May 27, 2007
Mark 10:17-30; 12:41-44; Luke 12:13-21; 14; 16.
Mark 10:17-30 (& read verse 31-34, too) The Rich Young Man:
I hope you’ll go back & read the story of Mary & Martha in Luke 10:38-42 before proceeding with this part of the lesson. As you read about the Rich Young Man, consider how this story relates to Martha & Mary. How are they the same? Different? How is Jesus’ response the same? Different?
v. 17: Luke 18:18 calls him a “ruler,” meaning he was probably a member of an official council or court. The question implies that he can do something to earn eternal life. Is there error in this basic premise?
v. 18: “Master” can also be translated “teacher.” Why does Jesus answer the man this way instead of answering his spoken question? What does he mean when he says, “There is none good buy one, that is, God.”?
v. 19-20: If the man knows the laws, why does Jesus list them? And why these six? The prohibition of fraud may have represented the tenth commandment (against covetousness). If so, Jesus here mentions all six commandments that prohibit wrong actions and attitudes against others. What has he left out? See Exodus 20:3-17.
v. 21: Notice that Jesus could “behold” the man and loved him. In loving him, what did he perceive? If Jesus loved the man, why did he ask him to do something he couldn’t do? X Hel. 15:3. What is the one thing the man lacked? Why this series of six events? How does this translate into our lives? What is it that is preventing us from entering God’s Kingdom? What is required to enter God’s Kingdom? Consider baptisimal covenants here. Does giving our wealth to others buy entrance into God’s kingdom?
v. 22: Why could the man not obey?
v. 23: Why is it hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God?
v. 24: Why are the disciples astonished? Why does Jesus call them “children?” What does the word “trust” add to the teaching?
v. 25: Why the comparison between the camel and the eye of a needle?
v. 26: Why are they even more astonished?
v. 27: Note the JST here. How does this teaching relate to the first principle of the gospel?
v. 28: Why would Peter make this statement?
v. 29-30: What does “with persecutions” mean?
v. 31: How does this verse summ up the previous one? Note the JST change. Why was Peter rebuked?
v. 32-34: How does this prediction of Jesus’ experience relate to the previous pericope with the Rich Young Man and Peter? Does this identify what the “one thing” was that the young man lacked?
Mark 12:41-44 The Widow’s Mite:
How is this story linked to the previous one about the Rich Young Man? How are the widow and the young man the same? Different? What did the widow do that Jesus did, figuratively?
Luke 12:13-21 Parable of the Rich Fool:
Skip back and read a few verses. What is Jesus teaching us to rely upon? How does this relate to the previous two pericopes we’ve studied in this lesson and to the one in these verses?
v. 13-14: Why would people come to Jesus to resolve a family dispute?
v. 15: How does Jesus answer the man? What does life consist of?
v. 16-21: Aren’t we told to work and save for the future? How do you reconcile this story with that of the parable of the talents? How do we become “rich toward God?”
Luke 14 Jesus at a Pharisee’s House (v. 1-14), Parable of the Great Banquet (v. 15-24), The Cost of Being a Disciple (25-34):
v. 1: Of 7 recorded miracles on the Sabbath, Luke includes 5; the other two are in John.
v. 5: The reading “donkey” matches well with the “ox that falls into a well.” But in Dt. 5:14 the law is specified for both humans and animals; one category opens with “son” and another with “ox.” Jesus’ action was “unlawful” only according to Rabbinic interpretations, not according to the Mosaic law itself.
v. 7: This is talking about getting the best seat at the table. Maneuvering for better seats may also have caused trouble at the Last Supper, see Luke 20:46; 22:24; & Mk. 12:39. Do we ever do this today? How do we take our seat when we enter a church meeting?
v. 11: This is a great homilie!
v. 18-20: What do these 3 excuses represent?
v. 12-24: This is a Messianic banquet. Remember that a “feast” is a symbol of renewal and dedication. The custom would have been for an invitation to be sent out previous to the banquet and then the servant to go and inform the guests when the meal was ready. So the guests had a forewarning of the feast, which they had accepted similar to an RSVP, but at the last moment when the feast was ready, declined to come. In v. 21, what kind of people are these? Does this relate to the story of Jesus at a Pharisee’s House pericope? In v. 23 the highways refer to city roads and the hedges to country roads implying the inclusion of Gentiles. Note that “compel” means urge. What is this parable teaching? Can you identify the characters? Who do you identify with? Is there a valid excuse for NOT coming to the great supper? Who is invited? Who will come? How does this relate to the previous pericope?
v. 25: Note that the following remarks are to the large crowds following Jesus, not just his disciples.
v. 26-27: What does this mean in relationship to the previous pericope? Obviously a hyperbole (exaggeration). How does it relate to the Rich Young Man or the guests invited to the feast?
v. 28-33: What does it cost to be a disciple? When did we embark on that pursuit? What are our alternatives to being a disciple of Christ?
v. 34-35: The NIV reads: “Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.” The difficulty of this saying is understanding how salt could lose its flavor since its chemical properties cannot change. It is thus often assumed that Jesus was referring to chemically impure salt, perhaps a natural salt which, when exposed to the elements, had all the genuine salt leached out, leaving only the sediment or impurities behind. Others have suggested the background of the saying is the use of salt blocks by Arab bakers to line the floor of their ovens: Under the intense heat these blocks would eventually crystallize and undergo a change in chemical composition, finally being thrown out as unserviceable. A saying in the Talmud (b. Bekhorot 8b) attributed to R. Joshua ben Chananja (ca. a.d. 90), when asked the question “When salt loses its flavor, how can it be made salty again?” is said to have replied, “By salting it with the afterbirth of a mule.” He was then asked, “Then does the mule (being sterile) bear young?” to which he replied: “Can salt lose its flavor?” The point appears to be, both are impossible. The saying, while admittedly late, suggests that culturally the loss of flavor by salt was regarded as an impossibility. Genuine salt can never lose its flavor. In this case the saying by Jesus here may be similar to Matt 19:24, where it is likewise impossible for the camel to go through the eye of a sewing needle.
From an LDS perspective, I recommend you read this 1980 Conference Talk by Elder Carlos E. Asay: talk.
Luke 16, Parable of the Unjust Steward, Teaching on Service & Divorce, Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus: