Matthew 18; Luke 10: “What Shall I Do to Inherit Eternal Life?”

The Good Samaritan by Dan Burr

This week’s lesson in the Come, Follow Me manual encourages us to notice how the Savior answered questions in unexpected ways. Here are some things I’ve learned from this week’s reading, grouped by the questions which prompted these teachings:

1. Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

Why would the disciples ask this? Presumably, they wanted to know how they could excel spiritually. Here is the Savior’s challenging reply: “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:1-3).

The angel who appeared to King Benjamin taught the same principle. After explaining that little children are saved by Jesus Christ because they cannot sin, he added, “but men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children.” He then listed several childlike qualities: “submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him” (Mosiah 3:18-19).

When Jesus visited the American continent, He told the people that they must repent, become as a little child, and be baptized to inherit the kingdom of God. (See 3 Nephi 11:37-38.)

And Mormon later instructed his son Moroni to “teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children” (Moroni 8:10).

Here are two blog posts about emulating children:

2. How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

Peter knew that forgiveness was required. He just wanted to know how much. Jesus responded by emphasizing the enduring imperative of forgiveness: “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22).

God offers to heal us when we are wounded, but we have to want to be healed. (See Luke 18:41John 5:6.) An unforgiving person hangs onto their wounds as evidence against their antagonist. They are therefore not willing to let God perform His healing work.

Here’s a blog post about this essential gospel principle:

3. Who is my neighbour?

The lawyer who questioned the Savior already understood the two great commandments: We must love God and love our neighbor. However, he apparently wanted to circumscribe the definition of “neighbor.” Luke says he did this “to justify himself” (Luke 10:29).

Jesus turned the tables on this question with the parable of the Good Samaritan. “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?” He asked. “He that shewed mercy on him,” said the lawyer. “Go, and do thou likewise,” instructed the Savior (Luke 10:36-37). No restrictions, no limitations. We are to love everyone.

In the parable, the Good Samaritan took the wounded traveler to an inn. The Greek word for inn is pandocheion (πανδοχεῖον), a compound word which literally means “all-accepting” or “receptive to all.” Elder Gerrit W. Gong said, “Jesus Christ invites us to become, like Him, a good Samaritan, to make His Inn (His Church) a refuge for all from life’s bruises and storms” (Room in the Inn,” General Conference, April 2021 (see footnote 2). Here is a blog post on that topic:

4. Dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone?

Martha was frustrated. Like her sister, Mary, she loved Jesus and was honored to have Him in their home. But unlike her sister, who sat at Jesus’ feet learning from Him, she was busy. There was much work to be done, and she became increasingly upset as she did more and more of the work alone. Finally, she voiced her displeasure, not to Mary but to Jesus: “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me” (Luke 10:40). I find the first part of the sentence to be most poignant. Like the disciples on the ship in the storm, we sometimes wonder whether the Savior even cares about what we are going through. (See Mark 4:38.)

He does care, and He began His response with a statement of empathy: “Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things.” After acknowledging Martha’s concerns, He went on to validate Mary’s actions: “One thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).

By speaking positively about both sisters, Jesus modeled how to be a peacemaker. See the following blog post on this topic: Blessed Are the Peacemakers – 3 Nephi 12:9.

We can also learn from Martha’s experience. The Greek word for “cumbered,” perispao (περισπάω), means literally “pulled in all directions.” If we aren’t careful, we can become overstretched and overscheduled, crowding out time and energy that could otherwise be spent drawing closer to God and strengthening relationships with others. Here’s a blog post about avoiding that predicament:

Blog Posts: April 18-23

Lehi’s Dream

Three characters in my Uncle Paul’s sculpture of Lehi’s dream are particularly striking: the man on the left looking up with determination, the individual running toward the mocking crowd, and the woman lending a helping hand to a person in need.

The Mouths of Babes

Children can be more receptive to spiritual learning than adults for at least three reasons: 1. They are less self-conscious. 2. They are more aware of their vulnerability. 3. They have a natural curiosity. We can emulate children as we seek revelation.


Jesus condemned child abuse in the strongest possible terms. President Nelson has also reiterated the Savior’s teachings on this issue. Here are some things I learned by studying the Church’s abuse prevention website today.

Their Angels

Jesus warned us not to despise children, because “their angels do always behold the face of God.” Who are these angels? Nephi, Jacob, and Alma all had angels minister to them. We also may receive heavenly help from angels whom we do not see.

That Good Part

Martha was frustrated because her sister Mary was listening to Jesus while she was busy working. Jesus encouraged her to rethink the importance of Mary’s decision. We can all review how we are spending our time and make necessary adjustments.

How to Love a Samaritan

We tend to develop rivalries with people similar to us. The Jews and the Samaritans, like the Nephites and the Lamanites, had much more in common than the things which divided them. Here are some ways to build bridges with our “Samaritans.”

3 thoughts on “Matthew 18; Luke 10: “What Shall I Do to Inherit Eternal Life?”

Add yours

  1. Hello!
    My name is Benedict. I’m establishing a personal belief system/religion for myself (for myself only-I don’t want to convert anyone) and it’s been heavily influenced by the LDS faith. I want to be ordained as the first elder of my religion, and I was wondering if you could say a blessing for me/ordain me as the first priest of my religion. My religion is very similar to the LDS faith.


      1. Benedict,
        I hope you saw my reply to your comment on the post “That Good Part” ( I’m delighted that you are finding value in the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I’m happy that you want to become a priest. I invite you to reach out to missionaries from the Church if you want to learn more about how that can be done. You can request a visit, either virtual or in person at the following link:
        I hope that’s helpful. Please feel free to reach out if you have other questions.


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