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Reaching His World – Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
Dr. Tony Chute, Lead Pastor
Overview: The parable of the Good Samaritan has been allegorized to make a separate point entirely, or so minimized that it misses the point altogether. Yet, when rightly understood, it reminds us that we cannot love God without loving others, including those who are most unlike us. The occasion for the parable occurred when a lawyer demonstrated an academic grasp of God’s commandments but failed to understand the radical change of heart one must undergo in order to live as God intends. The content of the parable exposes our tendency to neglect others when our lives are well-ordered and when the person in need cannot contribute to our well-being. By making a Samaritan the hero of the story, with his lack of concern for social stigma and continued commitment for the victim’s healing, Jesus illustrated perfectly how we should love our neighbor as we love ourselves.
01. As we love our neighbors as ourselves, let us remember to share the gospel in word as well as in deed.
02. As we love our neighbors as ourselves, let us respond to their needs with more concern for where they are than for where they have been.
03. As we love our neighbors as ourselves, let us recollect that we have been on the receiving end of a greater love.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION & DISCOVERY
1. How would you explain the parable of the Good Samaritan to someone who is unfamiliar with the Bible? What aspects of this parable would a non-believer find offensive or impossible to carry out? What aspects of this parable do you find difficult to handle?
2. What do you make of Jesus’ initial answer to the lawyer when he asked about inheriting eternal life? Why didn’t Jesus simply say, “Repent of your sins and believe in Me”? How does Jesus’ response demonstrate the sin of self-love that lie deep in the lawyer’s heart?
3. Although the parable is not a historical account, it has been suggested that the Priest and Levite walked past the wounded man because they would have been unable to perform their duties at the Temple if they had touched him. In what ways are we also tempted to rationalize our failure to serve others in need?
4. Jesus used the Samaritan as the hero of the story to illustrate how even the “worst” of people can see others in need and give a helping hand. What type of person might be the hero in such a story today? Are there any people you would not help, though you could if they were genuinely in need?
5. Why must we remember to share the gospel in word and in deed as we love others? How can we do both with no strings attached? What are we communicating about the gospel as we serve others who otherwise would not expect our help?
For Further Reading: Mark Labberton, The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor: Seeing Others Through the Eyes of Jesus (IVP, 2010)