Luke 18:1-14 Prayer
Jesus teaches a short parable about prayer. Read verses 2-5 and identify a principle or lesson you learn. Then read verses 1, 5-8 to see what Matthew, and then Jesus, said about this parable. Let us persevere in prayer.
Read Jesus’s next prayer parable in verses 9-14, noting the extreme differences between the Pharisee and the publican. Why can it be said that this parable is about much more than prayer?
Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12 Marriage and Divorce
There are many varied commentaries about these teachings, but what seems clear is that in Matthew 19:8 and Mark 10:5, Jesus taught that because of society’s mismanagement of marriage, the Lord bears with divorce, but it is not part of His eternal plan for His children. While divorce is sometimes necessary in mortality, “from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8).
Consider this insight from Elder James E. Talmage’s book, Jesus the Christ: “In our Lord’s day the prevailing laxity in the matter of marital obligation had produced a state of appalling corruption in Israel; and woman, who by the law of God had been made a companion and partner with man, had become his slave. The world’s greatest champion of woman and womanhood is Jesus the Christ” (chapter 27).
Consider this from President James E. Faust: “In my opinion, ‘just cause’ [for divorce] should be nothing less serious than a prolonged and apparently irredeemable relationship that is destructive of a person’s dignity as a human being” (Finding Light in a Dark World, p. 136; see also Ensign, May 1993, pp. 35-37; Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:547).
Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17 “Suffer Little Children”
Read these verses from all three Gospel writers. What do you think it means to “receive the kingdom of God as a little child”? (Mark 10:15; Luke 18:17). What experiences have you had that help you appreciate the Savior’s words and actions in these verses?
Mark 10:17-30 To Inherit Eternal Life (see also Matthew 19:16-29; Luke 18:18-30)
Here we have another well-known and oft-cited story of our Savior, found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke:
- A “young man” (Matthew 19:20) who was “very rich” (Luke 18:23) and was also a “ruler” (Luke 18:18) “came running, and kneeled” before Jesus (Mark 10:17).
- Read Mark 10:17. Note that Matthew and Luke also record that the young man asked Jesus what he must “do” to inherit eternal life. Clearly our “doings” (works) matter, but they must be part of the process of what we are becoming—our character and our godly attributes.
- What was Jesus’s answer to the young man, in Mark 10:19? What was the young man’s response, in verse 20?
- In Matthew 19:20 we are told that the young man next asked Jesus, “what lack I yet?” It must have taken courage to ask this of the Savior, showing the young man’s sincerity. If you were to ask this question of the Lord, what do you think He might answer?
- What touching detail—missing from Matthew and Luke—are we given in the first phrase of Mark 10:21?
- The rest of Jesus’s counsel to the young man is that he “sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor” (Mark 10:21). What additional invitation did Jesus offer, in the end of verse 21?
- How Jesus’s teachings in this story may apply to us are to be left to everyone’s individual interpretation. We do know that all three Gospels indicate that Jesus extended four invitations to the young man: Sell his possessions; give to the poor; “take up the cross”; and follow Jesus. The promise given to him for doing so was “thou shalt have treasure in heaven” (Matthew 10:21; Mark 10:21; Luke 18:22).
- As a follow-up, in Mark 10:23-27 Jesus spoke of those who “trust in riches” (verse 24), and their difficulty in entering into the kingdom of God. Read also D&C 121:34-35.
- The story continues, as Peter points out to Jesus that he and the other disciples “have left all” in order to follow Jesus. Read the tremendous promises in Jesus’s answer, in verses 29-30.
Matthew 20:1-10 The Laborers in the Vineyard
Through His everlasting mercy and grace, the Lord gives us far more than we can ever merit.
Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31-34 Leaving for Jerusalem for the Last Time (see also Matthew 20:17-19)
Read Mark 10:32-34 and Luke 18:31-34. In these somewhat somber verses, Jesus and His disciples (apostles) begin their travel from Perea (east of Samaria) toward Jerusalem once again. Jesus knows that He will be arrested, tried, abused, and murdered, and He clearly teaches this to the apostles; also testifying that all these things will be further fulfillment of the prophesies relating to Him.
Matthew 20:20-28 “Whosoever Will Be Great Among You” (see also Mark 10:35-45)
The mother of James and John asks something of Jesus, which leads to a profound teaching that should guide our lives every day:
- Read Matthew 20:20-23, noting the confident answer given by James and John (which Jesus chose not to dismiss).
- What was the reaction of the other apostles, in verse 24?
- Now the lesson—what point is Jesus making in verse 25?
- In verses 26-28, Jesus teaches His apostles the same things He had been exemplifying throughout His ministry. In addition to “servant” (verse 27), Jesus also used the word “minister” (verses 26, 28). What does it mean to you to be a minister of God to others?
- Is there someone that you would be willing to give your life for? Do you feel this way toward the Lord and His latter-day Church and kingdom?
Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43 He Heals Two Blind Men
As Jesus and His apostles continue to travel to Jerusalem, they stop in Jericho (about 15 miles from Jerusalem), and Jesus is being followed by “a great multitude.”
- Two blind men on the wayside heard that Jesus was coming by, and they cried out to Him, “Have mercy on us” (Matthew 20:29-30; Mark and Luke mention only one blind man; Mark 10:46 tells us the name of one of the blind men was Bartimaeus).
- In Matthew 20:31, what did the people tell the blind men to do, and how did they react?
- Then Jesus “stood still” (Matthew 20:32; Mark 10:49) and asked the blind men what they wanted. What happened next, in Matthew 20:33-34?
- What did Jesus say, as He healed them? (Mark 10:52; Luke 18:42). Then, the two men “followed him, glorifying God,” while all the people also “gave praise unto God” (Luke 18:43).
- Note the progression in this story: The blind men go from begging, to crying out for mercy, to asking the Lord for sight, to being healed, to following Him and praising Him. This is us.