New Testament Lesson 17 (Mark 10, 12; Luke 12, 14, 16)


Avoiding Corruption and Trusting in God

● The “Leaven of the Pharisees” refers to their corrupting influence on the people (Luke 12:1–3).

● Not even a hair of our heads falls to the ground without God’s notice, and He will watch over us (Luke 12:4–7).

The Parable of the Rich Fool

● A man came to Him who was covetous about his inheritance (Luke 12:13–15).

● He tells a parable about the foolishness of putting our trust in riches (Luke 12:16–21).

● We should seek first the Kingdom of God and our needs will be provided (Luke 12:22–31).

The Parable of the Watchful Servants

● This parable refers to preparation for the Lord’s Second Coming (Luke 12:36–39).

Choosing Between the Kingdom of God and the World

● Our choices become the basis for our eternal judgment (Luke 12:48). Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “There is a special sense of urgency infusing itself into many Church members everywhere that says, quietly, but insistently—this is the time for us to choose! It is not just that God will insist that we choose for our own sake, but that those who depend upon us, or use us as a reference point, need and deserve to know which way we are going. It is no good posing as a lifeguard if one is a non-swimmer. It is no good being a guide if one leaves his post and wanders with the multitude in search of another way, ‘for there is none other way,’ especially at a time when there is a sharper and sharper divergence in the way of the world and the straight and narrow way. The disciple must not only stand in ‘holy places’ but on holy issues and ‘not be moved.’”1

Enduring the Hatred of the World

● Jesus warned of “fire on the earth”—conflict arising from their discipleship (Luke 12:49–53). Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “When honest truth seekers accept the gospel, they forsake the world and gain its hatred. The sword of persecution, of domestic dissension, and of family bitterness is often unsheathed by their closest relatives. Thousands of devout converts, in this dispensation alone, have been driven from their homes and denied their temporal inheritances, for accepting Joseph Smith and the pure, primitive gospel restored through his instrumentality.”2

The Parable of the Corrupt Fig Tree

● Jesus uses a parable to illustrate how Judah had become corrupt and rejected their King, but would be redeemed in the latter days (Luke 13:69).

The Need for Humility and Charity

● Jesus taught about the importance of humility (Luke 14:7–11).

● Our service should be offered to others out of pure charity (Luke 14:12–14).

The Parable of the Great Supper

● A parable about those who will be exalted at the last day (Luke 14:12–24).

— Elder James E. Talmage interpreted the parable of the great supper, saying that the invited guests represented the covenant people, or house of Israel. “The story implies that invitations had been given sufficiently early to the chosen and prospective guests; then on the day of the feast a messenger was sent to notify them again. . . . One man after another declined to attend. . . . Plainly none of these people wanted to be present. The covenant people, Israel, were the specially invited guests. . . . They prayed to be excused or irreverently declared they could not or would not come. Then the gladsome invitation was to be carried to the Gentiles, who were looked upon as spiritually poor, maimed, halt, and blind. . . . The possibility of some of the discourteous ones arriving later, after they had attended to their absorbing affairs, is indicated in the Lord’s closing words: ‘For I say unto you, that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.’”3

Parable of the Royal Marriage Feast

● This parable is sometimes called the Parable of the Marriage of the King’s Son and is very similar to the parable of the Great Supper.
— It was given in public as a rebuke to the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 22:1–14).
— The king is God the Father; Jesus is his offspring and Son.
— The first ones invited to the marriage feast were the covenant Israel.
— The remnant who rejected the later invitation and committed murder were the descendants (Jews) of ancient Israel.
— The ones gathered from the streets and byways were the gentile nations.

● This parable is discussed in greater detail in lesson #20.


Counting the Cost of Membership

● “Which of you, intending to build . . . sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost?” (Luke 14:28–30).

— Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “Converts should count the cost before joining the Church; . . . They should come into the kingdom only if they are prepared to make the sacrifices required; . . . they should go the whole way in the gospel cause, or stay out entirely; . . . they should ‘not . . . follow him, unless’ they are ‘able to continue’ in his word, to ‘do the things’ which he teaches and commands. Lukewarm Saints are damned; unless they repent and become zealous the Lord promised to spue them out of his mouth. (Rev. 3:14–19). Only the valiant gain celestial salvation; those Saints ‘who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus’ can ascend no higher than the terrestrial world. (D&C 76:79).”4

”What Lack I Yet?” — The Rich Young Man

● The rich young man loved his possessions more than the Lord (Mark 10:17–22; Matthew 19:16–20). President Joseph F. Smith said, “The difficulty with the young man [was that] he had great possessions, and he preferred to rely upon his wealth rather than forsake all and follow Christ . . . No man can obtain the gift of eternal life unless he is willing to sacrifice all earthly things in order to obtain it.”5

— Elder Bruce R. McConkie said:

“We might well ask, ‘Isn’t it enough to keep the commandments? What more is expected of us than to be true and faithful to every trust? Is there more than the law of obedience?’ In the case of (the) rich young (man) there was more. He was expected to live the law of consecration, to sacrifice his earthly possessions, for the answer of Jesus was: ‘If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.’

“As you know, the young man went away sorrowful, “for he had great possessions” (Matt. 19:16–22) And we are left to wonder what intimacies he might have shared with the Son of God, what fellowship he might have enjoyed with the Apostles, what revelations and visions he might have received, if he had been able to live the law of a celestial kingdom. As it is, he remains nameless, as it might have been, his name could have been had in honorable remembrance among the Saints forever.”6

● The difficulty of entering the kingdom of God when we have riches (Mark 10:23–25).

● The disciples asked, “Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?” (Matthew 19:27).

● The Twelve Apostles will judge all of Israel (Matthew 19:28–30).

The Parable of the Pounds

● A parable about stewardships in the Kingdom until he returns (Compare to the Parable of the Talents (Luke 19:11–28; Matthew 25:14–30).

The Widow’s Mite

● This young widow was willing to give all she had for the kingdom of God (Mark 12:41–44). Contrast this with the rich young man who had great possessions.

— Elder James E. Talmage said, “In the accounts kept by the recording angels, figured out according to the arithmetic of heaven, entries are made in terms of quality rather than of quantity, and values are determined on the basis of capability and intent. The rich gave much yet kept back more; the widow’s gift was her all. It was not the smallness of her offering that made it especially acceptable, but the spirit of sacrifice and devout intent with which she gave. On the books of the heavenly accountants that widow’s contribution was entered as a munificent gift, surpassing in worth the largess of kings. ‘For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.’”7


The Need for Humility and Charity

● The importance of humility (Luke 14:7–11).

● Our service should be offered to others out of pure charity (Luke 14:12–14).

The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

● Jesus speaks of two different conditions in the postmortal world: (Luke 16:19–31)
— “Abraham’s bosom” is the place we call “paradise”—rest for the righteous.
— “Hell” is the place we call “spirit prison”—torment for the wicked.
— “A great gulf” is between them, preventing interchange between the two.

— Elder Bruce R. McConkie said, “There was no intermingling by the spirits in paradise and hell until after Christ bridged the ‘great gulf’ between these two spirit abodes. (Alma 40:11–14). This he did while his body lay in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea and his own disembodied spirit continued to minister to men in their spirit prison. (1 Pet. 3:18–21; 4:6; President Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 5th ed. [1939], 472–476). Until that day the prisoners remained bound and the gospel was not preached to them (Moses 7:37–39).”8

Jesus Predicts His Resurrection

● “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:31).


1.  A Time to Choose [1972], 39–40.
2.  Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1966–73], 1:335.
3.  Jesus the Christ, 451–452, 536–540.
4.  Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1:504.
5.  Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 261.
6.  In Conference Report, Apr. 1975, 75–76, or Ensign, May 1975, 51.
7.  Jesus the Christ, 561–562.
8.  Doctrinal New Testament Commentary,1:521.