Modern Day Good Samaritan
Have your small group retell the story of the Good Samaritan using modern day examples. For example, who would be the Samaritan? The priest? The Levite? The man who was robbed? What might have happened to the man (instead of being robbed and beaten on the road)? What would the Samaritan have done to help him? As a bonus activity, your group could act out your new version of the story.
How Far Would You Go to Help a Complete Stranger?
Discuss in your group the following questions: What is the most you have ever done to help a complete stranger? What is the most a complete stranger has ever done to help you? How far would you be willing to go to help a complete stranger? How far would you be willing to go to help a complete stranger who hated you?
1. Read Luke 10:25-26 and verse 36. Notice how Jesus asks questions. A. Why do you think he does this? B. Why might you use this technique when you are speaking with others about the Lord?
(Intent: A. Since Jesus knows a person’s thoughts, His likely intent was to show this expert in religious law what was in his heart. “Out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” Lk. 6:45. This leads to the parable and the question in v. 29. B. We can learn a lot by asking questions; it helps us to understand, honor, and really hear those with whom we are speaking. The answers given by people will often reveal what is hidden in the heart, allowing us to zero in on their real needs.)
2. Read verses 27-28. This is the answer to arguably the most important question there is. Jesus affirms the lawyer’s answer from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. A. In verse 29, how do you think the expert in the law was trying to justify himself? B. How can we sometimes be like this expert?
(Intent: If we have been in church and are familiar with Scripture - as with this lawyer - we may know what the Bible says, but may not apply it as the Lord intended. Like the lawyer, we may try to “get off” on a technicality. Jesus makes the clear point in vv. 28b and 37b, “do this…” Our actions must match our knowledge.)
3. The Greek word used in translating “love” in verse 27 is “agapao,” meaning unconditional sacrificial love expressed in action. Can you love people in that way without first loving the Lord?
(Intent: People may be able to have a brotherly “phileo” affectionate love, but the Bible commands us to “agapao” our neighbor. Human sin gets in the way of that; we need the Holy Spirit indwelling and empowering us. See Rom. 13:9-10, Gal. 5:14, and James 2:8; these all use the word “agapao” with regard to loving our neighbor.)
4. Why do you think Jesus used a priest and Levite as bad examples, and a Samaritan as a good example?
(Intent: This undoubtedly would have challenged the lawyer’s cultural sensitivities. He likely would have had a favorable view of religious authorities and he would have despised a Samaritan. Jesus used this parable to apply the heart behind the Scriptural command. Externals such as nationality, occupation, race, or social position don’t matter. God is interested in a person’s character. “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7.)
5. Read Luke 10:29-37. A. Who generally is one's neighbor? B. Who specifically is your neighbor?
(Intent: A. Gal. 6:10 says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” In general, everyone is our neighbor, especially Christians. B. Specifically, those who we have an opportunity or a calling to connect with. Encourage members to think of specific people the Lord may be asking them to help: small group members, other Bethelites, neighbors, coworkers, friends, family, a specific type or group of people, etc. See James 1:27 “look after orphans and widows” and Isaiah 58:6-7.)
6. How would you describe the extent of the Samaritan's help?
(Intent: The Samaritan had compassion, allowed himself to be interrupted, gave out of his own supply, took action, stayed with the man overnight, and ensured provision would continue for the man after his departure. The Samaritan’s help was extensive and sacrificial, a model for us.)
7. How should we deal with the needy in our community?
(Intent: One thought is that we should first ask questions and listen to both their perceived need and to the Holy Spirit to understand the underlying need. We are to be doers of the word and not merely hearers.)
8. Refer to question 5B. Who needs your help? How will you commit to help them?
Ask the Lord to help you look beyond your natural perceptions of people and to open your heart to see them and their needs as He does. Make a heart commitment to follow through on what he reveals to you.