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New Testament

Week 11: Luke 19:45–24:53

1) Introduction.
a) Concluding our study of Luke and the Synoptic Gospels.
b) After Jesus’ long trip to Jerusalem,1 he enters the city in triumph2 and cleanses the
2) Jesus teaches in the Temple:
a) 20:27–40. Marriage and the resurrection.3
i) One of the most difficult passages in the gospels for Latter-day Saints, mostly
because is often used by critics to argue against the LDS doctrine of eternal marriage.
ii) The Sadducees, who didn’t believe in the resurrection, present Jesus with a case
study: One woman successively married seven brothers, each of which died leaving
her to without children. They then tried to trip up Jesus by asking him whose wife
she will be in the resurrection.
(1) In Luke’s version Jesus responds:4
KJV Luke 20:34–38 NRSV Luke 20:34–38
And Jesus answering said unto them, 34
Jesus said to them, “Those who belong
The children of this world marry, and are to this age marry and are given in
given in marriage: marriage;
But they which shall be accounted 35
but those who are considered worthy of
worthy to obtain that world, and the a place in that age and in the
resurrection from the dead, neither resurrection from the dead neither marry
marry, nor are given in marriage: nor are given in marriage.
Neither can they die any more: for they 36
Indeed they cannot die any more,
are equal unto the angels; and are the because they are like angels and are
children of God, being the children of the children of God, being children of the
resurrection. resurrection.
Now that the dead are raised, even 37
And the fact that the dead are raised
Moses shewed at the bush, when he Moses himself showed, in the story about
calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the bush, where he speaks of the Lord as
the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac,
and the God of Jacob.
For he is not a God of the dead, but of
38 38
Now he is God not of the dead, but of
the living: for all live unto him. the living; for to him all of them are
iii) In order to properly understand what Jesus is teaching here, we need to put this
passage into context:

The Lucan “road trip to Jerusalem” was covered in lesson 10; see
See lesson 5, pages 1–2;
This story is also found in Mark 12:18–27 and Matthew 22:23–33. The major difference between Luke’s version and
Mark and Matthew’s version is Luke’s omission of Jesus’ statement.
Matthew and Mark’s account do not contain the material in Luke 20:34–35a (“And Jesus answering…obtain that
world….”), and have instead a statement like Matthew’s: “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God”
(Matthew 22:29b).

© 2011, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: Luke 19:45–24:53 Week 11, Page 2

(1) Anciently, it was the custom for a woman whose husband had died to marry his
next-youngest brother. Any children they had would be considered the children
of the first husband.5 This practice was called levirate marriage,6 and it was even
encoded in the Law of Moses.7
(2) The Sadducees’ challenge seems to be based on a story in Tobit, an Old
Testament apocryphal book.8
(a) Tobit tells the story of Sarah, a young Jewish girl who had been married to
seven husbands, each of whom was killed by a demon immediately after the
marriage. Since none of these marriages were ever consummated, she was not
truly married to any of the brothers (Tobit 3:8).
(b) Through the intervention of the angel Raphael, God directs Sarah to marry
Tobit’s son, Tobias. The story concludes that “Tobias was entitled to have
[Sarah] before all others who had desired to marry her” (Tobit 3:17)—in other
words, God had chosen Tobias to be her rightful husband, and all of her
previous marriages were annulled. Sarah and Tobias were married and lived
happily ever after.
(c) In Matthew’s account of the encounter with the Sadducees, Jesus accuses
them of erring, “not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God” (Matthew
22:29b). Their error was in not knowing that the scripture made it clear that
Sarah was really married to none of the seven, so the seven brothers died
unmarried, and in not knowing the power of God, who could send an angel to
see that she married the husband to whom she rightly belonged.
iv) But, regardless of who the parties were in the Sadducees’ question to Jesus, doesn’t
verse 30—“For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage”—
just mean that everyone is single in heaven? Absolutely not, and here’s why:
(1) Our English translation doesn’t adequately convey the meaning of the original
Greek. The Greek verb for “marry” is γαμέω (gameō). In Luke 20:34, the form of
the verb is γαμουσιν (gamousin), indicating that it is in third person plural (they)
and in the present tense, so it is translated simply as “they marry.”9
(2) The present tense represents an action, something performed at some particular
time; it does not represent a condition.
(a) We can be sure of this because the Greek does have a verb tense called the
perfect tense that does represent a present condition resulting from a past
completed action. There is no English counterpart to this tense, so it’s hard to
translate unambiguously, but the point here is that the verbs in Luke 20:34
are not in the perfect tense. If Luke had wanted to report that Christ said,
“Neither are they now in a married state,” the Greek in which he wrote would
have let him say so unambiguously: He would have simply written in the
present perfect tense (oute gegamêkasin). He did not; so that cannot be what
he meant.

This requirement forms the background of the story of Tamar in Genesis 38. See Old Testament lesson 9, pages 3–4;
The English word levirate comes from the Latin levir, meaning “husband’s brother.” It doesn’t have any connection to
the Israelite tribe of Levi.
See Deuteronomy 25:5–6.
The story is told in Tobit 3:7–17; see
The following explanation also applies to the same narrative in Matthew and Mark.

© 2011, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: Luke 19:45–24:53 Week 11, Page 3

(b) There are examples from the New Testament where marriage is used in the
present perfect tense. For example, Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “To the
married I give this command—not I but the Lord—that the wife should not
separate from her husband” (NRSV 1 Corinthians 7:10). The Greek word
translated “married” is gegamêkasin, meaning “those who are now in a
married state.” This is the same perfect-tense Greek word that Luke could
have used if he had wanted to state that there are no married couples in
(c) By using the present tense, Luke has Jesus simply saying, “In the resurrection,
there are no marriages performed.” It says nothing about the condition of
marriages previously performed in mortality. Since the marriages of the seven
brothers were invalidated, according to the story in Tobit, these seven
brothers remained unmarried in heaven.10
(3) The Synoptic authors agree entirely with the modern revelation on this subject:
D&C 132:15–16
Therefore, if a man marry him a wife in the world, and he
marry her not by me nor by my word, and he covenant with
her so long as he is in the world and she with him, their
covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead,
and when they are out of the world; therefore, they are not
bound by any law when they are out of the world.
Therefore, when they are out of the world they neither
marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in
heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for
those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an
eternal weight of glory.
v) Jesus, however, does not make marriage his main point; in fact, he passes by it
without commenting on the doctrine of eternal marriage, merely by stating that
marriages will not be performed there.
(1) His main point is in verses 37–38: God is not a “God of the dead, but of the
living.” Jesus’ point is to attack the Sadducees’ rejection of the resurrection. His
attempt to tie him up in a conundrum about marriage fails.
b) 21:1–4. The widow’s mite.11
i) A “mite” is the Greek λεπτον (lepton), a copper coin which was worth 1/128 of a
(1) If you remember, a denarius was a silver coin that represented a working-man’s
daily wage. So a lepton is about 6 minutes of an average daily wage—next to
nothing in value. Yet Jesus says the widow has given more than the rest, because
she has given everything she has.
Non-LDS biblical scholar Ben Witherington understands this exchange in a similar way: “Jesus stresses that in the age
to come people will neither marry nor be given in marriage. Notice what Jesus does not say. He does not say there will be no
marriage in the age to come. The use of the terms γαμουσιν (gamousin) and γαμιζονται (gamizontai) is important, for these
terms refer to the gender-specific roles played in early Jewish society by the man and the woman in the process of getting
married. The men, being the initiators of the process in such a strongly patriarchal culture, “marry,” while the women are
“given in marriage” by their father or another older family member. Thus Mark has Jesus saying that no new marriages will be
initiated in the eschatological [resurrection] state. This is surely not the same as claiming that all existing marriages will
disappear in the eschatological state.” Ben Witherington III, The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary
(Eerdmans, 2001), 328.
This story is found in Mark (12:41–44), but not in Matthew.

© 2011, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: Luke 19:45–24:53 Week 11, Page 4

ii) If two mites are all that she has, then she is indeed in dire circumstances. The
woman shows great faith and courage in adversity: Two mites are not enough to live
on; she must be in great want, perhaps near death. Yet, rather than despair and curse
God, she will still choose to do something spiritual with the little that she has. This is,
in fact, all that God ever asks of us—all we have.
iii) If we have eyes to see, anything that any of us have to give is as small and
insignificant as this widow’s mite. Yet, perhaps she could see that more clearly than
the rich; this is why it is harder to get a rich man into heaven than a camel through a
needle’s eye.
c) 21:37–38; 22:39. Jesus’ relationship with the Mount of Olives.
i) The Mount of Olives lies to the east of Jerusalem, across the brook Kidron (John
18:1). John confirms Luke’s testimony that this was one of Jesus’ favorite places, for
he “often met there with his disciples” (NRSV John 18:2b).
ii) Gethsemane was a garden on the western slope of the Mount of Olives. The word
Gethsemane (γεθσημανι) means “oil press,” undoubtedly referring to the olive oil
squeezed under heavy weight from the olives harvested between October and
December—a fitting location where Jesus would bear the weight of the sins of the
(1) The effects of Adam’s disobedience in a garden were undone by Christ’s
obedience in a garden.
3) Passion, betrayal, arrest, trial, and crucifixion.
a) Luke’s perspective on the Garden of Gethsemane.
i) 22:43. Luke does not give any clue as to the identity of the angel, nor what he said or
did to strengthen Jesus.12
ii) 22:44. Luke’s account doesn’t say that Jesus sweat blood, only that his sweat was like
(1) King Benjamin prophesied that Jesus’ suffering would be so great that “blood
cometh from every pore” (Mosiah 3:7b). Joseph Smith revealed that the suffering
in the atonement “caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because
of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit….” (D&C
(2) Jesus’ suffering did not just atone for individual sins on a one-to-one basis (i.e., X
amount of suffering on his part for X amount of sin on our part); it was an
infinite atonement (2 Nephi 9:7; Alma 34:10–14).
(a) Elder Russell M. Nelson:
In preparatory times of the Old Testament, the practice of atonement was
finite—meaning it had an end. It was a symbolic forecast of the definitive
Atonement of Jesus the Christ. [Jesus Christ’s] Atonement is infinite—
without an end. It was also infinite in that all humankind would be saved
from never-ending death. It was infinite in terms of His immense suffering.
Bruce R. McConkie surmised that the angel was Adam: “…[I]f we might indulge in speculation, we would suggest that
the angel who came into this second Eden was the same person who dwelt in the first Eden. At least Adam, who is Michael, the
archangel—the head of the whole heavenly hierarchy of angelic ministrants—seems the logical one to give aid and comfort to
his Lord on such a solemn occasion. Adam fell, and Christ redeemed men from the fall; theirs was a joint enterprise, both parts
of which were essential for the salvation of the Father's children.” The Mortal Messiah, 4:124.

© 2011, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: Luke 19:45–24:53 Week 11, Page 5

It was infinite in time, putting an end to the preceding prototype of animal

sacrifice. It was infinite in scope—it was to be done once for all. And the
mercy of the Atonement extends not only to an infinite number of people,
but also to an infinite number of worlds created by Him. It was infinite
beyond any human scale of measurement or mortal comprehension.
Jesus was the only one who could offer such an infinite atonement, since
He was born of a mortal mother and an immortal Father. Because of that
unique birthright, Jesus was an infinite Being.13
(b) President John Taylor:
In some mysterious, incomprehensible way, Jesus assumed the
responsibility which naturally would have devolved upon Adam; but which
could only be accomplished through the mediation of Himself, and by taking
upon Himself their sorrows, assuming their responsibilities, and bearing
their transgressions or sins. In a manner to us incomprehensible and
inexplicable, He bore the weight of the sins of the whole world, not only of
Adam, but of his posterity; and in doing that opened the kingdom of
iii) 22:43–44. I should note at this point that these two verses are missing from several
important early Greek manuscripts, and one manuscript has them in Matthew 26.
Some early manuscripts that do have the reading are marked by the scribe as
questionable. For this reason, most modern Bibles set these verses in brackets with a
cautionary footnote.
(1) But even if the passage is not original to Luke, there’s no reason that it must be
historically inaccurate. It’s quite possible that the saying in these verses came
from a different oral tradition that eventually found its way into Luke 22.15
b) 22:54–62. Peter’s denial.
i) Before going into Gethsemane, Jesus had foretold that Peter would deny him three
times before the night was through (22:34).16
ii) We’re familiar with the basic story:17 Jesus is arrested and dragged off, and his
disciples flee. Peter, though, follows him to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest.
Jesus is taken inside, where he is questioned and abused, while Peter remains the
courtyard by the fire. Three times bystanders accuse him of being an associate of
Jesus, and three times, Peter vehemently denies it. The rooster crows at the rising
sun, Peter remembers the Lord’s words from the previous evening, and he goes out
to weep bitterly.
iii) What are we to make of this story? What does it tell us about Peter?

Russell M. Nelson, “The Atonement,” General Conference, October 1996;
John Taylor, Mediation and Atonement (Deseret News Company, 1882), 148–49;
This is true of a number of passages in the New Testament, including, as we will see in lesson 16, John’s story of the
woman taken in adultery (John 7:53–8:11). The standard work on the Luke passage is Bart D. Ehrman and Mark Plunkett,
“The Angel and the Agony: The Textual Problem of Luke 22:43–44,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 45 (1983), 401–16. The NET
Bible footnote is also helpful; see footnote 2 at
The setting for this prophecy varies among the Synoptic Gospels: In Mark (14:26–31) and Matthew (26:30–35) it takes
place at the Mount of Olives, just before Jesus goes into Gethsemane, and is accompanied by a broader prophecy that all of his
disciples would desert him and a vehement denial from them. Luke (22:31–34) sets the saying at the Last Supper, along with
encouragement to Peter that he should strengthen his brethren.
The story is found in all four gospels: Matthew 26:69–75; Mark 14:66–72; Luke 22:54–62; John 18:15–18, 25–27. Luke’s
account adds the dramatic detail of Jesus turning to look at Peter just as the rooster crows (22:61a).

© 2011, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: Luke 19:45–24:53 Week 11, Page 6

(1) Elder Richard G. Scott saw this as a critical turning-point in Peter’s career:
As painful as that confirmation of [Jesus’] prophecy must have been for Peter,
his life began to change forever. He became that unwavering, rock-solid
servant essential to the plan of the Father after the Crucifixion and
Resurrection of the Savior. This tender passage also illustrates how very much
the Savior loved Peter. Although [Jesus] was in the midst of an overpowering
challenge to His own life, with all of the weight of what was to transpire upon
His shoulders, yet He turned and looked at Peter—the love of a teacher
transmitted to a beloved student, giving courage and enlightenment in time of
need. Thereafter, Peter rose to the full stature of his calling. He taught with
power and unshakable testimony despite threats, imprisonment, and beatings.
He was truly converted.18
(a) It’s interesting to me that Elder Scott reads Jesus’ glance toward Peter not as a
“see-I-told-you-so,” but instead as a look of encouragement and love.
(2) The interesting thing about Luke’s account of this story is that he goes easier on
Peter than Matthew and Mark do.19 I think this is important for Luke, because he
goes on in his follow-up book of Acts to show the greatness of Peter as the leader
of the Christian church after Jesus’ ascension into heaven.
(3) Similarly for each of us, Peter’s example shows how our worst personal failures
can be turned into defining moments that make us better and stronger, if we
decide to rise to the measure of what we can be.
c) 23:33–34, 39–43. Luke adds the detail about Jesus being crucified between two thieves.
One derides him, while the other pleads for mercy.
i) Jesus’ comment to the penitent thief, “To day shalt thou be with me in paradise,”
shouldn’t be read to mean more than it does. Jesus is not affirming the practice of
death-bed repentance.
(1) As we’ve previously discussed, paradise refers to the abode of pious souls until
the resurrection.20 In John’s gospel Jesus, immediately after his resurrection,
says that he has not yet ascended to his Father (John 20:17), so paradise can’t be
the dwelling place of God. Jesus is simply saying that the thief will be with him in
the spirit world, where, presumably, he will have the opportunity to hear the
gospel in full.21
(2) What intrigues me about this is that the thief merely asks that Jesus remember
him, but Jesus promises him more than he asked for. I think this goes to show
both the power and mercy of God—he is willing to do much more to save us than
we often give him credit for.
4) Luke’s resurrection accounts.
a) Let’s recap what we know about the resurrection accounts in the Synoptic Gospels:
Richard G. Scott, “Full Conversion Brings Happiness,” General Conference, April 2002;
The Matthew and Mark accounts are harsher toward Peter than Luke, portraying him as cursing and swearing that he
did not know Jesus (Matthew 26:74; Mark 14:71). In Luke’s account Peter is adamant in his denial, but his behavior does not
rise to the level of blasphemy and taking a false oath.
See lesson 7, page 9, footnote 22 ( and lesson 10, page 6 (
Elder LeGrand Richards taught: “…[T]he men of this world, understanding things according to man’s wisdom, thought
[the penitent thief] went to heaven. But according to divine truth, he went only to paradise where the Savior arranged for the
gospel to be preached to him to prepare him so that he would be worthy to stand with the sanctified and the redeemed of his
people.” General Conference, October 1977;

© 2011, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: Luke 19:45–24:53 Week 11, Page 7

i) Matthew, Mark, and Luke all agree on the basic details: The women go the tomb
early in the morning, where they find the stone rolled away from the tomb.22 An
angelic messenger23 announces the resurrection to them.
ii) In Mark’s account—remember the original ending of Mark ends with 16:8—the
women flee in terror and say nothing to anyone. In Matthew (28:8) and Luke (24:9)
they run to tell the disciples what’s happened. Matthew (28:9–10) has an appearance
of the resurrected Jesus to the women as they’re on their way.
b) 24:10–12. Luke adds a new detail: The women tell the apostles what they’ve seen, but
the apostles don’t believe them. Peter runs to the tomb to see for himself and finds it
empty, with Jesus’ burial clothes lying where his body was.24
c) Luke then has an extended narrative with two extended stories that are not in Matthew
and Mark:
i) 24:13–35. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
(1) Two men25 who were with the eleven apostles and who had heard of the women's
report are traveling by foot to the nearby village of Emmaus. Along the way they
are talking about all that had taken place.
(2) Jesus joins the two in their journey, but they are prevented from recognizing him
(24:16). Jesus draws the men into recounting all that they understood to have
occurred thus far. He then chastises them for their lack of faith and
understanding, and proceeds to demonstrate how the scriptures spoke of the
messiah’s suffering and glory.
(3) As the two men approach the village, they convince the stranger to stay the night
with them. As they sit down for the evening meal, Jesus blesses and breaks the
bread, and suddenly they recognize him, whereupon he vanishes.
(4) Their words to each other are important:
KJV Luke 24:32 NRSV Luke 24:32
And they said one to another, Did not
They said to each other, “Were not our

our heart burn within us, while he talked hearts burning within us while he was
with us by the way, and while he opened talking to us on the road, while he was
to us the scriptures? opening the scriptures to us?”
(a) This “burning heart” experience was the witness of the Holy Ghost that Jesus
had risen and was there with them. Only after the experience did they realize
what had happened; they failed to recognize it at the time because their
unbelief held them back.
(i) This is one of the manifestations of the Holy Ghost (see D&C 9:8).
(5) The men immediately returned to Jerusalem—a dangerous journey at night, one
that would only be taken in extreme urgency—and discover that Jesus has also
appeared to Peter (24:33–34).26

In Matthew (28:2) there is a great earthquake and an angel rolls away the stone as the women watch. In Mark (16:4),
Luke (24:2), and John (20:1) the stone has already been moved when they arrive.
Matthew (28:2–3) and Mark (16:5) have only one angel making the announcement, while Luke (24:4) and John (20:12)
have two.
A similar account is found in John 20:1–9, where Peter and the beloved disciple both run to the tomb.
Only one of the travelers is named (Cleopas; Luke 24:18). There has been a great deal of speculation as to the identify of
the other man, with some even claiming that it was Luke himself.

© 2011, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Hurricane West Stake Adult Religion Class New Testament: Luke 19:45–24:53 Week 11, Page 8

ii) 24:36–49. Jesus appears to the disciples and confirms his physical resurrection.
(1) Luke’s account of the risen Christ is the most detailed and emphatic of the
Synoptics.27 Jesus goes to great lengths to demonstrate that he was physically
present with them, and not just a spirit, by presenting his body to be examined,
and eating before them.
(2) 24:45–47. He then opens their minds to understand the scriptures, his mission,
and their commission to preach the gospel.
(3) 24:48. The idea of being a witness of Jesus Christ and his resurrection is very
important to Luke.28 As the apostles go forth in Acts, they go as eyewitnesses of
his death and resurrection.
(4) 24:49. In Mark (16:7) and Matthew (28:7), the angels told the disciples to go to
Galilee, where they would see the risen Lord; and in Matthew (28:16–20) they go
to a mountain in Galilee where Jesus commissions them.
(a) Luke’s version is different. He commands them to remain in the city of
Jerusalem until they are “endued [clothed] with power from on high.” (This
will be fulfilled when they receive the Holy Ghost on the Day of Pentecost—
Acts 2).
d) 24:50–53. Jesus goes to Bethany,29 a small town 2 miles east of Jerusalem on the
eastern slope of the Mount of Olives and home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. There he
lifts up his hands (the Jewish form of prayer) and blesses the apostles, and ascends into
i) This is the only ascension account in the gospels. Matthew and John end with the
resurrected Jesus commissioning the disciples and making other appearances, but
they don’t say anything about what happened to him.
ii) The timing of the resurrection and ascension in Luke is also very quick: It all appears
to take place on the same day, Easter Sunday.
5) As we close our study of the three Synoptic Gospels, I’d like to leave my witness of the
reality of the resurrection of Jesus. Despite some of the chronological and geographical
differences between these three gospels, all of them share the same basic message: Jesus
Christ was the Son of God who ministered among the people of Galilee and Judea, suffered
in the garden, at his unjust trial, and on the cross, and died and rose again that we might
return to the presence of the Father.
6) Next week we’ll begin reading from Luke’s account of the post-resurrection ministry of
Jesus’ apostles known as Acts.
a) Reading: Acts 1:1–9:43.

This appearance of the resurrected Christ to Simon Peter is not recounted in any of the gospels. It may be the same
visitation mentioned by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:5.
Only John’s resurrection account rivals Luke’s in its emphatic materialism. For this reason, some scholars have argued
that Luke and John composed their gospels in part to counter the rise of Gnosticism in the late 1st century. (Gnostic Christians
believed that Christ was spiritual, not physical, and that the material body is something to be overcome.) See C. H. Talbert,
Luke and the Gnostics: An Examination of the Lucan Purpose (Abingdon, 1966).
See Luke 1:2; Acts 1:8, 22; 2:32; 3:15; 4:33; 5:32; 10:39–42; 13:30–31.
Again, not Galilee as in Matthew 28:16–20.

© 2011, Mike Parker For personal use only. Not a Church publication.