in Matthew 9:14–17. The meaning of the Savior’s words can be understood in this way: “In following John, who was sent of my Father to prepare the way before me, you have conformed to the law of Moses [the old wine]. Now, however, [one] greater than Moses is here, even the Messiah, and as John taught, you must now follow him, even though it is difficult for you to ‘straightway’ turn from your old teachings and accept the new” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 1:186). Following the counsel of the scriptures and the living prophets can be very difficult when these inspired teachings challenge one’s personal views or traditions.

Luke 6:17–49. The Sermon on the Plain

Many of the teachings in the Savior’s Sermon on the Plain, recorded in Luke 6, are identical or similar to the teachings in the Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew 5–7. In describing the setting for these teachings, Luke’s account differs from Matthew’s by stating that Jesus Christ “came down” from the mountain with the Twelve and “stood in the plain,” where He began to heal and teach “a great multitude” (Luke 6:17). It is unclear whether “the plain” refers to a low place apart from the mountain or a plateau within the mount. Because of this uncertainty, there are varying views regarding whether the Sermon on the Mount recorded by Matthew and the Sermon on the Plain recorded by Luke were the same or different events. However, the chronological placement and the context of Luke’s record seem to indicate that the same sermon is being recorded in Luke 6 and Matthew 5–7.

While the two accounts of the sermon have much in common, Luke’s account includes several distinctive elements. For example, the Beatitudes recorded by Luke, such as “Blessed are ye that hunger now” (Luke 6:21), are followed with contrasting woes that do not appear in Matthew, such as, “Woe unto you that are full!” (Luke 6:25). This declaration from the Savior can mean that those who are full of a sense of their own righteousness will not hunger and thirst after Him. The Savior also declared, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!” (Luke 6:26), meaning that those who are striving to act righteously will often offend those seeking to do evil.

The inclusion of these teachings contributes to a theme Luke repeatedly emphasized throughout his Gospel—that Jesus Christ came to correct the unjust conditions of a fallen world (see Luke 1:50–53; 16:19–31). The Sermon on the Plain also includes teachings on lending (see Luke 6:34–35), showing mercy (see Luke 6:36–37), and giving generously (see Luke 6:38) that are not found in Matthew 5–7.

Luke 6:38. “Pressed Down, and Shaken Together, and Running Over”

As recorded in Luke 6:38, the Savior asked us to give to others abundantly. The image He used is of a harvest basket that has been filled with produce beyond the specified amount. Then the contents of the basket have been “pressed down” and “shaken together” so that even more produce can be added—until the basket is “running over.” This image of giving abundantly carries with it a corresponding blessing—those who do so will receive from others the same measure of generosity. The Savior’s instruction to give generously applies to material offerings (see Luke 6:30, 34–35) as well as to intangible gifts, such as love, mercy, and forgiveness (see Luke 6:32–37). Commenting on this verse, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency asked, “Shouldn’t this promise be enough to always focus our efforts on acts of kindness, forgiveness, and charity instead of on any negative behavior?” (“The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 76).

Luke 7:2–10. A Centurion of Great Faith (see also Matthew 8:5–10)

A centurion was an officer in the Roman army in command of a company of 50 to 100 men. The Jews generally viewed centurions with contempt, for they symbolized the Roman political and military authority. However, Luke highlighted several admirable qualities of this particular centurion. He was altruistic, centering his request on the needs of his servant, “who was dear unto him” (Luke 7:2). The centurion’s goodness was affirmed by elders of the Jews. He demonstrated genuine humility, deeming himself unworthy to visit Jesus in person or to have Jesus enter his house (see Luke 7:6–7). Another reason the centurion may not have sought a personal visit with Jesus is that observant Jews were forbidden to have close contact with Gentiles, such as eating with them or entering their homes.

The centurion, however, did not allow his feelings of unworthiness to prevent him from seeking the Savior’s help. He exercised tremendous faith in Jesus Christ, believing His word alone was sufficient to heal the servant. The centurion acknowledged Jesus’s divine authority and by using the word also likened it unto the military authority with which he was familiar (see Luke 7:8). The Savior’s response that He had “not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (Luke 7:9) corresponds with His messianic declaration that He was anointed to bless all who would accept Him (see Luke 4:16–30) and supports Luke’s theme regarding the Lord’s concern for Gentiles.

ruins of a Capernaum synagogue

Ruins of a Capernaum synagogue dating to the fourth or fifth century A.D. Beneath the remains of the white limestone synagogue, the black basalt foundation of an earlier synagogue can be seen. It has been dated to the first century A.D. and is likely the synagogue built by the centurion, as described in Luke 7:5. In this synagogue, the Savior taught (see Mark 1:21; John 6:59), cast evil spirits out of a man (see Mark 1:21–26), and healed a man with a withered hand (see Mark 2:1; 3:1–5).

Photograph by Richard L. W. Cleave

Luke 7:11–18. Jesus Christ Restored to Life the Son of a Widow of Nain

The account of this miracle, found only in Luke, is one of three accounts of Jesus bringing a dead person back to life (see also Mark 5:35–43; John 11:1–44). The young man described in Luke 7 was “the only son of his mother, and she was a widow” (Luke 7:12). The loss of her only son meant that the widow was left without means of temporal support. Those who witnessed Jesus Christ restore the young man to life acknowledged, “A great prophet is risen up among us” (Luke 7:16). This statement suggests that the miracle may have prompted people to note similarities between the ministries of the Savior and two ancient prophets. Centuries earlier, Elijah had restored to life the son of a widow at Zarephath (see 1 Kings 17:17–24), and Elisha had raised the son of a widow in the village of Shunem, just three miles (five kilometers) northwest of Nain (see 2 Kings 4:17–22, 32–37).

Christ Raises the Son of the Widow of Nain

Christ Raises the Son of the Widow of Nain, by Robert T. Barrett

President Thomas S. Monson invited us to follow the Savior’s example of compassion: “Few accounts of the Master’s ministry touch me more than His example of compassion shown to the grieving widow at Nain. … What power, what tenderness, what compassion did our Master 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 and 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” (“Meeting Life’s Challenges,” Ensign, Nov. 1993, 71).

Luke 7:19–23. Why Did John the Baptist Send Disciples to Jesus Christ?

To better understand why John sent disciples to the Savior, see the commentary for Matthew 11:2–6.

Luke 7:24–30. “There Is Not a Greater Prophet Than John the Baptist”

The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–44) gave three reasons why John the Baptist is considered one of the greatest of prophets:

“First. He was entrusted with a divine mission of preparing the way before the face of the Lord. Whoever had such a trust committed to him before or since? No man.

“Secondly. He was entrusted with the important mission, and it was required at his hands, to baptize the Son of Man. Whoever had the honor of doing that? Whoever had so great a privilege and glory? …

“Thirdly. John, at that time, was the only legal administrator in the affairs of the kingdom there was then on the earth, and holding the keys of power. … These three reasons constitute him the greatest prophet born” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 81–82).

Luke 7:28. “He That Is Least in the Kingdom of God Is Greater Than He”

Jesus Christ referred to Himself when he spoke of “he that is least in the kingdom of God” (Luke 7:28), as the Prophet Joseph Smith explained: “Whom did Jesus have reference to as being the least? Jesus was looked upon as having the least claim in God’s kingdom, and [seemingly] was least entitled to their credulity as a prophet; as though He had said—‘He that is considered the least among you is greater than John—that is I myself’” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 82).

Luke 7:31–35. Children in the Market

To better understand the analogy of children in the market, see the commentary for Matthew 11:16–19.

Luke 7:36–50. “She Is a Sinner”

While dining with a Pharisee named Simon, Jesus Christ was approached by a woman who had a reputation as a sinner (see Luke 7:37, 39). While she was apparently not invited to the feast, the woman was able to enter Simon’s house because of social customs that allowed people in need to visit banquets and receive leftover food. The woman washed the Savior’s feet with her tears, kissed his feet, and anointed them with an ointment. Simon saw this action and, in his thoughts, criticized Jesus Christ for allowing the woman to touch Him. In response, the Lord called attention to Simon’s own faults. In contrast to the woman’s acts of devotion toward the Savior, Simon had given Jesus no water to wash His feet, had offered no kiss of greeting, and had not anointed His head with oil. By purposely withholding these customary acts of kindness for a guest, Simon had demonstrated a lack of respect for the Savior.

Jesus then told a parable that presented both Simon and the woman as sinners who owed a debt to divine justice (see Luke 7:40–43). Despite the woman’s greater sins, it was she, not Simon, who received the Savior’s blessings of forgiveness and peace because of her faith in the Savior and repentance of her sins (see Luke 7:48, 50). Consistent with the Savior’s parable, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that each of us needs to feel the Savior’s love and forgiveness, regardless of the nature or magnitude of our sins:

video icon“There are many degrees of personal worthiness and righteousness. Yet repentance is a blessing to all of us. We each need to feel the Savior’s arms of mercy through the forgiveness of our sins.

“Years ago, I was asked to meet with a man who, long before our visit, had had a period of riotous living. As a result of his bad choices, he lost his membership in the Church. He had long since returned to the Church and was faithfully keeping the commandments, but his previous actions haunted him. Meeting with him, I felt his shame and his deep remorse at having set his covenants aside. Following our interview, I placed my hands upon his head to give him a priesthood blessing. Before speaking a word, I felt an overpowering sense of the Savior’s love and forgiveness for him. Following the blessing, we embraced and the man wept openly.

“I am amazed at the Savior’s encircling arms of mercy and love for the repentant, no matter how selfish the forsaken sin. I testify that the Savior is able and eager to forgive our sins. Except for the sins of those few who choose perdition after having known a fulness, there is no sin that cannot be forgiven. What a marvelous privilege for each of us to turn away from our sins and to come unto Christ. Divine forgiveness is one of the sweetest fruits of the gospel, removing guilt and pain from our hearts and replacing them with joy and peace of conscience” (“Repent … That I May Heal You,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 40–41).

One week before the Savior’s Crucifixion, Mary, the sister of Lazarus, also anointed the Savior’s feet. At that time, the anointing was in anticipation of the Savior’s death and burial (see John 12:3, 7).

Luke 7:47. “To Whom Little Is Forgiven, the Same Loveth Little”

By declaring, “To whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little” (Luke 7:47), Jesus Christ taught that people who choose not to seek the blessings of divine forgiveness for their sins are showing their lack of love for Him. Elder Marion D. Hanks (1921–2011) of the Presidency of the Seventy said of this teaching: “There is here, of course, no encouragement or condoning of sin. [The woman] had been converted by the Lord and sorely repented, and would obey his commandments and accept his forgiveness. And there would be rejoicing in heaven and should be on earth” (“He Means Me,” Ensign, May 1979, 75).

In addition, we are warned that deliberate sin mocks the Savior’s Atonement. We should show our love for the Savior by striving to keep His commandments and sincerely repenting of our sins. “If you delay repentance, you may lose blessings, opportunities, and spiritual guidance. You may also become further entangled in sinful behavior, making it more difficult to find your way back” (For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011], 28).

Luke 8. Commentary Found Elsewhere in This Manual

Many of the teachings and events in the Savior’s ministry that are found in Luke 8 are also found in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. The following chart identifies where you can find student manual commentary for these teachings and events:

Location of Topic in Luke

Commentary in This Manual

Luke 8:4–15. Christ gave the parable of the sower.

Matthew 13:4–8

Luke 8:19–21. “My mother and my brethren … hear the word of God, and do it.”

Matthew 12:48–50

Luke 8:22–25. Jesus Christ calmed a storm.

Mark 4:35–41

Luke 8:26–40. The Savior cast out a legion of devils.

Mark 5:1–20

Luke 8:39. “Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee.”

Mark 5:19

Luke 8:41–56. Jesus Christ raised Jairus’s daughter from the dead.

Mark 5:22–24, 35–42

Luke 8:43–48. The Savior healed a woman with an issue of blood.

Mark 5:25–34

Luke 8:1–3. Women Ministered unto Christ

Luke’s account of the women who traveled with Jesus emphasized the Savior’s concern for all people, including women—who were sometimes marginalized in first-century Jewish society. During the Savior’s ministry in Galilee, teaching in “every city and village” of the region (Luke 8:1), His Apostles traveled with Him, as did many women, some of whom had been healed of various maladies. Others could have been wives of the Apostles. Some women followed Jesus to the time of His death and beyond (see Luke 23:27; 24:10; John 20:11–18). Using the means they had, these women were supporting Jesus and His leaders. 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).

Mary Magdalene, the woman to whom the resurrected Savior first appeared (see John 20:10–18), was one of the women who accompanied Jesus. Luke recorded that the Savior had cast seven devils out of her (see Luke 8:2). Mary Magdalene should not be confused with the sinful woman mentioned in Luke 7:36–50 or with Mary of Bethany (see Luke 10:38–42; John 11:1). Mary Magdalene held an honored place in the kingdom—implied in John 20:10–18 and other passages.

    Points to Ponder

  • Review Luke 6:35–36. When have you experienced Heavenly Father’s generosity and kindness? How will you seek to make these attributes part of your character?

  • Review Luke 7:1–10. What are some ways in which you, like the centurion, can choose to show great faith in Jesus Christ?

  • What do you learn about the Savior’s regard for women from the accounts of the widow of Nain, the woman who washed the Savior’s feet, and the women who ministered to Jesus Christ? (see Luke 7:11–15; 7:36–50; 8:2–3).

    Suggested Assignments

  • Study the account of the Savior’s temptations in the wilderness recorded in Luke 4:1–13. Luke’s account of these temptations shows that the Savior was unwilling to deliberately place Himself in circumstances from which He would need divine rescue (see the commentary for Luke 4:9–12). Write a one-page essay or journal entry about how you can follow the Savior’s example by avoiding situations, activities, and materials that are physically and spiritually harmful.

  • Write a talk about repentance. To explain and illustrate aspects of repentance, use the example of the woman who washed the Savior’s feet, recorded in Luke 7:36–50, and the information under “Repentance” in True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (2004), pages 132–35.