Passage: Luke 10:25-37
Guide for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection
In our life together as church, we want to be a people who show loyal love to one another, and to our community as well. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus illustrates what this loyal love looks like in action (Luke 10:25-37).
The context of the parable is important. Jesus tells this parable to a lawyer who “desires to justify himself” by limiting his understanding of who his neighbor was (vs. 29). Though this man knew the Scriptures, and could give the right answers, his whole approach to Jesus, to the Bible, and to faith was off. In reality, he read the law to justify himself and limit his love for others. This self-righteous attitude and lack of love for others were both barriers to his practicing loyal love, and they are barriers for us today as well.
Jesus’ parable, then, addressed both of these barriers, and showed that true loyal love (mercy in Gk., Hesed in Hebrew) is compassionate, practical, sacrificial, and long-term. To practice loyal love like the Samaritan, our love needs to take on these same qualities.
Lastly, Jesus tells the parable in such a way as to point us to where we can find the motivation to practice loyal love. Surprisingly, the “hero” of the story is the Samaritan—who the Jews would have scorned—and the man in need is all but certainly a Jew (vs. 29). In hearing this, Jesus invites us to put ourselves in the place of the man on the side of the road—the one who needed—and was shown—mercy, even from an enemy. This points forward to Jesus, the “great Samaritan” who loved us with loyal love even while we were still alienated from him, and who humbles us out of our self-righteousness so that we can show loyal love to others out of glad thankfulness.
- Barriers to Loyal Love (10:25-29)
- The Practice of Loyal Love (10:30-35)
- The Motivation for Loyal Love (10:36-37)
Group Discussion & Personal Reflection Guide
Re-read the passage (Luke 10:25-37)
Barriers to Loyal Love (10:25-29)
Q) Re-read Luke 10:25-29. What do the lawyer’s questions reveal about his posture in approaching Jesus? What did the lawyer really want?
Q) Pastor Bobby said that the lawyer’s self-righteousness was part of what hindered his ability to practice loyal love. Where in the text do you see the lawyer’s self-righteousness? Practically-speaking, how does a self-righteous attitude inhibit people from practicing loyal love? How has in inhibited you?
Q) Because the lawyer desired to “justify himself”, he also sought to limit who the “neighbors” were for whom he was responsible to love. In your own life, how have you sought to limit your sense of responsibility to others? What strategies—conscious or unconscious—have you used to do so?
The Practice of Loyal Love (10:30-35)
Q) Why do you think Jesus responded to the lawyer’s question with a story? What did he want the lawyer to reconsider?
Q) Re-read Luke 10:30-35 and meditate on the parable as a group. Consider:
- What is the significance of Jesus’ identifying the first two people to pass by as a “priest” and a “Levite” (vs. 31-32)?
- Why does Jesus mention that the men passed by “on the other side” (vs. 31-32)?
- How does the Samaritan’s initial response compare to the first two men’s responses (vs. 33)?
- How does the Samaritan’s love show personal concern? How is it sacrificial? How is it long-term? (vs. 33-35)
Q) Pastor Bobby said that the loyal love is compassionate and personal, but also concrete and practical, at the same time. What happens when we feel great compassion towards people, but don’t follow through with concrete actions? What happens when we meet people’s concrete needs, but in a detached and impersonal way? Which “side” of this balance do you feel you have more room to grow in?
Q) What are some examples you can think of, inside or outside of our church, where you’ve seen people practice loyal love? Where can you practice loyal love this year?
Q) Pastor Bobby said that loyal love is almost always long-term. Is there an area where you feel weary from practicing loyal love over the long haul? How can your group pray for you? Is there a way that you can invite others into this with you?
The Motivation for Loyal Love (10:36-37)
Q) Re-read Luke 10:36-37. What was the purpose of Jesus’ making the hero of the story a Samaritan, and the Jew as the one who needed help? What was he trying to illustrate?
Q) Reflect on this quote from Tim Keller: “Only if you see that you have been saved graciously by someone who owes you the opposite will you go out into the world looking to help absolutely anyone in need. Once we receive this ultimate, radical neighbor-love through Jesus, we can start to be the neighbors the Bible calls us to be.”
- How is Jesus the ultimate “Good Samaritan”?
- How does his radical neighbor-love for us motivate us to show loyal love to others?
Additional Application Questions
Q) How else would you like to engage with God this week?
Q) How can you tangibly care for those in your community this week, both inside and outside of the church?
Spend time praying for yourselves, our church community, the North Shore community, and our nation and world—particularly those most vulnerable.