Sabbath School Lesson for November 11-17, 2023
Overview of Lesson 7, Mission to My Neighbor
Memory Text: “He answered, ‘ “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” ‘ ” Luke 10:27 NIV
What to expect from this week’s study:
- Sunday: The Question of Questions–What question did a lawyer ask Jesus?
- Monday: Jesus’ Method and Response–Why did Jesus refer him to the Scriptures?
- Tuesday: To Inherit Eternal Life–How did Jesus use this opportunity to witness to the lawyer and those with him?
- Wednesday: Loving Others As We Love Ourselves–What does it mean to love others?
- Thursday: The Good Samaritan Story Today–Who is OUR neighbor?
- Friday: Our Challenge–How we can join God’s mission?
Chapter 10 in the gospel of Luke shares an interesting parable that Jesus told a lawyer who came to test Him. In answer to his question, inquiring how he could inherit eternal life, Jesus respectfully asked him what it said in the Scriptures. He affirmed that his reply was correct. Keeping the commandments by loving God and loving our neighbor are still needed for our relationship with God to grow.
Testing Him further, he then asked Jesus who was his neighbor. In other words, who should he help? Jesus very wisely told him the story of the good Samaritan who went out of his way to help a stranger by the side of the road. Jesus concluded by asking the lawyer who was his neighbor. The answer came back that the Samaritan who showed mercy on someone in need was the good neighbor.
It must have been a shocking, mind-twisting revelation to the lawyer. Samaritans were looked down upon by the Jews, and yet, the good Samaritan was an example of the loving, good neighbor the lawyer should strive to be.
We can learn much from the Savior’s wise, respectful, practical style of witnessing, even to difficult, argumentative people.
Sunday: The Question of Questions
Have you ever thought about what deep, spiritual questions you might like to have answered? Several come to mind for most people: such as, who are we? why are we here? what happens when we die? and is there a way to live forever?
That last question was similar to the one posed by a lawyer, who came to Jesus for the purpose of testing him (Luke 10:25). Most likely, he was hoping to prove that Jesus wasn’t who people were saying He was, which was the Messiah, or even the Son of God.
But Jesus did not pass up the opportunity to witness to the lawyer, especially since there were most likely many others listening in on the conversation. He could have simply walked away, knowing the unkind motive behind the question. But Jesus proved Himself worthy of the moment and proceeded to say just the right things that might reach some of His listeners.
- Why was this thought to be a “trick question” for Jesus?
- How would you have responded to this question, especially if you knew the rude intent behind it?
Monday: Jesus’ Method and Response
Jesus’ first response to the lawyer who came to test Him was to point him to God’s word. Knowing the lawyer’s background knowledge of the Scriptures, Jesus humbly allowed him to answer his own question.
The follow-up question from the lawyer about who was his neighbor was meant to make Jesus say something the Pharisees could use against Him. If He replied that his neighbor was someone other than a Jew, they could point out the need of separating themselves from those who sinned. Jesus’ reputation as Someone who freely associated with and helped sinners and foreigners had already put Him at odds with self-righteous, religious clerics.
But, instead, the Master Teacher used a story/parable to bring home the truth in the Scriptures, which showed them the importance of ignoring social norms and focusing solely on the task of helping someone in need. The parable was meant to gently open their eyes to the kind of love God accepts. The kind that would lead to eternal life.
- Why did Jesus allow the lawyer to reveal the answer from Scriptures himself, instead of doing it for him?
Psalm 119:105, 2 Timothy 3:16, and Acts 17:11
- Why is using Bible verses an appropriate witnessing tool?
- Why does daily, personal Bible study continue to be so valuable to Christian believers?
Tuesday: To Inherit Eternal Life
The lawyer who wanted to test Jesus (Luke 10:25) gave a very correct answer about how to inherit eternal life (Luke 10:27). We should all remember the Ten Commandments, which tell us to love God (the first four) and to love our neighbor (the last six).
But we shouldn’t overlook something in Jesus’ reply. He stressed that it was more than just KNOWING the commandments. To inherit eternal life, our love must include DOING something. Jesus said pointedly, “…DO this and you will live” (Luke 10:28).
James 2:17-22 explains this combination of faith and works very well. It is both faith AND works that keep us in a close, love relationship God.
Knowing what is right and having a lifestyle that demonstrates that knowledge is the only way to inherit the kingdom of God. Loving God most definitely includes looking out for the needs of others (Philippians 2:4).
Luke 10:28 and James 2:15-22
- Why is it important to do what we believe?
Wednesday: Loving Others as We Love Ourselves
Matthew’s version of the story, reported by Luke in chapter 10, also helps us see how Jesus handled the situation with the lawyer (Matthew 22:34-40). Matthew remembered distinctly that other Pharisees were gathered there when the lawyer stood up and asked his question.
Matthew also recalled a different question and answer being discussed. In his remembrance, the lawyer wanted Jesus to tell him the greatest commandment in the Law. Jesus’ answer was a quote from both Deuteronomy 6:5 (to love God) and Leviticus 19:18 (to love your neighbor). Just as Luke recalled the answer given by the lawyer.
Although loving God was declared by Jesus as the greatest commandment, loving our neighbor was mentioned as just as important. Jesus even said, “On these TWO commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40). In other words, if someone does them both, he would inherit eternal life.
Love is certainly the foundation of God’s government. Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:13 even declared it greater than faith and hope. Certainly, practical works of loving our neighbor show the reality of the faith we claim to have.
- What remains the same from this version of the story in Luke 10?
Galatians 5:14 and Matthew 25:40
- What is the best way to show our love for God?
1 Corinthians 13:1
- Why must love be the motivating factor in our giving?
- What other possible reasons are there for why we help our neighbor?
Thursday: The Good Samaritan Story Today
Jesus could have simply answered the lawyer’s second question by saying your neighbor is anyone in need. But that would have been followed by another question from the lawyer, such as, what kind of need. You can see where the conversation would most undoubtedly have ended up. It would have become the argument the lawyer was looking for. In other words, a chance for him to show off his intelligence and gain power over the minds of those listening.
Jesus often used illustrations and stories in His sermons. He knew instinctively that concrete examples would encourage thinking, enlighten our understanding, and help us remember important concepts. Therefore, telling the story of a good Samaritan who stopped to help someone in need, regardless of his race, nationality, or religious affiliation, was the perfect way to answer the lawyer’s question.
The parables of Jesus have lasted through the ages and been used in ministry for countless generations. They can easily be modified to fit the context of the times. The basic and crucial lessons they provide are timeless. How fortunate we are to have stories like the good Samaritan to inform how we are to love our neighbor.
- Although we aren’t told directly that the injured man was a Jew, what leads us to that likely conclusion?
- If the priest and the Levite had known for sure that he was a Jew, would it have influenced their decisions to ignore him?
- How does this story influence how we love our neighbor?
Friday: Our Weekly Mission Challenge
Begin to pray daily for someone who is different from you, or even for someone you may not personally like.
List at least three names of your acquaintances (non-Adventists); identify their needs (emotional, physical, social); and consider how you can minister personally to those needs. What can you do practically for them in the coming week?
For discussion: What are some examples of emotional, physical, and social needs? Can you think of other kinds of needs that people might be having? What are examples of practical ways we can help specific people?
Next Week: Mission to the Needy
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