Going Deeper in "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood"
Jesus Talks to the Man Who Knew the Law
25 A man stood up who knew the Law and tried to trap Jesus. He said, “Teacher, what must I do to have life that lasts forever?” 26 Jesus said to him, “What is written in the Law? What does the Law say?” 27 The man said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart. You must love Him with all your soul. You must love Him with all your strength. You must love Him with all your mind. You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.” 28 Jesus said to him, “You have said the right thing. Do this and you will have life.” 29 The man tried to make himself look good. He asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”
The Picture-Story of the Good Samaritan
30 Jesus said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to the city of Jericho. Robbers came out after him. They took his clothes off and beat him. Then they went away, leaving him almost dead. 31 A religious leader was walking down that road and saw the man. But he went by on the other side. 32 In the same way, a man from the family group of Levi was walking down that road. When he saw the man who was hurt, he came near to him but kept on going on the other side of the road. 33 Then a man from the country of Samaria came by. He went up to the man. As he saw him, he had loving-pity on him. 34 He got down and put oil and wine on the places where he was hurt and put cloth around them. Then the man from Samaria put this man on his own donkey. He took him to a place where people stay for the night and cared for him. 35 The next day the man from Samaria was ready to leave. He gave the owner of that place two pieces of money to care for him. He said to him, ‘Take care of this man. If you use more than this, I will give it to you when I come again.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who was beaten by the robbers?” 37 The man who knew the Law said, “The one who showed loving-pity on him.” Then Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”
Read the following a few times:
The lawyer who confronts Jesus is well aware of what the Lord requires and asks not to understand it more fully but “wanting to justify himself.” Jesus shares how to be a good neighbor.
Reflect on the following:
1. Has someone ever shown you the kind of costly neighborly love that the Samaritan displayed in this story? How did it make you feel? Did you try to repay the deed?
2. Who do you struggle to do good to? Is there a people group, economic group, political group (or a specific politician) that you struggle to do good to (in word, attitude, and deed)? How does this parable challenge your view?
3. How does Jesus’ life that of the Samaritan in this parable? How does your life reflect the victim on the side of the road?
4. How has God personally loved you like the Samaritan? Share your story, beyond stating the universal impact of His death and resurrection, and ascension.
5. The best way to TEACH good deeds is to DO good deeds. How are you modeling a lifestyle of doing good to your kids or others? Do you involve them in the good you do?
6. Take a moment to brag on your kids or friends – what good have you seen them do this week? How can you encourage them and let them know you’re proud of them in a way that promotes their character but doesn’t make their actions (or your praise) performance-based?
7. Is there a limit to your (our) ability to do good? What do you think it means to do good by serving others yet also maintain a healthy level of self-care?
Respond in one of the following ways:
1. “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). We also tend to do more good to others when we are confident in our own worth and overflowing with God’s love. Ask God to fill you with His love and to remind you of your true value.
2. How can you show God’s love (and your love) in a special way to your kids or friends this week?