NEW TESTAMENT - LESSON 18
Luke 15 & 17
- The Savior teaches the worth of souls.
- Jesus teaches that Heavenly Father rejoices in forgiving the repentant.
- A man who Jesus has healed of leprosy returns to thank him.
A study of this lesson should help us better understand the joy that
comes when we repent and when we help others to repent.
The Worth Of Souls
- READ LUKE 15:1-7. Parable of the lost sheep.
- READ LUKE 15:8-10. Parable of the piece of silver.
- This is a wonderfully plain parable.
IN WHAT WAYS MIGHT A PERSON BE "LOST"?
- All of us have lost something at one time or another. It might have
been a set of keys, a ten dollar bill, an earring, a sock, or a computer
- It is amazing to me the efforts we sometimes make in search of our
- And when we find the lost item, there is satisfaction, even rejoicing
at its recovery. Why do we rejoice when we recover a ten dollar bill, when
we have thousands in the bank? Why do find pleasure in the recovery of
a lost sock, when there are bunches in the drawer? We place value in these
- The Lord seems to be saying to those he is teaching, and to us, "Consider
the value you place in your earthly treasures, your sorrow when they are
lost, and your pleasure when they are recovered. Likewise, you can imagine
the great joy in the heavens when one of my children repents and returns
to the household of God."
- HOW MANY HAVE TEMPORARILY LOST A CHILD? WHAT HAPPENED AND WHAT DID
YOU DO? WHY DID YOU PURSUE THE LOST ONE WHEN YOU STILL HAD CHILDREN AT
- D&C 18:10-13: "Remember the worth of souls is great in
the sight of God;
"For, behold, the Lord your Redeemer
suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men,
that all men might repent and come unto him.
"And he hath risen again from
the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance.
"And how great is his joy in
the soul that repenteth!"
WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TOWARD THOSE WHO ARE LOST?
- All those who came to this earth knew the eternal plan in the pre-existence.
When the veil of forgetfulness was drawn across the eternal memory, we
were all lost.
- There are those who have grown up being taught the truth, but have
veered away from the gospel without ever having obtained a mature testimony.
- There are those who have received a testimony, but have been led away
by false teachings.
- There are those who have a testimony, but have given in to temptation.
- There are many around us who have been alienated from their loved ones
and from society for any number of reasons.
HOW SHOULD WE RESPOND AT THE RETURN OF A PERSON WHO HAS BEEN LOST?
- Every member a missionary.
- Every member a neighbor.
- Fulfill our callings as leaders, teachers, and home and visiting teachers.
- President Gordon B. Hinckley: "Some of our own...cry out in
pain and suffering and loneliness and fear. Ours is a great a solemn duty
to reach out and help them, to lift them, to feed them if they are hungry,
to nurture their spirits if they thirst for truth and righteousness....
"...There are those who were once warm
in the faith, but whose faith has grown cold. Many of them wish to come
back but do not know quite how to do it. They need friendly hands reaching
out to them. With a little effort, many of them can be brought back to
feast at the table of the Lord.
"My brethren and sisters, I would
hope, I would pray that each of us...would resolve to seek those who need
help, who are in desperate and difficult circumstances, and lift them in
the spirit of love into the embrace of the Church where strong hands and
loving hearts will warm them, comfort them, sustain them, and put them
on the way of happy and productive lives." (Ensign, Nov. 1996,
- We all recently observed the tragic massacre in Littleton, Colorado.
The lives of wonderful young people, and a teacher, were lost in the heartless
act of two boys. Many of us have shed tears as we listened to the stories
of the survivors and felt the pain of parents, friends, and loved ones.
We have discussed the question of how such a thing could occur. Debates
have raged as to how we can keep such a thing from occuring again. Legislation
has been considered in terms of gun control and internet access. TV, movies,
and video games have been blamed for creating an atmosphere of violence.
In spite of all of this, these heartless acts seem to continue.
The two boys that committed this atrocity
were sons of our Heavenly Father, but they became lost sheep. What happened?
When did they become lost sheep in our society? Could someone have made
a difference in their lives by reaching out?
I recall small incidents in my life where
small acts caring and kindness made a difference to me. The neighbor lady
who always shared graham crackers with the neighborhood kids. The neighbor
kid who took a shy boy and invited him over to play. My friend's parents
who always seemed to be interested in what was going on in my life. The
kid who threw me the basketball when he knew he could make the shot. The
teacher who took time to write a note praising a report. A mother who took
time to make sure I got a good breakfast. A father who took me fishing
and hunting. A home teacher who had the courage to challenge my inactivity.
A child that drew a picture and wrote, "I love you daddy."
There are other boys and girls, children
and adults, that have become lost sheep in our society. There are others
who are testing the fence to find a way out. What would the Savior do?
How would he treat these people? How did the Lord live his life? Was he
caught up in becoming a successful businessman, a great orator, the mayor
of Nazareth? Jesus Christ changed the world forever by his gentle acts
of love. The world will never be changed for the better by wars, laws,
or governments. The world can only be changed, and the lost sheep gathered
in, by following Jesus' wonderful example.
Heavenly Father Rejoices In Forgiving The Repentant
- Luke 15:11-13: "And he said, A certain man had two sons:
"And the younger of them said
to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.
And he divided unto them his living.
"And not many days after the
younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country,
and there wasted his substance with riotous living."
V14-16: "And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine
in that land; and he began to be in want.
- WHAT DID THE YOUNGER SON DO WITH HIS INHERITANCE?
- One can imagine this son traveling to a wealthy city, finding a fine
place to live, and living a life of ease. Riotous living paints a picture
in my mind of spending evenings in smoky night clubs, gambling, drinking,
and participating in other immoral activities.
- Rather than using his inheritance as a base of investment or in starting
a business, something that would have paid him for a lifetime, he wasted
every penny in riotous living.
- Prodigal: "A person who spends money or uses resources with
wasteful extravagance; wastrel or profligate." (Random House Webster's
College Dictionary 1996, p1076)
- WHAT ARE SOME WAYS THAT PEOPLE TODAY MAKE ERRORS SIMILAR TO THOSE OF
THE PRODIGAL SON?
- What do we do with our time and talents, the mortal inheritance we
have received from Heavenly Father?
"And he went and joined himself
to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
"And he would fain have filled
his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him."
V17-18: "And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired
servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with
- WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PRODIGAL SON AFTER HE WASTED HIS INHERITANCE?
- NOW THAT HE WAS IN WANT, WHO IN THIS FAR COUNTRY CARED FOR HIM? WHAT
CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS?
- Satan will not support his victims once he has brought them down.
"I will arise and go to my father,
and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before
"And am no more worthy to be
called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants."
V20-24: "And he arose, and came to his father. But when he
was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran,
and fell on his neck, and kissed him.
- WHOM DID THE SON THINK OF WHEN HE SAW THAT NO ONE IN THE FAR COUNTRY
CARED FOR HIM?
- WHAT CAN WE LEARN ABOUT REPENTANCE FROM THE SON'S ATTITUDE?
- Neal A. Maxwell: "There are many prodigals who lack the meekness
and the intellectual clarity to do what the prodigal son did. Saying, in
effect, 'Living like this is ridiculous!,' the prodigal son 'came to himself.'
He realized how much better off he would be to return to his father. He
did not ponder, 'What will they say? Will anyone come out to meet me?'
Instead, he arose and went home. Being sufficiently meek to feel caused
him to think, and humbleness of mind saved his soul." (Meek and
- Thomas S. Monson: "Should there be anyone who feels he is too
weak to change the onward and downward moving course of his life or should
there be those who fail to resolve to do better because of that greatest
of fears, the fear of failure, there is no more comforting assurance to
be had than the words of the Lord: '. . . my grace is sufficient for all
men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before
me and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto
them.' (Ether 12:27)." (CR, Apr. 1965, pp47-48)
"And the son said unto him, Father,
I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to
be called thy son.
"But the father said to his servants,
Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand,
and shoes on his feet:
"And bring hither the fatted
calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
"For this my son was dead, and
is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry."
V25-30: "Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came
and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
- WHAT DID THE FATHER DO WHEN HE SAW HIS SON COMING?
- HOW DID THE FATHER RESPOND TO HIS SON'S CONFESSION?
- At this point, it is important to remind ourselves that Jesus began
this sermon by talking about the joy in heaven "over one sinner that
repenteth". The Master is not just telling a story, but he his teaching
us about the his love and the love of our Heavenly Father.
- HOW IS THE FATHER IN THIS STORY LIKE OUR HEAVENLY FATHER WHEN WE REPENT?
- Mosiah 26:30: "Yea, and as often as my people repent will I
forgive them their trespasses against me."
- D&C 58:42: "Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the
same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more."
- Hugh B. Brown: "...your Father in heaven loves you; he loves
you with a love beyond what your earthly parents can know. If you make
mistakes -- and you will and all of us have -- our Heavenly Father stands
ready to forgive and to welcome you when you come to yourselves and turn
your backs on the husks and your faces toward home. He will embrace you
and say, 'For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost and
is found'." (CR, Apr. 1955, p81)
- IN WHAT WAYS ARE WE LIKE THE PRODIGAL SON?
- President Gordon B. Hinckley: "I ask you to read that story.
Every parent ought to read it again and again. It is large enought to encompass
every household, and enough larger than that to encompass all mankind,
for are we not all prodigal sons and daughters who need to repent and partake
of the forgiving mercy of our Heavenly Father and then follow His example?"
(Ensign, June 1991, p5)
- WHAT HOPE DOES THE PARABLE OF THE PRODIGAL SON OFFER US?
- If we humbly repent, the words of Isaiah come alive in us. "Come
now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as
scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson,
they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18)
"And he called one of the servants,
and asked what these things meant.
"And he said unto him, Thy brother
is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received
him safe and sound.
"And he was angry, and would
not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.
"And he answering said to his
father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at
any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might
make merry with my friends:
"But as soon as this thy son
was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed
for him the fatted calf."
V31-32: "And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me,
and all that I have is thine.
- WHY WAS THE ELDER SON ANGRY WITH THE WAY HIS FATHER RECEIVED THE YOUNGER
- WHY IS IT SOMETIMES DIFFICULT TO WELCOME BACK A "PRODIGAL SON"
WHO HAS REPENTED?
"It was meet that we should make
merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again;
and was lost, and is found."
- HOW DID THE FATHER RESPOND TO THE ELDER SON'S COMPLAINT?
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "So we learn that there is rejoicing
in heaven over every sinner who repents; but those who are faithful and
transgress not any of the commandments, shall inherit 'all that the Father
hath,' while those who might be sons, but thought their 'riotous living'
waste their inheritance, may come back through their repentance to salvation
to be servants, not to inherit exaltation as sons.
"The wonderful story of the prodigal
son has been misinterpreted almost universally. How frequently is the statement
made from sectarian pulpits that because this younger son transgressed
and committed all manner of sin and then repented, he was better off than
his older brother who did not sin. By many the real lesson in this parable
is lost. The younger son asked for his inheritance and received it. He
went out and spent it in the vilest wickedness. When his substance was
gone, he was forced by physical suffering and degradation to repent. Had
his substance held out longer, he would have sinned that much more. It
is needless to repeat all the circumstances of this story. It is sufficient
to say that when he returned his father received him, but did not promise
to reinstate him in the fullness of the inheritance; this is apparent in
the answer made to the obedient son: 'Son, thou art ever with me, and all
that I have is thine'." (The Way to Perfection, p21)
The Ten Lepers
- READ LUKE 17:11-19. The ten lepers.
Although ten lepers were cleansed, only the man who returned was made
- HOW MANY OF THE TEN LEPERS RETURNED TO EXPRESS GRATITUDE?
- WHY DO WE, LIKE THE NINE UNGRATEFUL LEPERS, NOT ALWAYS EXPRESS OUR
GRATITUDE FOR THE BLESSINGS WE RECEIVE?
- Oftentimes we think that some of our blessings are a result of our
- We are often so blessed, that they almost become commonplace and we
forget that they are blessings. Consider this: Have you had the experience
of purchasing a beautiful painting or a picture to hang in your home? Or
maybe purchasing on CD a work of music that stirred your soul? What often
happens over time? At first the picture or the music is admired and loved.
As time marches on, it is almost as if the picture disappears or you don't
hear the music. Does this ever happen with our blessings?
- Sometimes we are simply spiritually lazy?
- WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO EXPRESS GRATITUDE TO THE LORD?
- D&C 46:32: "And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit
for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with."
- D&C 46:7: "But ye are commanded in all things to ask of
God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you
even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly
before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with
prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or
doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and
others of devils."
- Brigham Young: "I do not know of any, excepting the unpardonable
sin, that is greater than the sin of ingratitude." (Discourses
of Brigham Young, p228)
- Joseph F. Smith: "We are almost daily put under obligations
to one another, especially to friends and acquaintances, and the sense
of obligation creates within us feelings of thankfulness and appreciation
which we call gratitude. The spirit of gratitude is always pleasant and
satisfying because it carries with it a sense of helpfulness to others;
it begets love and friendship, and engenders divine influence. Gratitude
is said to be the memory of the heart." (Gospel Doctrine, p262)
- WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING HEALED AND BEING MADE WHOLE?
- Merill J. Bateman: "In becoming a whole person, the grateful
leper was healed inside as well as on the outside. That day nine lepers
were healed skin deep, but only one had the faith to be made whole."
(Ensign, May 1995, p14)
In reading these parables of Jesus, we learn of the great love the Lord
has for all of his children. He has taught us that we can return to him
and be forgiven of our sins if we will humbly repent. He has also taught
us how important it is to search for and reach out to the lost sheep. Indeed,
this is the work of the Lord, to bring the lost sheep back to the fold.
Lesson 19: Luke 18:1-8, 35-43; 19:1-10; John 11
Additional Reading: Mark 10:46-52; Luke 11:5-13; Bible Dictionary,
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