Sunday School Blog
Sunday School Lesson
“The Good Samaritan”
June 18, 2017
Jesus often used parables, earthly illustrations, to teach spiritual truths. Parables are illustrations, word pictures, and stories familiar to the hearer’s context meant to reveal spiritual truths and scriptural principals.
“Priest” – descended from Aaron, oversight of the Levitical system (Temple and sacrifices). Devoutly religious
“Levite” – of the tribe of Levi (not a descendant of Aaron), responsible for assisting the priests. Strictly adhered to the Mosaic Law and religious traditions.
“Samaritan” – blended race of people (Half Hebrew) considered by the Jews to be social and spiritual misfits; often referred to by the Jews as dogs.
The injured man in this story is not identified
This parable does not teach that eternal life is obtained by one’s love for God and others. If this was true then salvation could never be obtained … Jesus said that “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Love, then is absolute obedience which no one does; therefore, if love (obedience) is the requirement for eternal life then we all will fall short.
The Lord’s answer to the question, “what must I do to inherit eternal life,” was not an answer but an assertion: your actions and attitude will evidence whether or not you have eternal life. In this case your love for God and for one another is the evidence of one’s salvation.
“Who is my neighbor” - Jesus turns the question around and identifies the quality of being neighborly.
Here is the TRUTH – Loving God does not occur in a vacuum … loving God is seen through the act of loving others … when confronted, ministering to the needs of others.
The parable ends with the command – Go and do… truth requires action (SEE James 4:17)
Identify some things that a good neighbor might do for someone …
Loving God and loving neighbors sums up the Law (Luke 10:25-28).
As an “expert in the law,” he was not looking for an answer but an opportunity to discredit the Lord (“test him”). His question was not sincere.
Note the assumption in the question “what must I do.” The lawyer assumed a works based redemption.
DISCUSS – Is salvation by works? By grace plus works? By faith alone? If by works, even grace plus works, then salvation is a debt owed by God to man for what he has done (SEE Romans 4:1-5 and Galatians 2:21).
Jesus answered the question with a question … “how do you perceive the teaching of Scripture?”
The “expert in the law” answered “love God and love your neighbor even as you love yourself.”
Jesus agreed with the “lawyers” perception of the path to eternal life … the reality is if you love God you will be doing those things which are associated with eternal life.
If you are loving God and loving others you are on the right path, a path which indicates/evidences one’s possession of eternal life.
Explain: (1) “heart” – emotions (2) “soul” – the spirit/the inner man (3) “strength” – physical/actions and activities, what you do (4) “mind” – intellect
Explain: “love your neighbor as yourself” How do you show self love?
Loving our neighbor means showing compassion (Luke 10:29-35).
The lawyer wanted Jesus to limit the scope of “who is my neighbor” so that he might justify himself. He was afraid of where Jesus was taking this conversation. (who “neighbor” might include). He interpreted neighbor narrowly, while Jesus defined “neighbor” broadly. One was exclusive while the other was inclusive.
“A man” – could be any man
The Jericho road was notorious for crime. We would describe the Jericho road as the bad part of town.
From Jerusalem to Jericho was about 18 miles and was a rocky terrain.
Jesus does not tell us WHY priest and Levite pass by. What do you think? It might have been time constraints. It might have been fear. It might have been religious: did not want to become unclean. Their failure to help, no matter the reason, indicated a lack of compassion/mercy.
DISCUSS - What do you think you would have done?
The Samaritan moved by compassion did something at personal sacrifice. If the injured man was a Jew this story adds additional implications (why?). He could have said, “Jews hate Samaritans, and wouldn’t help me if I was in this condition, so why should I help him.”
Confronted with a problem the Samaritan felt responsible … it was his problem; he felt personally responsible.
“two denarii” – two days wages
Compassion from Jesus leads to compassion for others (Luke 10:36-38).
A neighbor is someone who has a legitimate need of whom you have been confronted and have the capacity to assist in some way.
Instead of answering “who is my neighbor?” Jesus focuses on being neighborly.
The broader application of the parable – Show others compassion in the same way God has shown you compassion.
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
1 John 3:16-18
Theological Theme: Loving our neighbor means serving others with a heart of compassion.
Christological/Christ Connection: Eternal life is not the result of something we do but what Christ, out of a heart of compassion, did for us.
Missional Application: We are to model God’s compassion by showing mercy compassion toward others.