Luke 10 (5)
Pray Psalm 19.12-14.
Who can understand his errors?
Cleanse me from secret faults.
Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins;
Let them not have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
And I shall be innocent of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.
Sing Psalm 19.12-14.
(St. Christopher: Beneath the Cross of Jesus)
Who, Lord, can know his errors? O keep sin far from me!
Let evil rule not in my soul that I may blameless be.
Oh, let my thoughts, let all my words before Your glorious sight
be pleasing to You, gracious Lord, acceptable and right.
Read Luke 10.1-37; meditate on verses 25-37.
1. How did Jesus refer to the Samaritan?
2. What made him a true “neighbor”?
This lovely story is very familiar. None of us wants to be the hypocrites who bypass a neighbor in need. By the grace of God, we want to be true neighbors, especially to those who need the touch of God’s grace, whether for affirmation, encouragement, help, or salvation. It will cost us something to love like this, but the true neighbor fulfills the great commandments by loving God and others regardless of the cost.
OK, that’s familiar terrain, as I said. I want to focus here on Jesus’ teaching method. In essence, we can say that Jesus taught love for neighbor by helping the people who heard Him teach themselves. Note that this conversation began with “a certain lawyer” asking Jesus a question (v. 25). Jesus responded by asking a question of His own (v. 26). When the lawyer got it right, Jesus affirmed his answer and sent him off to do just what he’d taught himself to do (v. 28).
But the lawyer asked another question to “justify himself” – that is, hoist Jesus on His own petard so that the lawyer would not have to do what he’d just learned. In His answer, Jesus intensified the demands of love by introducing the Samaritan as the exemplar. That must have felt like “Ouch” to our lawyer friend. At the end of the story, Jesus asked a question, “Which of these three was neighbor…?” (v. 36) The answer was obvious, “He who showed mercy to him” (v. 37). And Jesus then made the logical application, thus answering the lawyer’s question about neighborliness with a call to action: “Go and do likewise” (v. 37).
Asking questions can be a powerful way of opening the door for truth to penetrate the soul, whether in a lost friend or neighbor or a Christian mired in some sin. By asking questions we make it possible for people to teach themselves difficult truths they might not hear if we simply explain them. Asking good questions takes patience, careful listening, and a good understanding of the person we’re trying to help. But this can be a most powerful means of bringing the truth of Jesus to the soul of a neighbor.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
Another interesting aspect to this story pertains to the crime at hand.
Jesus didn’t even deal with the perpetrators of the original problem—those who stripped and wounded the man, “leaving him half dead” (Lk. 10.30). Everyone listening knew that what the thieves did was bad. But the sin that Jesus was going to deal with was more nuanced.
This was a crime of the heart. What does it look like to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind? And to love others as we love ourselves? What does it look like to not do that? Beating someone senseless is obviously not a loving thing to do; but it is less obvious if we look and see something that needs tending to but prefer not; and just casually cruise on by whatever or whoever it is that needs us. Our inattention perhaps even unobserved by man; but most assuredly, not by God.
“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good” (Prov. 15.3).
“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and He ponders all his paths” (Prov. 5.21).
“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4.13).
Jesus, with His own life, showed us the way to real love; thus, learning the way, is the goal of our lives. God has commanded us to do so (Lk.10.27); and Jesus lived so we could learn how and be self-taught. “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (Jn. 13.1).
We are not told to observe and see how bad the murderers of Christ were; that we already know. But we are instructed to look and see Jesus’ outstanding and unfathomable love. And to “Go and do likewise” (Lk. 10.37).
1. What is the main point of this parable? How does this apply to you?
2. Why is it so hard for us to love like this?
3. How can believers encourage one another to love our neighbors?
… the true Christian has the law of love written in his heart. The Spirit of Christ dwells in him; Christ’s image is renewed in his soul. The parable is a beautiful explanation of the law of loving our neighbor as ourselves, without regard to nation, party, or any other distinction. It also sets forth the kindness and love of God our Savior toward sinful, miserable men. We were like this poor, distressed traveler. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Luke 10.25-37
Pray Psalm 19.7-11.
Ask the Lord to equip you by His Word for every good work today, and pray for an opportunity to talk with someone about Jesus and His Kingdom.
Sing Psalm 19.7-11.
(St. Christopher: Beneath the Cross of Jesus)
The Law of God is perfect, His testimony sure.
The simple man God’s wisdom learns, the soul receives its cure.
God’s Word is right, and His command is pure, and truth imparts.
He makes our eyes to understand; with joy He fills our hearts.
The fear of God is cleansing, forever shall it last.
His judgments all are true and just, by righteousness held fast.
O seek them more than gold most fine, than honey find them sweet.
Be warned by every word and line; be blessed with joy complete.
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.