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New Testament

Week 10: Luke 9:51–19:44.


1) Two things that make Luke so interesting among the Synoptic Gospels are:
a) He rearranges a significant amount of the material he shares with Mark and Matthew,
moving it to earlier in Jesus’ ministry, and sometimes changing the context and
audience.1
b) He also has a large amount of unique material that is not found in Mark and Matthew—
over one third Luke is not found in the other two Synoptics.
i) Much of this unique material is found in Luke 9:51–18:14, a section that is
sometimes called “Luke’s special section.” It contains stories and parables that are
not found in the other gospels, such as the parables of the Good Samaritan and the
Prodigal Son.
(1) It is also sometimes called the “Journey Narrative,” because it begins with Jesus
travelling toward Jerusalem, and ends with his arrival there. It’s essentially one
long “road trip to Jerusalem,” with Jesus teaching and interacting with people
along the way.2
(a) We can contrast this with the Jerusalem journeys in Mark (10:32–11:1) and
Matthew (20:17–21:1), which are much shorter and less eventful.
2) 10:1–20 (§139/40). Sending out of the Seventy.
a) While all four New Testament Gospels discuss the Twelve Apostles, only Luke recounts
the calling of the Seventy.
b) The charge Jesus gave the Seventy in Luke 10:1–12 is the same one he had given to the
Twelve in Matthew (9:37–38; 10:7–16).3
c) The King James Version of Luke 10:1 says that “the Lord appointed other seventy also.”
Some have thought this referred to a second body of Seventy. But the Greek can mean
“seventy others,” which would suggest that Christ selected seventy additional apostles.4

1
For example, the story of the woman who anoints Jesus with ointment takes place at the end of Jesus’ ministry in Mark
(14:3–9) and Matthew (26:6–13), where Jesus describes the act as an anointing to prepare him for burial, while Luke (7:36–
50) has this episode take place in Galilee, before he begins a long journey to Jerusalem, and changes the importance of the act
from his burial to an act of repentance on the woman’s part. (See the section on Mary of Bethany beginning on page 3.)
Another example includes the context and timing of the Lord’s Prayer: Matthew (6:9–13) places this in the context of the
Sermon on the Mount (5:1–7:29), making is part of a long discourse on discipleship. Luke’s version of the Prayer (11:1–4) is
completely disconnected from the Sermon on the Plain (6:20–49), and is followed by instructions on persistence and receiving
answers to prayer (11:5–13).
2
The sense of movement is not always obvious, but references to his progress occur from time to time: See Luke 13:22,
33–34; 17:11; 18:31; 19:11; 19:28.
3
In Luke, these words are spoken only to the Seventy, not to the Twelve. This is another example of Luke taking Synoptic
material and changing the context and audience (see section , page 1).
4
The word apostle comes from the Greek ’απόστολος (apostolos), meaning “one sent forth.” Luke 10:1 indicates that Jesus
sent (apostello) the Seventy, making them “apostles” as well. Several passages from early LDS records call the Seventy by the
term apostle. The History of the Church notes, "This day [28 December 1835] the Council of the Seventy met to render an
account of their travels and ministry, since they were ordained to that Apostleship” (2:346). At the dedication of the Kirtland
Temple in March 1836, Joseph Smith indicated that “the presidents of Seventies [act]…as Apostles and special witnesses to the
nations, to assist the Twelve in opening the Gospel kingdom among all people” (History of the Church 2:418). Brigham Young,
addressed the Seventies as “apostles to the nations to carry the gospel” (HC 7:307), and Wilford Woodruff spoke of “the Twelve
Apostles and the Seventy Apostles” (Journal of Discourses 4:147; 18:126).

© 2010, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: Luke 9:51–19:44 Week 10, Page 2

d) At 10:1 and 10:17, some of the earliest Greek manuscripts read “seventy-two,” and this
reading is used in some modern Bible translations.5
e) Though very little is known about the Seventy in the early Christian church, the few
hints left us in the Bible and in the writings of Church Fathers suggest that replacement
members of the Twelve may sometimes have been called from the Seventy. This, in turn,
indicates that the earliest Christians intended that these two ruling bodies be
perpetuated.6
3) 10:25–37 (§143/144). The Parable of the Good Samaritan.
a) This parable is perhaps the most well-known of all of Jesus’ teachings. The phrase “good
Samaritan” has almost become a cliché, and is part of our everyday talk and legal
language, even among people who have never read the Bible or even know what a
Samaritan is.7
i) The Samaritans were descendants of a mixture of two groups: The remnant of native
Israelites who were not deported after the fall of the Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C.,
and foreign colonists brought in by the Assyrian conquerors to settle the land.
ii) There was theological opposition between the Samaritans and the Jews because the
Samaritans refused to worship in Jerusalem.8 After the Babylonian exile the
Samaritans put obstacles in the way of the Jewish restoration of Jerusalem, and in
the 2nd century B.C. the Samaritans helped the Syrian Greeks in their wars against
the Jews. In 128 B.C. the Jewish high priest retaliated and burned the Samaritan
temple on Mount Gerizim.
iii) The Jewish hatred of the Samaritans was so intense that Jews traveling north-south
between Galilee and Judea most often took the long way around, going west to the
Mediterranean coast or east to the Jordan River.9
b) 10:25–28. It begins, as many of Jesus’ teachings do, with a question: A lawyer—an
expert in the religious law—tests Jesus by asking him, “Master, what shall I do to inherit
eternal life?”
i) Jesus, the Master Teacher, turns the question around and asks the lawyer what he
thinks the answer is, based on his reading of the Law. The lawyer answers by quoting
Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, which Jesus affirms, “this do, and thou shalt
live.”10
ii) But Luke records that the lawyer’s question wasn’t an honest one: He wasn’t seeking
to determine the right way to live, but merely to limit his responsibility for loving to
5
The NIV, NET, ESV, CEV, and NLT all use “seventy-two,” while the NRSV, NASB, and RSV read “seventy.” The NAB
reads “seventy (-two),” with a parenthetical. If seventy-two is the original reading, then Luke could be finding significance in
six groups of twelve (6×12=72).
6
See John A. Tvedtnes, “Scripture Insight: ‘The Lord Appointed Other Seventy Also,’” Insights 19/4 (FARMS, 1999);
http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/insights/?vol=19&num=4&id=65
7
Recently my 14-year-old son saw a “Good Sam” sticker on the back of a recreational vehicle, and asked me what it was. I
explained that Good Sam is an organization that provides services to RV owners, like emergency roadside assistance. He asked
if the name was short for “good Samaritan.” This small example demonstrates how much the phrase has entered into the
public consciousness.
8
In his instructions to the Twelve, Jesus told them not to preach to Gentiles and Samaritans (Matthew 10:5–6). The
Jewish leaders accused Jesus of being a Samaritan and being possessed by a devil (John 8:48).
9
When Jesus did travel through Samaria, the gospels note as an exception based on need (e.g., John 4:4).
10
This is still another example of words used in one context in Mark and Matthew being given a completely different
context in Luke (see section , page 1). In Mark 12:28–34 and Matthew 22:34–40, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus
19:18 in answer to the challenge “which is the great commandment in the law?” In Luke, however, the phrase is spoken by a
lawyer in response to Jesus’ question.

© 2010, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: Luke 9:51–19:44 Week 10, Page 3

only a select few and thereby justify his behavior before God (10:29). Jesus
condemns him with a parable.
c) The strength of Jesus’ parable is sometimes lost on us today because we don’t realize the
standing that priests and Levites had in the Jewish community. These men were
supposed to be the most righteous and pious of all, the people who would set the perfect
example of living God’s law.
i) Let’s rephrase it for modern LDS readers:
A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves,
30b

which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him
half dead. 31And by chance there came down a certain [temple president] that
way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32And likewise [an area
authority seventy], when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed
by on the other side. 33But a certain [Shi‘a Muslim], as he journeyed, came where
he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34And went to him, and
bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and
brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
ii) Jesus concludes by asking the lawyer which of the three was a neighbor to the man
that day. The lawyer responds that it was the Samaritan who showed mercy to him.
iii) Jesus’ conclusion, “Go, and do thou likewise,” reminds us that it is action, not
position, that determine righteousness. There are those whom we hold in high
regard because of their station but who are not terribly righteous, and those whom
we may despise who really are quite righteous.11
iv) Ultimately everyone is our neighbor, and we are under obligation to help all who
need assistance.
4) 10:38–42 (§145). Mary and Martha.
a) There are five Marys in the New Testament; this one is Mary of Bethany. (See handout.)
i) Mary of Bethany was a disciple of Jesus and the sister of Martha and Lazarus (the
man whom Jesus raised from the dead in John 11).
ii) In John’s gospel, she anointed Jesus’ feet with ointment and wiped his feet with her
hair (John 12:1–8).
(1) Luke (7:35–50) has a similar account of a woman “which was a sinner” who
washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, and anointed them
with ointment, after which Jesus told her, “Thy sins are forgiven.”
(2) Matthew (26:6–13) and Mark (14:3–9) also have their own account of an
unnamed woman of Bethany anointing Jesus’ head with ointment.
(3) It’s not certain if these are all based on the same account, or if they are two (or
three) separate stories.
(4) If John and Luke are the same story, then Mary was apparently a repentant
sinner whom Jesus had forgiven.
b) Jesus’ gentle admonishment of Martha, “thou art careful and troubled about many
things” (KJV) means that she was “worried and distracted” (NRSV) by temporal
concerns, while Mary had chosen the “better part” by focusing on spiritual things while
11
To clarify my point: I am not accusing LDS temple presidents and area authority seventies of unrighteousness. I’m
merely rewording Jesus’ parable, using examples that will resonate among 21st-century American Latter-day Saints.

© 2010, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: Luke 9:51–19:44 Week 10, Page 4

she had access to Jesus. Finding that balance in our lives is one of the most difficult
challenges we face.
i) This brief account of the sisters Mary and Martha was the subject of the General
Relief Society Meeting in September 2003. At that meeting President Bonnie D.
Parkin said:
Like Mary, I hunger to feast at the Savior’s feet, while, like Martha, I need to
somehow find the laundry room floor, empty my in-box, and serve my husband
something other than cold pizza. I have 15 grandchildren whose tender little spirits
and daily challenges I want to better understand, yet I also have a slightly
demanding Church calling! I don’t have lots of time. Like all of you, I have to
choose. We all are trying to choose the good part which cannot be taken from us,
to balance the spiritual and the temporal in our lives….
I don’t believe the Lord was saying there are Marthas and there are Marys. Jesus
did not dismiss Martha’s concern, but instead redirected her focus by saying choose
“that good part.” And what is that? The prophet Lehi taught that we “should look
to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful
unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit” (2
Nephi 2:28).12
5) 13:10–17 (§163). Healing on the sabbath.
a) Jesus heals a woman of a spirit that had caused her a physical affliction for eighteen
years, but the leader of the synagogue where the healing took place complains because
the miracle was performed on the sabbath day.
i) Jesus responds that it is good to do good things and necessary to do necessary things
on the sabbath.
(1) This is similar to Jesus’ teaching in Mark that “the sabbath was made for man,
and not man for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27).13
b) I think the warning here is that we not become like the overly-legalistic synagogue
leader, making lists of all the things we can’t do on the sabbath, but rather look for the
good things we should do on the sabbath.
i) Certainly if someone is in temporal need, we should assist them. For example, if a
neighbor was moving in across the street on a Sunday, I would certainly think that
the need to provide assistance to her outweighs the requirement to do no work on
the sabbath.
c) On the other hand, we need to be careful that we don’t look for ways to justify breaking
the sabbath for our own pleasure.
i) Among the Saints we sometimes hear the phrase “the ox is in the mire” as a way of
getting away with things that shouldn’t be done on the sabbath.
(1) That phrase doesn’t even appear in the scriptures14 (more on that in a second),
although the basic concept is valid: We must sometimes do necessary things on
the sabbath day. But, as Spencer W. Kimball taught, “The Savior knew that the ox

12
Bonnie D. Parkin, “Choosing Charity: That Good Part,” General Relief Society Meeting, September 2003;
http://lds.org/ensign/2003/11/choosing-charity-that-good-part
13
The context of Mark 2:23–28 was Jesus’ disciples gleaning as they passed through a wheat field on the sabbath, and
being accused of sabbath-breaking by the Pharisees.
14
The closest analogue is Jesus rhetorical question in Luke 14:5, “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit,
and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?”

© 2010, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: Luke 9:51–19:44 Week 10, Page 5

gets in the mire on the Sabbath, but he knew also that no ox deliberately goes into
the mire every week.”15
ii) That phrase—“the ox is in the mire”—could be classified as a “parascripture”: A
phrase that sounds like it comes from the scriptures, but really doesn’t.16
(1) Sometimes parascriptures accurately sum up a teaching that is in the scriptures.
For example, the phrase “be in the world but not of the world” is not in the
scriptures, but it can be reasonably argued that it’s an adequate summary of
Jesus’ teachings in John 15–17.
(2) Other times parascriptures run contrary to the teachings of the scriptures. For
example, a popular wall hanging has Jesus saying, “I never said it would be easy,
I only said it would be worth it,” which runs contrary to Jesus’ teaching that “my
yoke is easy” (Matthew 11:30).
(3) The point is that we need to root our lives in the scriptures and the teachings of
the prophets, and be careful that we don’t follow clever and well-meaning but
false sentiments. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland taught:
When crises come in our lives—and they will—the philosophies of men
interlaced with a few scriptures and poems just won’t do. Are we really
nurturing our youth and our new members in a way that will sustain them when
the stresses of life appear? Or are we giving them a kind of theological Twinkie
—spiritually empty calories? President John Taylor once called such teaching
“fried froth,” the kind of thing you could eat all day and yet finish feeling
totally unsatisfied.17
6) 15:11–32 (§173). The Parable of the Prodigal Son.
a) This is another of Jesus’ most famous teachings, and, like the Good Samaritan, is found
only in Luke.
b) Like many of Jesus’ parables, it has layers of meaning and interpretation, but the
primary message is the value of a lost soul that repents.
i) The full context begins with Luke 15:1–2, where Jesus is criticized for dining and
keeping company with sinners. In response, he gives the parables of the Lost Sheep
(15:3–7) and the Lost Coin (15:8–10). His point in these parables is to describe the
joy in heaven over one sinner who repents.
ii) He then concludes his teaching with a final, long parable about a young man who
wastes his inheritance, ruins his life, and returns to his father, where he is received
with rejoicing.
c) The brilliance of this parable, in my opinion, is that we can see ourselves in every
character: Sometimes in my life I am the prodigal son, sometimes I am the faithful
brother, and sometimes I am the forgiving father.
d) Note also that the parable doesn’t have a tidy conclusion: We are left with the father’s
instruction to the faithful brother, without hearing the brother’s reaction. This is almost
15
Spencer W. Kimball, “Keep Your Money Clean,” General Conference, October 1953;
http://scriptures.byu.edu/gettalk.php?ID=667
16
The word “para-scripture” was coined by Hugh Nibley in his 1979 address “How Firm a Foundation! What Makes It So.”
See Approaching Zion (FARMS and Deseret Book, 1989), 149–77; http://maxwellinstitute.byu.edu/publications/books/?
bookid=75&chapid=932
17
Jeffrey R. Holland, “‘A Teacher Come from God,’” General Conference, April 1998; http://lds.org/ensign/1998/05/a-
teacher-come-from-god

© 2010, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: Luke 9:51–19:44 Week 10, Page 6

certainly done on purpose so that the reader (who probably sees him- or herself in the
role of the faithful child) can decide how best to respond to Jesus’ instruction.18
7) 16:19–31 (§177). Lazarus and the rich man.
a) There are two main characters in this parable, Lazarus and an unnamed rich man.
i) This Lazarus is not the same man that Jesus raised from the dead in John chapter 11.
His name is the Greek form of the Hebrew Eleazar, meaning “whom God helps.”
Like many other poor individuals in scripture, Lazarus is depicted as pious.
ii) The rich man, though unnamed, is commonly called “Dives”; his name derives from
the Latin Vulgate Bible, in which the Latin dives means “rich man.” Like many other
rich individuals in scripture, Dives is depicted as unconcerned with his spiritual
welfare until it is too late.
b) Lazarus dies and is taken to “Abraham’s bosom,” an expression which refers to a blessed
state in the afterlife with the most faithful of the Old Testament prophets.19
c) The rich man also dies and goes to Hades (KJV “hell”). As we discussed back in lesson 7,
Hades is the world of departed spirits, not eternal damnation.20 In Latter-day Saint
terminology we would say that the rich man went to spirit prison.
d) Between the two was a “great gulf” or chasm, separating the wicked in prison from the
righteous in paradise,21 which no one could cross.
i) Latter-day Saints have a unique perspective on this separation. Joseph Fielding
Smith wrote:
Before the crucifixion of the Lord there was a great gulf fixed separating the
righteous dead from those who had not received the Gospel, and across this gulf no
man could pass. Christ bridged that gulf and made it possible for the word of
salvation to be taken to all corners of the kingdom of darkness. In this way the
realms of hell were invaded and the dead prepared for the ordinances of the
Gospel which must be performed on earth since they pertain to the mortal
probation.22
e) Through this parable Jesus emphasizes the importance of repentance and working
righteousness in this life, for it will be impossible to change our course in the afterlife.
The Book of Mormon prophet Amulek taught:
For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day
of this life is the day for men to perform their labors…therefore, I beseech of you that
ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of
life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time
while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor
performed. (Alma 34:33; cf. 12:24.)

18
In this case, it’s a lot like the story of Jonah, which concludes with the Lord’s upbraiding of Jonah and without hearing
Jonah’s response. In that case, we, the reader, are supposed to ask ourselves how we would respond in the same situation. See
Old Testament lesson6 15, page ; http://scr.bi/LDSARCOT15n
19
Compare this to D&C 132:29, 49, where we are informed that Abraham “hath entered into his exaltation and sitteth
upon his throne.” See also D&C 132:49; 137:5.
20
See notes for week 7, pages 9–10; http://scr.bi/LDSARCNT07n
21
Compare Nephi1’s vision of “an awful gulf, which separated the wicked from the tree of life, and also from the saints of
God” (1 Nephi 15:28–30).
22
Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way to Perfection (Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949), 165.

© 2010, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: Luke 9:51–19:44 Week 10, Page 7

f) It’s uncertain if the parable of Lazarus and the rich young man was based on a real
event, or if it was purely a fictional allegory. Either way, the point is the same: We must
repent and serve God in this life, for afterward it will be too late to change our ways.
8) On January 5th we’ll conclude our study of Luke.
a) Reading: Luke 19:45–24:53.

© 2010, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.