Lesson for 10 18 2020

Loving Your Neighbor

Bible Background • Leviticus 19:18; Luke 10:25-37
Printed Text • Luke 10:25-37 | Devotional Reading • John 5:1-15

Aim for Change

By the end of this lesson, we will EXPLORE the concept of neighbor in the conversation between Jesus and the lawyer, VALUE all people as God does, and SHARE love and mercy with those who are in need, even those who are different from us.

In Focus

She just could not understand him. Truthfully, she had no desire to. He was just too different. The old man did not think like her, look like her, or believe as she did. He had a reputation for being cold and sometimes rude. The neighborhood children were afraid of him, and her neighbors kept their distance. Why should she be the one to reach out now that he was ill? Where were his children? They probably avoided him for good reason. Where were his friends? Ha! He probably didn’t have any. Yet, she felt drawn to him. So, Mary brought Mr. Martinez a meal. He invited her to share it with him. Three hours later, she realized how dreadfully wrong she had been. Mr. Martinez was a man filled with pain as a result of being wrongly accused of a crime. Having been betrayed by a “friend,” he was slow to trust. He lost his family in the process and was overwhelmed by guilt and feelings of abandonment. His pride had prevented him from reconnecting with them upon being released from prison. Now he suffered— alone. By serving him one meal, Mary became a true neighbor and gave him hope. We are exhorted to love God and our neighbors. This lesson reveals the connection between the two and encourages us to expand our definition of neighbor.

Do you have more trouble giving help to or accepting help from a stranger?

Keep in Mind

“Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37, KJV)

“‘Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?’ Jesus asked. The man replied, ‘The one who showed him mercy.’ Then Jesus said, ‘Yes, now go and do the same.’” (Luke 10:36-37, NLT)

KJV Luke 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?


 NLT Luke 10:25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”

27 The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”

29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.

32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.

34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.

35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

The People, Places, and Times

The Road to Jericho. Travel from Jerusalem to Jericho was by way of a steeply descending road that wound through rocky places that easily hid robbers. Jericho was lower in elevation than Jerusalem, and they were about 17 miles from each other. One had to contend not only with the steepness of the road, but also with ravines, caves, and sharp turns that hindered the traveler. The road was especially dangerous because robbers were common and often attacked a person traveling alone, thus earning the road the name, “path of blood.”

Laws of Purity. Priests were not to touch a corpse because it was impure. Pharisees even believed that if the shadow of a corpse fell on a person, the person became impure. Priests and Levites were expected to observe high standards of ritual purity for their sacred ministry. When the priest saw the traveler, he did not know whether the man was dead or alive. Therefore, because of the laws governing purity, he did not want to risk defilement by touching him. Such laws were not as strict for Levites, but the Levite also wanted to avoid defilement since any approach to the wounded man would have seriously compromised his position.

Background

Many times the teachers of the law, along with the scribes and Pharisees, questioned Jesus in order to test and trap Him. This was done to discredit Jesus’ ministry. They were considered religious and moral authorities and highly revered among common Jews. As proclaimed “protectors” of the Law, lawyers (i.e. scribes) often questioned Jesus on religious matters. The questions were usually popular questions of the day or ones in which whatever answer was given would place you in a particular theological camp. Jesus was a master at not only giving the right answer but challenging the scribes and Pharisees to live a more God-pleasing life through the answers He gave. The answer He gives to this lawyer is a parable starring a Samaritan. Samaria was the name given to the Northern Kingdom and its capital city. After the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom, they carried off many of its inhabitants, replacing some of them with people from other conquered lands. The people of the region practiced a form of Judaism that did not include worshiping at the Jerusalem Temple, believing their local Mount Gerizim to be a holier site. They also included some of the religions of the foreigners living there. In New Testament times, the Samaritans were considered heretics and were hostile toward the Jews. They were despised by the Jews because of their mixed Jewish-Gentile blood and their different worship practices. The relationship between the two people groups was a hostile one.

How do you respond when questioned about your faith?


At-A-Glance

1. The Test (Luke 10:25–29)

2. The Parable (vv. 30–35)

3. The Moral (vv. 36-37)

In Depth

1. The Test (Luke 10:25–29)

This conversation is considered a typical one between rabbis and their students. Rabbis would often answer a question with a question and affirm (or denounce) students’ responses. Perhaps this is what the lawyer was expecting when he begins this conversation with a question about inheriting eternal life. If his aim was to trap Jesus, then he failed. The Living Word caused him to go to the written Scriptures to explain himself. Note that the lawyer knows the answer. Jesus recognizes that the lawyer knows the law theoretically, but not experientially. Jesus responds, “You have answered correctly.” This is not implying that eternal life is based on works. It is by faith in Christ alone. One who loves God with all His heart, soul, strength, and mind is one who desires to please Him through obedience (cf. John 15:9–14; 1 John 4:20–21). As a learned, religious Jew, the lawyer’s response was the correct verbal response, but his follow-up question brings out new territory. His question is designed to put Jesus on the spot. The lawyer asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (v. 29) If he really wants to inherit eternal life, he needs to live out the commands of Scripture. Jesus’ response to the follow-up question not only caused the lawyer to give his own answer, but the lawyer’s response shows the relationship between the written law and the lived law of love. In short, Jesus’ final word is “just do it!”

Have you seen Christians pose questions about the Bible, not for an answer, but to show off their knowledge or “trip up” a teacher or other person? What causes this behavior?

2. The Parable (vv. 30–35)

As an illustration of neighborly love, Jesus tells this parable. A man taking the dangerous journey from Jerusalem to Jericho is robbed, stripped, beaten senseless, and left on the road almost dead (v. 30). Many people during that time did not have extra clothes; therefore, clothing was a valuable item to steal. A person would expect the priest or Levite to aid an injured fellow Jew, but neither the priest nor the Levite helped the injured man. Perhaps they had any number of very sensible reasons including the purity laws, which forbade the priest and Levite touching dead things. Of course, the bottom line is that they valued their positions more than kindness. Because they longed to be right on the letter of the Law, they failed to interpret the meaning of the words. The Samaritan, however, goes out of his way to help the man. Unexpectedly, the Samaritan sets aside cultural animosity to show compassion. Even though no Jew would like to admit it, the Samaritans knew just as well as the Jews did that God loves to show mercy. This Samaritan is a picture of love to someone with whom he is neither familiar nor has any previous friendship. He was moved with compassion at seeing another’s misery. It is undeniable that the Samaritan is the better person—the true neighbor. He illustrates that a neighbor is one who sees another who is in need and uses whatever resources he has to meet that need.

How many times have you been in a situation in which someone of another race or culture stopped to help you?

3. The Moral (vv. 36-37)

The lawyer does not hesitate in answering Jesus’ (and his own) question: Who is the injured man’s neighbor? The Samaritan clearly acted beyond the norm to do all he could to show love and concern for the injured man. Therefore, the lawyer answered, “He that shewed mercy on him’’ (from v. 37). Once the lawyer admitted that the definition of neighbor is larger than he assumed it to be, Jesus told the lawyer that he must do as the Samaritan did if he really wanted to inherit eternal life and fulfill the Law. Race and location keep neighbors from meeting each other, even in some churches. We often look upon anyone who is not a part of our group as an outsider. God commands us to be neighborly to everyone. It does not matter whether the other person is rich, middle-class, or poor; Black, White, or biracial. Everyone is called to enter a relationship with Jesus. Our circle must be wide enough to encompass all of God’s creation.

Are their barriers to serving our neighbors today? In what ways can we show mercy to others (e.g., the Samaritan gave money and helped provide healthcare)?


Search the Scriptures

1. What does the lawyer say is the way to inherit eternal life? How consuming is the pursuit (Luke 10:27)?

2. What did Jesus do to illustrate how to be a good neighbor (v. 30)?

3. When the Samaritan saw the injured man, what made him stop to help (v. 33)?

4. What did Jesus encourage the lawyer to practice (v. 37)?

Discuss the Meaning

1. What message should we learn from the priest and the Levite passing the injured man on the road? Were their concerns legitimate?

2. What message can we take personally from the Samaritan’s willingness to stop?


Liberating Lesson

Sometimes we will not stop to help someone because we think they will harm us. We are afraid that stopping may do more injury than good. We suspect others of being involved in illicit behavior such as drug dealing or running a scam to steal money or property. Sometimes this is true, but how do you discern when to help? We look at race, location, and the appearance of the person before determining whether help should be given. We look at all of these things, but God examines hearts first. God stops and listens to our cries of distress no matter what condition we are in and comes to our rescue. The next time you pass someone who is begging or stopped on the side of the road, put yourself in their place. Wouldn’t you want someone to stop and help you?

Application for Activation

Consider the cries for help and mercy within your own little world. Can you help? Will you help? Start by engaging your family in a group project. Is there a sick “neighbor” in need of help with house chores, etc.? Could the family adopt a person who is lonely and alone in life? Could the family work together to save money for a needy cause? The ideas are limitless and so are the needs.

Follow the Spirit

What God wants me to do

Remember Your Thoughts

Special insights I have learned:


Say It Correctly

Assisi. Ah-SEE-see

Judea, joo-DEE-uh

Mosaic, moh-ZAY-ik

Daily Bible Readings

MONDAY

The Lord Is Merciful and Gracious

(Psalm 103:1-14)

TUESDAY

Responding to Unwanted Demands

(Matthew 5:38-42)

WEDNESDAY

Handling Family Difficulties

(Leviticus 25:35-39)

THURSDAY

Home Life of the Faithful

(Psalm 128)

FRIDAY

Forgiving the Ignorant

(Luke 23:32-36)

SATURDAY

Blessed and Rewarded

(Matthew 5:1-12)

SUNDAY

Love and Forgive Your Enemies

(Luke 6:27-36)