June 10, 2007
Luke 18:1-8, 35-43; 19:1-10; John 11
Luke 18:1-8 Parable of the unjust judge:
Look back into the previous chapter at verse 32. What has Lot’s wife got to do with the following parables? And verse 33: “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.” Define “life.” Now read the JST of the following verses in the appendix, Luke 17:36-40. How do these answer the question in Luke 18:8?
As LDS we get a very different message from Joseph Smith as we read Luke 17:33-37. What is the message we get in contrast to the message the rest of the world might get? How does the parable of the unjust judge continue this teaching in the previous chapter?
v. 1-8: Who are the characters in the parable? What does this parable have to do with faith? What do we learn about the nature of God? What does “speedily” mean here? Why does Jesus ask the question he does in v. 8? How is it answered?
Luke 18:9-14: Even tho this isn’t part of the assigned reading, read the parable of the Pharisee and publican. How does it answer the question in v. 8? Who are the characters in this parable? Do the two men in v. 10 relate to the contrasting two people in each of the verses Luke 17:34-36? What is the determining facter that identifies who will be taken and who will not be taken? Where are these people taken? Where are they left?
v. 35: Read the previous verse. Is it significant that the man is blind? That he’s sitting by the way side begging?
v. 36: Is it significant that the man hears? That he asks what is happening? Why not simiply keep on begging?
v. 37-39: How is this like the parable of the unjust judge? What can we learn about faith from this man & the woman in the parable?
v. 40-41: Why does Jesus ask what the blind man wanted when all along he knew? What does the man’s answer teach us about his knowledge of Jesus?
v. 42: What saves us? What is our part & what is God’s part? What do we learn about these dual roles from the previous parables?
v. 43: Is it significant that many see because of the blind man’s healing? What do we learn about faith and works in this story?
How do Jesus’ “handlers” deal with the blind man? To whom might we compare those people in our own experience? Are we ever among those who tell people crying for the mercy of God to hold their peace? If so, how do we do so? To whom might we compare the blind man with his cry for mercy? Are we blind? Do we need mercy? What can heal our blindness? The blind man calls Jesus “Son of David” (verse 39). What did he mean by that title? How is it relevant to the coming events, such as Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem?
How does this story relate to the previous ones we’ve studied? The name “Zacchaeus” (”Zaccai” in Hebrew) means “pure” or “innocent.”
v. 2: Is it important that this man is a publican and is rich?
v. 3: Is it important that he is “little of stature?” Is this a word-play with him also being “chief among the publicans?”
v. 5: Why does Jesus answer this man’s unspoken desire whereas the blind man was required to speak his desire before it was answered?
v. 7: How does the crowd’s response differ from that of the crowd witnessing the answer to prayer of the blind man back in Ch. 18:43?
v. 8: Compare Numbers 5:5-7, which gives the law of restitution. What does that tell us about Zacchaeus’s offer?
v. 9-10: What house is Jesus speaking of? Is he referring to himself or to what has happened to Zacchaeus? If the latter, why does Jesus say “to this house (or household)” rather than “to Zacchaeus”? Explain Jesus’ explanation of what has happened: “forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham.” The language of verse 10 suggests that this event is related to the parables of the sheep, the coin, and the two sons (Luke 15). What specific connections can you see? (Notice, for example, the parallel between Luke 18:7 and Luke 15:2.) How does remembering that parable help us understand this event? How does understanding this event help us read that story? How does v. 10 relate to the previous story?
Even tho it’s not part of the assigned lesson, I suggest you read the following parable of the pounds in v. 11-27. Decide how it relates to the previous story. What is Jesus teaching us?
Ah, I love this story. This is the catalyst to Christ’s death, also so symbolic of what he will accomplish. I love how he uses the people he loves to help teach this powerful doctrine of resurrection…what an honor it is to them to participate in the world’s history this way.
Read the whole chapter and try to FEEL the way each of the characters in the story might have felt. Visualize the story. Jesus expresses so much love here.
Note that Elder Eyring read v. 25-26 at the LDS 9-11 Memorial after the devastation of the World Trade Center Towers on 09/14/01.
Many see the first part of the gospel of John as organized around seven miracles and accompanying sermons: (1) turning water into wine at the wedding feast and the discourse on being born again (John 2:1-12; 3:1-21), (2) raising the nobleman’s son to life and a discourse on Jesus as the living water (John 4:43-51; 4:1-42), (3) healing the man by the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath and explanation that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath (John 5:1-14; 5:19-47), (4) feeding the five thousand and teaching that Jesus is the bread of life (John 6:1-15; 6:22-66)), (5) by walking on the sea of Galilee Jesus comes to Capernaum mysteriously and the discourse on the inability of the Pharisees to understand him (John 6:16-21; 7:14-39), (6) healing the man born blind and the teaching that Christ is the light of the world (John 9; 8:12-59), and (7), the material for this lesson, raising Lazarus from the dead and the teaching of the resurrection (John 11; John 10:1-18). Why do you think John uses miracles as the signs of Jesus’ ministry and of his teaching? Four of the seven miracles are healings. Why is healing such an important sign of Jesus’ ministry? The second part of John’s gospel focuses on Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, trial, death, and resurrection. How do these seven signs and sermons prepare us for that story? As you read the story of the raising of Lazarus, ask yourself how Lazarus is a type for every person: in what various ways can we be said to be dead? brought back to life?
Verses 1-2: The name Lazarus (Eleazar—”God has helped”) was a common name at the time. Why is it important that we know that Jesus has gone to the town of Mary and Martha? Why is it important that we know which Mary it is? (See John 12:3; it does not seem to be the woman in Luke 7:37-38.)
Verses 3-6: What do the gospels mean when they describe a person as someone whom Jesus loved? Didn’t he love everyone? Does Jesus love the true Christian differently than he does the unrepentant person? If not, why not? If so, how?
In verse 4 Jesus says “this sickness does not lead to death.” Since Lazarus does, in fact, die, what can Jesus have meant by that? To what does this sickness lead? What would you normally think of someone who delayed coming to the bedside of an ill person whom he could heal? What would you think if that person said, “Waiting and letting him get worse before I heal him will show what a good doctor I am”? Is that what Jesus was doing? How do you think a non-Christian might respond on hearing this much of the story? Why would John tell the story this way? (Notice that he is the only gospel writer who tells the story at all, though the other gospels tell of other persons restored to life.) Why don’t we think the same things of Jesus that we might think of another person who acted in a similar way? Why is it important for Jesus to bring someone to life at this particular point in his ministry?
Verse 16: When Thomas says, “Let us also go, that we may die with him,” is he speaking of dying with Christ or with Lazarus? (See the footnote in the LDS edition.) Why does John put Thomas’s exhortation at this point in the story, where it seems out of place, rather than earlier?
Verses 17-19: There appears to have been a common belief at the time that the spirit of a person hung around its body for three days after death. The idea was that a person might die but revive during the first two or three days afterward. If that was a common belief, would that help us understand why Jesus waited as long as he did? It seems that Jesus came to Bethany on the seventh day after learning of Lazarus’s illness? Are those seven days significant? If so, how? Why is it important that we know how far it was from Jerusalem to Bethany? How far was it from the Jordan, where Jesus was baptized, to Bethany? (See the map in the LDS edition of the Bible.) Who are “the Jews” who came to comfort Martha and Mary? To whom does John often refer with that name? (See passages such as John 2:6, 3:25, 5:10-18, 6:41 and 52, 7:1 and 11-13, 8:48 and 52 and 57, and 9:18-22; also compare verse 18 to verse 13.)
It is important to recognize that in John’s gospel the term “the Jews” does not refer to all who were from the tribe of Judah. Rather, it refers to a specific group of people in Jerusalem at that time, a particular social caste or political power. (Failure to see that has caused countless death and horror: Christians killing and otherwise tormenting those whom they took to be among “the Jews.”)
What does the fact that many of the Jews came to comfort Martha and Mary suggest about the sisters’ social standing? How is that relevant? Why is their presence in the story important?
What has Martha accomplished in her spiritual maturity since we first met her in her home in Bethany trying to get Mary to help her serve? How is Mary’s spirituality manifest in this story? Having just read about faith and it power and requirements, what can you conclude about Martha, Mary and Lazarus?
v. 35: Why would Jesus weep if he knew Lazarus would soon be alive? What do we learn from this?
v. 41-42: What can we learn from Jesus’ public prayer here?
v. 47-57: What do these people know? How do they know it? How do they respond to their knowledge? In v. 51, what are they saying Jesus should do? What is the irony here?