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LESSON 9 - TRUE LOVE (LUKE 10 - GOOD SAMARITAN)

Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.  All Scripture references are to
the NIV unless otherwise noted. Suggested answers are found within
parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard.

INTRODUCTION:  This week our study is the parable of the Good
Samaritan and what it means to us today.


I. THE TEST

     A. Turn with me to Luke 10:25-28.  Read. Does the lawyer 
     really want to know the answer to this question? (v.25 "to
     test Jesus.")

     B. Who ends up answering the question? (The lawyer answers his
     own question!)

     C. Why do you think that Jesus turned the question around and
     asked the lawyer what he thought? (Jesus did not need to be
     tested by the lawyer.  His goal was not to prove Himself to
     this lawyer, his goal was to save the lawyer. By having the
     lawyer participate in working out the answer, He got him
     involved.  That is what we are doing today -- getting you (and
     me) involved!) 

     D. What is the answer to going to heaven? (v.27 Love God and
     love your neighbor.)

     E. Read v. 29. We know who God is.  The lawyer wants to know
     who his neighbor is, and so do we.  So let's find out.

II. THE STORY

     A. Read Luke 10:30.  You know Jerusalem was the capital where
     the temple was located.  Do you also know that Jericho was a
     nice place to live?  It had warm winters. Great things to eat.
     So people would be inclined to travel between those two
     cities.

          1. Know anything about the road between them? (Very 
          steep, rocky and hilly. It drops 3,600 feet in 20 miles. 
          Bandits hide in the hills and rob travellers.  So it was
          smart to travel in groups.)

     B. Our lesson says to make this story come alive today, and I
     agree.  What is the most dangerous place to travel, in terms
     of bandits,  that all of us know about? (Parts of Washington,
     DC? Miami? Georgetown South?)

          1. Is it the traveller's fault that he is robbed? (He 
          appears to have been travelling alone -- so he was taking
          a risk.)

          2. What does our traveller need? (He needs everything. He
          has lost his possessions and his health.)

               a. Can he make it on his own without help?

     C. Read vv. 31-32. Let's set this up.  You know I live south
     of here.  Instead of taking the longer road through
     Wellington, I drive through Georgetown South.  Let's assume
     two things: I am driving to church here to teach this class or
     to preach. So, I've got a suit on.  Not just a suit, one of my
     better suits.  And (I know this is the wrong timing, but it
     better fits the facts), I am driving at 11:00pm.  I see a guy
     laying off the road in a dark area of Georgetown South and he
     is covered with blood. The police and emergency people are on
     strike. [Make two columns on the blackboard: "Not Stop,"
     "Stop.")

          1. Give me reasons not to stop? (Extremely dangerous. 
          The same thing that happened to him might happen to me. 
          It would screw up my suit. Besides, what am I going to do
          with this guy after I stop? Think about being involved in
          the criminal investigation later. He might already be
          dead, in which case I am endangering myself for no
          reason. Then the best reason: I'll be late or miss
          preaching the sermon or teaching the lesson!)

          2. Give me reasons to stop? (No reasons that help me. 
          Only reason is to help him -- and I don't even know him.)

          3. Are you stopping or not? (NO!)

          4. Did the Priest and Levite stop?  Why not? (All the 
          reasons we discussed, plus they have the "best reason:"
          they could pass by for a "higher" religious reason. Will
          someone read Leviticus 21:1-4, 11. Compare Numbers
          31:19.)

          5. Why did they "pass by on the other side?" (They did
          not want to be confronted with this any longer than
          possible.)

               a. If they did not want to be confronted, do you 
               think a little light went off in their heads
               saying, "You should help?" (Yes. If they were
               absolutely convinced they had no duty, why not gawk
               at the guy? They did not want to be confronted by
               their conscience.)

          
     D. Read vv.33-35. A Samaritan stopped by.  Good thing, right? 
     We all know about "Good Samaritans."  They are supposed to
     stop, right? (No! Do you remember our study of Ezra? The
     Babylonians destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and took all the
     "better" people captive.  When the Jews returned to rebuild
     the temple, Jerusalem and their homes, they found that the
     Jews who had been left had intermarried with gentiles. This
     "mixed" group offered to help, was turned down, and thus
     spurned they became enemies.  They were part of the group that
     tried to stop the rebuilding and threatened a military
     attack.)

          1. If the roles had been reversed, would the injured man
          have stopped to help the Samaritan? (Most likely the
          injured man was a Jew.  He would almost certainly not
          have stopped to help a Samaritan. The Jews thought
          Samaritans were inferior.)

          2. So add to your reasons not to stop that the victim is
          of a different race (that spurned your ancestors), thinks
          he is superior to you, and would never have stopped if
          the tables were reversed.)

          3. Why does the Samaritan stop? (v.33 He took pity!  This
          fellow has a loving heart.)

     E. What does the Samaritan do to help? List.

          (1. Risks his life to stop;

          2. Attends to the immediate problem of stopping the 
          bleeding and infection:

          3. Gives him his ride;

          4. Takes him to shelter and safety;

          5. Spends the night with him, thus interrupting his 
          schedule;

          6. Spends his own money; and,

          7. Writes a "blank check" for his care!)

     F. Can you think of anything else the Samaritan could have 
     done to help him? (If you say, "take him home," you are wrong. 
     The normal Jew would not want to go to the home of a Gentile.
     See Acts 10:28-29)

     G. Read vv. 36-37. Notice how Jesus responds to the original
     question. Verse 29 has the lawyer asking, "Who is my
     neighbor?"  Did Jesus say, "The Samaritans are you neighbors!"
     (No. He didn't say that. He said this Samaritan was a neighbor
     to the injured man (and presumably would be a neighbor to the
     lawyer if he needed help.)

          1. What made the Samaritan a "neighbor?" (A willingness
          to help, to "have mercy.") 

          2. When Jesus told the lawyer to "do likewise," was he
          telling him he should "have mercy?" (Yes.)

          3. Who should he have mercy on? (I think Jesus, by this
          indirect answer is saying that the proper question is not
          "who is my neighbor?"  The proper question is, "will I
          show mercy to this person who crosses my path and needs
          help?" This in not a question of geography.  It is not a
          question of who is in our "class" or our "circle."  It is
          a question of need.)

     H. Many of you have cell phones.  As a practical matter this
     story could never "happen" or apply to you. You could stop,
     keep your doors locked, call 911, and get professional help
     within seconds.

          1. Right?

          2. Is it possible this story could "happen" to you today?
          (This "happens" any time a "need" presents itself.)

     I. When Jesus says that we should love someone who needs help
     "as yourself," what does He mean? (If the positions were
     changed, what would you want the other person to do for you? 
     After you have answered that question, then do it!)

     J. Let's look at the principles involved: 

          1. Is danger ever an excuse for not helping?

          2. How about "higher" religious duties? (If they say, 
          "No," to both questions point out that they have set a
          very high standard for their conduct.)

     K. Let's apply your principles:

          1. Do you pick up a "hitchhiker" that crosses your path?

          2. Do you pick up a homeless person and take him home 
          with you (or to a hotel)? (Remember, danger is no excuse
          you told me.)

(The standard is to love someone as you would love yourself.  We
need to look at this closely. If a person is homeless because they
are lazy or have a destructive lifestyle, then it is not loving to
encourage them in that lifestyle by helping them to avoid the
consequences of that lifestyle.  Remember the parable of the
prodigal?  He came to his senses when he hit bottom.  If someone
had taken him in so that he did not have to feed pigs, he would not
have been confronted with his sin. Think about what is REALLY in
your best interests were the positions reversed.  Being tough is
sometimes the loving thing to do. Consider the fact that Jesus let
Lazarus die for a "higher" purpose.)

III. NEXT WEEK: "TO FORGIVE IS DIVINE." The parable of the man who
owed 10,000 talents. Study!