Lesson  9 August 24 - 30

True Love

Read for This Weeks Study:  Luke 10:25-37 

Memory Text:  "'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind'; and 'your neighbor as yourself'"  (Luke 10:27, NKJV).

Key Thought:  Growing in grace enables Christians to react to fellow humans with compassion, regardless of race, gender, or beliefs.



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NO LONGER ENEMIES. During the American Revolution, Peter Miller enjoyed the friendship of General George Washington.  But the same could not be said regarding his relationship with Michael Wittman, a nasty sort of person who took great delight in opposing and humiliating Miller at every turn.

One day Wittman was arrested for treason and sentenced to death.  Upon hearing the news, Miller walked 70 miles to plead with Washington for Wittman's life.

"No!" Washington insisted.  "I cannot pardon your friend."

"My friend!" exclaimed Miller.  "He's my worst enemy!"

"You've just walked 70 miles to plead for the life of an enemy?"  Washington cried.  He was so impressed by Miller's gesture that he granted the pardon.  Later, Miller took Wittman back home--no longer a foe, but a friend.--Adapted from Larson, Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching, p. 142.

In Luke 10, Jesus tells a similar story.  As you study Jesus' answer, ask the Holy Spirit to help you determine which character in the story you most resemble.

Sunday August 24


Why did Jesus tell the parable of the good Samaritan?  Luke 10:25-29.

Being an expert in the law, the lawyer knew the answer to his first question (Luke 10:25-27).  But because he held the popular belief that the heathen and Samaritans were not "neighbors," he really wanted to know, "Which of my fellow Israelites are my neighbors?"  Rabbis, priests, and elders engaged in endless ceremonies to purify themselves.  Associating with the masses of their people caused defilement that dictated tiring effort to erase.  Thus the question of whether or not they should consider these "unclean" Hebrews as their neighbors caused continual debate.

The parable itself is full of colorful characters and action.  Even the setting is intriguing-the dangerous road between Jerusalem and Jericho.  Because Jerusalem is 2,300 feet above sea level and Jericho 1,300 feet below sea level, this road is rather steep.  In fact, in less than 20 miles, it drops 3,600 feet!  Add to that its numerous rocky and narrow passageways, and you have excellent hideaways for bandits to lurk behind while they await their prey.

In the nineteenth century, travelers still paid safety money to the local sheiks to travel it.  And in the 1930s, H. V. Morton related that someone warned him to get home before dark because a certain thief had gained his reputation by highjacking cars, robbing the occupants, and escaping into the hills before the authorities could arrive.

The evidence suggests that Jesus was describing an actual occurrence. (See The Desire of Ages, p. 499.)

List the six characters in the parable, describing their role.

Consider the steep and rocky roads of life that you must travel.  What "thieves" await to rob you of your relationship with God?

Monday August 25

ABUSE AND NEGLECT (Luke 10:30-33).

Yesterday, you were to list the six characters in the parable of the good Samaritan.  Today and the rest of the week, we will take a closer look at the role each played regarding the meaning of the parable.

The first person to appear on the scene is the victim (Luke 10:30).  Based on what you learned yesterday about the road he was traveling, why was he taking a great risk?

The thieves are the next people we meet, and because they acted as one, we will consider them as "one" character.  By taking the victim's possessions, robbing him of his clothes, and beating him until he was nearly dead, they displayed a lack of respect not only for a fellow human, but for themselves, as well.

What laws were the priest and Levite probably considering as they saw the helpless victim?  Num. 19:11; Lev. 21:1-4.  What admonition were they ignoring?  Micah 6:8.

"He [the priest] could not be sure but he feared that the man was dead; to touch him would mean losing his turn of duty in the Temple; and he refused to risk that.  He set the claims of ceremonial above those of charity.  The Temple and its liturgy mean more to him than the pain of man."--William Barclay, The Gospel of Luke, p. 139.

"Came and looked on him" (Luke 10:32).  Thus the King James Version implies that the Levite was perhaps a bit more interested in the victim's welfare than the priest.  But he also "passed by on the other side."  Maybe he too was concerned with the disruption that contamination would bring to his life.  In addition to this, both the priest and the Levite were probably aware that bandits often used a member of their gang as a decoy to play the part of a wounded traveler.  Then, when an unsuspecting person stopped to help, the other gang members would overpower him.  The motto "Safety first" therefore could have been another factor in their decision to keep going.

Do you know people who are in difficult situations because of something they did or did not do?  How can you help people who are victims of their own carelessness?

Can helping people sometimes enable them to continue with destructive behaviors?  Explain.

Tuesday August 26

THE HATED HELPS (Luke 10:33-35).

Imagine the victim's plight, drifting in and out of consciousness, perhaps long enough each time to realize that even "religious" men were not stopping to help him.  Surely after the Levite passed by, hope did so, as well. But then the unexpected happened, a Samaritan took pity upon him.

Good Hebrews had shunned the Samaritans ever since the days of Ezra, when the Samaritans began intermarrying with pagans during the Assyrian and Babylonian conquests.  (See 2 Kings 17:24-41.)  The Samaritans built a rival temple on Mount Gerizim, and they accepted only the first books of the Bible.  Thus the Hebrew people viewed the Samaritan religion as impure.  You can review the trouble the Samaritans caused the Jews by reading Ezra 4 and Nehemiah 2, 4, and 6.

List at least four specific ways in which the Samaritan helped the victim.  Luke 10:34, 35.  What does the nature of the Samaritan's assistance teach us about what it means to "take pity" on someone?

"The fact that the Samaritan was traveling in what was to him a foreign district made his deed of mercy even more noteworthy.  In this district it would be likely that the unfortunate wayfarer was a Jew, a member of the race that cherished the most bitter enmity against the Samaritans.  The Samaritan knew well that if he had been the wounded victim lying beside the road he could have expected no mercy from any ordinary Jew.  However, the Samaritan, at considerable risk to himself from the attacks of robbers, determined to help the poor victim." --SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 783.

The innkeeper does not figure as prominently in the story as the other characters do.  But judging from the request of the Samaritan in Luke 10:35, what can we assume about him?

We can well reason that the Samaritan and innkeeper knew each other.  The innkeeper's willingness to allow the victim to remain at his establishment based on the Samaritan's promise of reimbursement, plus the Samaritan's willingness to leave the victim in the innkeeper's care implies a certain level of trust toward each another.

The Samaritan asked the innkeeper to help care for the injured man.  How eagerly do you respond when someone asks you to assist a person in need?

Wednesday August 27

WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR? (Luke 10:27, 29,36,37).

This week the parable of the good Samaritan has taught us that (1) we must help people who are victims of circumstances beyond their control, as well as those who seem to have brought their troubles on themselves (Monday's lesson), and (2) the help we give must be practical, not a mere feeling sorry for them (Tuesday's lesson).  True compassion brings forth kind deeds.

But what about the answer to the lawyer's question, "Who is my neighbour?"  (Luke 10:29)?  Remember that he already believed the Samaritans and heathen could not be so.  What he really wanted to know was who of the Jewish people should he consider his neighbors.

After carefully reviewing the parable and the previous days' lessons, answer the lawyer's question using your own words.

The parable also graphically portrays the meaning of Luke 10:27.  (See also Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18.)  Judging from the parable, what does it mean to "love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength"?  (Deut. 6:5, NIV).

How do we love our neighbor as ourselves?

It is the natural order of things always to seek our own good first.  And that is how we are to love our neighbors--by seeking their good first.  The priest and Levite put their "needs" ahead of the victim's by being concerned only for their personal security and ritual cleanliness.  But the Samaritan, without considering his own safety, stopped to assist a critically wounded man, someone who could even have been his enemy.  Without reservation regarding the victim's status in life, without the assurance that the man would recover, he gave of his own resources to care for him.

Matthew 28:18-20 is known as the Christian's great commission.  What other commission do we receive in Luke 10:37?  How do the two commissions relate to each other?  How can you "go and do likewise" today?

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27, NIV).

Thursday August 28


As part of our study of Luke 10:25-37, we took note of each of the characters in the parable.  Today, we will study in even more detail the Samaritan.

Review again the Samaritan's actions.  Whom does he symbolize?  Phil. 2:4-8.

"In a very real way the mercy exhibited by the Samaritan reflects the spirit that moved the Son of God to come to this earth to rescue humanity.  God was not obliged to rescue fallen man.  He might have passed sinners by, as the priest and the Levite passed the luckless traveler on the road to Jericho.  But the Lord was willing to be 'treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves' (DA 25)." --SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pp. 783, 784.

In Tuesday's lesson, you listed ways in which the Samaritan helped the victim.  Compare each item on your list with what Christ does for you as a sinner.

Christ was the unexpected good Samaritan to Zacchaeus, Bartimaeus, Mary Magdalene, the hungry crowd, the centurion, a dead girl, a sick woman, and Saul of Tarsus (see Matt. 8:5-13; 9:18-26; Mark 10:46-52; Luke 8:1, 2; 19:1-9; John 6:1-13; Acts 9:1-31).  Can you think of others?

"Our Saviour manifested for us a love that the love of man can never equal.  When we were bruised and dying, He had pity upon us.  He did not pass us by on the other side, and leave us, helpless and hopeless, to perish.  He did not remain in His holy, happy home, where He was beloved by all the heavenly host.  He beheld our sore need, He undertook our case, and identified His interests with those of humanity.  He died to save His enemies.  He prayed for His murderers.  Pointing to His own example, He says to His followers, 'These things I command you, that ye love one another'; 'as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.'  John 15:17; 13:34."--Christ's Object Lessons, pp. 381, 382.

How has Christ been an unexpected good Samaritan to you?  Thank Him now for His wonderful gift of salvation and the many other ways He has shown compassion toward you.  Ask Him to help you share His compassion with others, regardless of who they might be.

Friday August 29

FURTHER STUDY:   Compare the rich young ruler of Matthew 19:16-22 with the lawyer, the priest, and the Levite in the parable of the good Samaritan.  Also read 1 John 3:11-20 and Matthew 5:43-48.

Read one or all of the following: Christ's Object Lessons, "Who Is My Neighbor?" pp. 376-389; The Desire of Ages, "The Good Samaritan," pp. 497-505.

"Love is the basis of godliness.  Whatever the profession, no man has pure love to God unless he has unselfish love for his brother.  But we can never come into possession of this spirit by trying to love others.  What is needed is the love of Christ in the heart.  When self is merged in Christ, love springs forth spontaneously.  The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within.

"Whatever the difference in religious belief, a call from suffering humanity must be heard and answered.  Where bitterness of feeling exists because of difference in religion, much good may be done by personal service. Loving ministry will break down prejudice, and win souls to God." --Christ's Object Lessons, pp. 384, 386.


1. Describe the Samaritan's actions from the point of view of (a) personal inconvenience, (b) financial cost, and (c) risk.  How much of a factor is each of these in discouraging your own neighborly actions.

2. Sabbath morning, Michael and Beth are ready to leave for church when a distraught neighbor appears at the door asking to use their telephone because her son, who is prone to outbursts of rage, has just torn hers from its outlet.  Should they (a) show her where their phone is, then politely excuse themselves and leave for church?  (b) tell her they are in a hurry to leave, but the neighbors across the street are home?  (c) let her use their phone and stay with her until help arrives?

SUMMARY:  The parable of the good Samaritan not only teaches us that true religion involves compassionate deeds to whomever is in need, but it also reminds us of the extent of Christ's love toward us.

Freed From Bondage

Leonard Atkins

"[Women] can do a work in families that men cannot do.... They can come close to the hearts of those whom men cannot reach."  (Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, p. 30).

In Central Malawi, a young wife lived a miserable life as a prisoner in her own home.  Her husband would not allow her to leave the house, and no one was permitted to visit her at home.

One day Mrs. E. G. Malopa, a pastor's wife, felt impressed to visit this woman.  She found the young woman alone and was invited in.  The young wife seemed nervous and kept watching the doorway, fearful that her husband might come home and chase Mrs. Malopa away.  But the Lord kept the husband away, and the two women visited for more than an hour.  During that time, the young wife shared the pain and stress that her husband's actions caused her.

Mrs. Malopa encouraged the young wife to trust the Lord, who could change her husband's heart if she asked Him.  The women made a covenant with God.  The young woman would set aside an offering of 50 kwacha (about $3.75) as a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, and the two women would pray for the husband throughout the following week.  Then the wife would ask her husband to allow her to go to church.

On Friday, the young wife timidly approached her husband.  Too afraid to ask to go to church, she asked if he would allow a friend to come to their home so he could meet her.  To her surprise, he agreed.  Excited, she sent an urgent message asking Mrs.  Malopa to come quickly.  "My husband wants to meet you.  God has heard our prayers."

Mrs. Malopa hurried to the woman's home, where the couple met her at the door.  After a pleasant visit the man said, "I am delighted to have met you.  Feel free to come to our house anytime.  It would please me if my wife could attend the church where you pray, because you will be there with her."

Today, this wife participates in many activities of the church.  Her husband even provides transportation for the women when they need it.  Now when Mrs. Malopa visits in their home, the husband insists that she pray before leaving, that God will bless their home.  Join these two women in prayer for the husband's conversion.

Leonard Atkins is a pastor and hospital chaplain in Blantyre, Malawi.

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