The text for this lesson is Luke 10:25–37.
- Jesus calls us to show mercy to everyone in need because He Himself is the Good Samaritan to us.
- Law: We are in desperate need of forgiveness because we have often passed by on the other side when we have seen our neighbor in need.
- Gospel: We are forgiven because Jesus had mercy on us, paying for our sins with His life.
- Law: We are sometimes selective in whom we love, loving those like ourselves but keeping our distance from those who are different.
- Gospel: Jesus equally loves Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female, young and old, and even each of us.
- Law: We are commanded to help and support our neighbor in every physical need.
- Gospel: We truly desire to love and serve our neighbor because Jesus first loved us.
When the Lord revealed Himself to Moses, He described Himself as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6). His covenants with Israel were motivated by His grace, mercy, and love. Therefore, the love shown by individuals in Israel was to be understood as a gift from the Lord; any mercy they showed was animated by the mercy already shown by God.
When Jesus came, He found that many Jews were getting things backwards. Instead of saying, “God has been merciful to us, so now we live grateful lives of limitless mercy toward all others,” they said, “Let’s codify how much mercy we need to show—and determine to whom we need to show it.” The lawyer in the story of the Good Samaritan was a legalistic Pharisee and held to the latter attitude. Jesus used the story to call Israel back to the proper attitude.
Discussion Points and Questions
- Read Luke 10:30–37. So, who is our neighbor?
- The Samaritan had compassion and was willing to show love through his actions. He shared Jesus’ love with someone in need. Who is the Samaritan in our lives?
- How does Jesus reveal himself in the parable of the Good Samaritan as the true Good Samaritan?
- The Bible teaches us that we should be merciful because God is merciful to us. How is God merciful to us?
- How do we sin against the Fifth Commandment?
- Do you ever use religion, profession, or ethnic background when you choose which people to help in your life? Think of a time you could have helped someone, but didn’t. Think of what you failed to do. Who are some of the people you have opportunities to help? How are you able to help them?
- How did God, through His Son, show us how to love and serve our neighbor?
- What motivates us to “Go and do likewise”? See 2 Corinthians 5:14-15 and Galatians 2:20.
- How might neglect of our spiritual need hamper our ability to love God and our neighbor?
- How does God work through others to heal His people?
For next week, read the story of Dorcas in Acts 9:36–42.