Justice-Seeking. Being a Good Samaritan
Saying the memory verse together at suppertime will imprint it on the hearts of your children forever.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
This parable, The Good Samaritan, is one that can make us squirm. As we try to place ourselves in the story, we find that often we are more like the priest or the Pharisee than the Samaritan. How many times have we turned away from someone in need? How many times have we helped someone only enough to make ourselves comfortable with our piety instead of going the extra mile to make sure the person is adequately care for?
Jesus told this parable in response to the question, “And who is my neighbor?” The religious expert who asked this knew that God says that we are to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But it seems here that the “expert” didn’t like the implications of the law. Maybe he didn’t want to love his neighbor. Maybe he didn’t even like his neighbors. Hoping to find a way to obey that didn’t stretch his comfort zone he puts this question to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
We can be lot like this religious leader. We know a lot about the Bible and what God expects from us. But we are reluctant to make ourselves uncomfortable in our obedience. We wonder whether this means our friends (yea!) or our enemies (boo!); those who are nice to us (yea!) or those who hurt us (boo!); those who are socially held in high regard (yea!) or those who are undesirables (boo!); those who require just a little (yea!) or those who will require sacrifice of time and/or money (boo!). In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (see Matthew 5:43-47). That’s a real challenge. But with God’s help, we can do it.
JUST THE FACTS
How well did you listen to the story?
Q. What group is Liz invited to join?
A. The Iguanas.
Q. Who did the Iguanas tell Liz that he couldn’t have as his friend?
Q. What was the name of Grandpa’s new contraption?
A. A videometer.
Q. Who helped Liz when he crashed on his bike?
Q. Who passed by on the other side of the road?
A. The Iguanas.
This question is meant to help the children develop a biblical understanding of God, who He is and what He does. The "answer" is not meant for parents to read to their children. Rather its purpose is to assist parents in guiding the conversation to this biblical understanding. We encourage you to use an open Bible in this conversation, building biblical literacy and well as a biblical theology.
Why does God care about our neighbors?
What will make people sit up and take notice? It isn’t when you care for the people who care about you. Most everyone does that. It’s when you return good for evil, when you care for those who have nothing to give you in return, that people will notice and ask why. Then you have an opportunity to tell them about Jesus. And when we show love to others, we are showing people the heart of God who loves your neighbors and wants them to know his love and mercy. (See Matthew 5: 13-16, John 3:16, 1 Peter 2: 19-24, 3: 9, 13-18.)