6. TEACHINGS OF JESUS B: WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?
Background: The situation with this parable is a bit like a despised immigrant hurrying to the aid of an injured far-right extremist. At the time of Jesus, the Jews despised the Samaritans who were living between inside their territory. Samaritans were partly Assyrian origin and their religion was different from that of the Jews. Both, however, believed in one God and the five books of Moses.
Verses 25-27. At the time of Jesus “a lawyer” meant a person who had studied the Bible thoroughly and knew the law of Moses. Most of the lawyers were opponents of Jesus.
- Why did the lawyer want to test Jesus?
- How would you answer the first question that the lawyer asked Jesus?
- Why did Jesus answer the lawyer with another question?
- The lawyer answered Jesusí question by quoting the double commandment of love. Why is this commandment very difficult to fulfil?
- If obeying the commandment of love is the condition for going to heaven, who will go there? Will you?
- Look at verse 28. Does Jesus teach here that obeying the commandment to love is a condition for going to heaven? Give your reasons.
- Who did the lawyer regard as his neighbors and who did he not?
- Verse 28 shows that the lawyer was convinced of having fulfilled the law of God, including the commandment to love. How do we know he was wrong?
Verse 30: The mountain road between Jerusalem and Jericho was 25 km (about 15Ĺ miles) long and sparsely populated, making it an ideal place for robbers and highwaymen. The beaten man was a Jew, as were the robbers, the priest and the Levite.
- What kind of assault leaves a beaten man as half dead?
- What had made the robbers so hard-hearted as to treat a fellow human being like this?
- What kind of help would the beaten man need? How long do you think he would survive if he didnít get any?
- Imagine what kind of thoughts went through the mind of the half-dead man when he came to his senses from time to time?
- What might the injured man have thought when he heard the approaching footsteps on the road? What did he think when the footsteps passed by him?
- What was on the minds of the wife and children of this man as they waited for the father to come home?
Verses 31-32. A priest and a Levite (a kind of a church caretaker) were on their way to the temple in Jerusalem to perform their religious duties. If they touched blood or a dead body on the way, they were not allowed to enter the temple during that day. This was written in the Law of Moses, as was the commandment of love.
- Why did the priest and the Levite pass by to the other side of the road when seeing the injured man?
- How could a priest and a Levite put their religious duties above helping a dying man?
- Perhaps the priest and the Levite were afraid of the robbers attacking them, too, if they stopped to help the injured man? What should they have done if such an attack scared them?
- What would the priest and Levite have done if the one lying on the roadside had been their own son?
- How did the priest and the Levite interpret the commandment: “Love God above all things and your neighbor as yourself”?
- Do you think it is possible to love God above all things and at the same time pass by a suffering neighbor without helping him?
- Why would it have been understandable if the Samaritan had walked past the beaten Jew without helping him? Look at the Background information.
- What do you think: was the Samaritan afraid that he too might be attacked by the robbers if he stayed to treat the wounded? Give your reasons.
- Why did the Samaritan passerby decide to help a Jew, a member of the enemy nation?
- What effect did wine have on wounds? What about olive oil? Where did the Samaritan get the cloth for dressing the wounds of the beaten man? How much time did this first aid take?
- What did it require of the Samaritan to lift a half-conscious man on a donkey and carry him on a mountain road to an inn?
- How did the encounter with the beaten man affect the Samaritanís own travel plans?
Verse 35. Two denarii was the wages of two daysí work, in other words 1/15th of the monthly salary. It was enough to live for a month in an inn.
- How much money approximately (in your currency) did the Samaritan spend to a virtually unknown man?
- What did the Samaritan want to make sure by saying these words to the innkeeper?
Verses 36-37 and 29
- According to this parable, what is the correct answer to the lawyerís question in verse 29?
- Why didnít Jesus proclaim the grace of Got to this lawyer?
- According to this parable, who are the neighbors you should be helping right now?
- What did Jesus himself have in common with the Good Samaritan? What about the beaten man?
- Why can we say that Jesus helped his neighbors even more than the Good Samaritan had helped the injured Jew?
Glad tidings: None other than Jesus has ever fulfilled the double commandment of love. He is the real Good Samaritan. In order to be able to help us Jesus agreed to be beaten, stripped, rejected and killed. In this way, he obtained forgiveness and eternal life for those who have broken the commandment of love many times over. For each of us.
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