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October 18
Lesson 7 (NIV)
LOVE FOR NEIGHBORS
DEVOTIONAL READING: John 5:1–15 BACKGROUND SCRIPTURE: Leviticus 19:18, 34;
Luke 10:25–37
LUKE 10:25–37
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is wri8en in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 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.’ ”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was a8acked by robbers. Eey stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where

the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Een he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 Ee next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look aGer him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 Ee expert in the law replied, “Ee one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Photo: zimmytws / iStock / Thinkstock
KEY VERSES
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” e expert in the law replied, “ e one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
—Luke 10:36–37

Nickelson, R. L., Kenney, J. A., & Williams, M. K. (Eds.). (2020). The NIV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2020–2021 (Vol. 27). Colorado Springs, CO: Standard Publishing.

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LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER
Unit 2: Inclusive Love
LESSONS 5–8
LESSON AIMS
A er participating in this lesson, each learner will be able to:
1. Define neighbor as Jesus does and provide current examples.
2. Explain the importance of how Jesus shi s the focus from legalism to true obedience.
3. Make a plan to proactively love a neighbor he or she has historically preferred to avoid.
LESSON OUTLINE
Introduction
A. Good Samaritans at Altitude B. Lesson Context
I. Questioning (Luke 10:25–29)
A. Regarding Eternal Life (vv. 25–28) B. Regarding Neighbors (v. 29)
Won’t You Be a Neighbor?
II. Storytelling (Luke 10:30–37)
A. 6e Victim (v. 30) B. Two Potential Heroes (vv. 31–32) C. One Actual Hero (vv. 33–35)
How Unexpected!
III. Directing (Luke 10:36–37)
A. Short Review (vv. 36–37a) B. Lifetime Call (v. 37b)
Conclusion

A. Looking for a Loophole B. Prayer C. 6ought to Remember

HOW TO SAY IT

Lucan picaro Samaritans

Lu-kehn. pee-kah-ro. Suh-mare-uh-tunz.

Introduction
A. Good Samaritans at Altitude
Late in September 2018, Joshua Mason and his girlfriend, Katie Davis, flew from Texas to Colorado. 6e next day Joshua took Katie on a hike in the mountains northwest of Denver. A er hiking about eight miles, they reached the nearly 13,000-foot summit of Jasper Peak. Joshua was hoping to find an isolated and beautiful spot to “pop the question.” Jasper Peak provided such a location, and Katie said yes to the surprise proposal.
But then things took a turn. Because they didn’t leave the trailhead till about noon and the trail to Jasper Peak isn’t clearly marked, the newly engaged couple became lost and disoriented when it started to get dark. Far from cellphone service, they weren’t equipped or dressed to camp overnight in the cold of the high country, and they only had a liFle water. Coming to a cliff and unable to go any further, they began yelling for help.
About midnight, a camper who was hiking in the area heard their screams. When he

Nickelson, R. L., Kenney, J. A., & Williams, M. K. (Eds.). (2020). The NIV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2020–2021 (Vol. 27). Colorado Springs, CO: Standard Publishing.

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discovered Joshua and Katie, they were showing signs of altitude sickness and severe dehydration. He led them to a group of his friends who were camping at a nearby lake. 6e campers provided the couple with water, food, and shelter in their tent, trying to help them get warm. But recognizing the seriousness of the situation, one of the campers hiked down to her vehicle and drove to where she could call 911.
Rescue crews reached Joshua and Katie about 4:30 a.m. Determining that they needed to move to a lower altitude immediately, the rescuers escorted them down to the trailhead.
6is story includes several Good Samaritans who went out of their way to help Joshua and Katie. Today we will consider the Scripture passage that prompted that nowcommon term.
B. Lesson Context
In his Gospel, Luke recounts Jesus’ ministry in three major sections: (1) events in and around Galilee (Luke 4:14–9:50); (2) Jesus on his way to Jerusalem (9:51–19:44); and (3) the events of Jesus’ final week in Jerusalem (19:45–24:53). Luke’s Gospel is unique in its central section, which begins shortly before our lesson text. 6e majority of the parables found in Luke are located in this section, the first being the parable in our text.
A primary theme of Jesus’ ministry in Judea was God’s love for the lost and lowly: sinners (example: Luke 15), outcasts (exam-

ple: 14:15–24), Samaritans, and the poor (example: 16:19–31). Jesus’ countercultural teaching in last week’s lesson text, Luke 6:27–36, challenged us to demonstrate inclusive love even toward our enemies. Today’s text calls us once again to practice inclusive love. In the passage just prior to our text (10:1–24), Jesus sent out 72 of his followers in pairs to proclaim, through word and deed, that “the kingdom of God has come near to you” (10:9). Both Jesus and his 72 emissaries rejoiced at God’s power working through them (10:17–21).
Immediately preceding our lesson passage, Jesus spoke with his 72 followers at the conclusion of their fruitful mission (Luke 10:17–20). Although some commentators view Jesus’ interaction with this “expert in the law” (10:25) as an interruption of his debriefing discussion with the disciples, the exact time and place of this scene is unspecified.
6is parable is unique to Luke, but its subject maFer and seFing are similar to texts found in MaFhew and Mark. MaFhew 22:34–40 and Mark 12:28–34 are clearly parallel to one another, but the connection to Luke is less certain (compare Luke 10:27, below). 6e Lucan event appears to be a separate incident covering the same theme.
I. Questioning
(LUKE 10:25–29)
A. Regarding Eternal Life (vv. 25–28)
25a. On one occasion an expert in the

Nickelson, R. L., Kenney, J. A., & Williams, M. K. (Eds.). (2020). The NIV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2020–2021 (Vol. 27). Colorado Springs, CO: Standard Publishing.

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law stood up to test Jesus. 6is expert in the law was a scholar edu-
cated in the Old Testament law and the Jewish traditions surrounding it. 6e fact that the law expert stood up indicates that Jesus was speaking and his listeners were sitting. 6is was a typical, respectful pose when listening to a rabbi teach.
6e idea of testing is the same as in Jesus’ temptation (Luke 4:1–13), which can be appropriately also considered a test. Evidently the expert in the law wasn’t sincerely seeking to be taught by Jesus as much as he was interested in how Jesus would answer. We have to wonder if this man was hoping to show up Jesus.
25b. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
By calling Jesus Teacher, the law expert at least wanted to give the impression that he respected Jesus. His question conveyed a perspective of salvation by works. Yet his response to Jesus’ own question showed that the man knew that mere works without faith are dead (compare James 2:14–26; see commentary on Luke 10:27 below).
6e scholar’s question likely has its basis in the connection between obedience to the law and gi s of inheritance and life (see Deuteronomy 6:16–25). In the Old Testament, obedience to God is o en associated with his blessings while rebellion against him is similarly associated with curses (example: Deuteronomy 28). 6e law expert may have wanted to be able to identify Jesus with either the Sadducees, who denied any resurrection of the dead (MaFhew 22:23), or

the Pharisees, whose emphasis on keeping the law frequently resulted in outward actions that did not reflect a heart yielded to God (example: 23:13–36). 6e law expert would be well acquainted with both groups and likely had some level of affiliation with one or the other.
26. “What is wri8en in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
Instead of answering immediately, Jesus asked his own questions. Given the fact that the questioner is a Jewish scholar, it is fiFing that Jesus asked him how he read and interpreted the Law.
27. 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.’
6e scholar’s reply alludes to the great Shema of Deuteronomy 6:5, which Jews recited daily: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” To that the legal expert adds the law of neighbor love found in Leviticus 19:18: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 6ese answers showed that the scholar knew mere rule-keeping was not the path to life. Instead, love of God expressed as love for neighbor leads to life. 6is combination of loving the Lord your God and loving your neighbor as yourself has become known as the “great commandment.”
28. “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
Jesus’ seemingly final word to the law expert was this commendation of the man’s

Nickelson, R. L., Kenney, J. A., & Williams, M. K. (Eds.). (2020). The NIV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2020–2021 (Vol. 27). Colorado Springs, CO: Standard Publishing.

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correct answer.
B. Regarding Neighbors (v. 29)
29. But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
e expert in the law found himself challenged (see commentary on Luke 10:25a, above) and so looked to justify himself. Although the man acknowledged previously that Leviticus 19:18—“Love your neighbor as yourself ”—is a summary statement of the law (see Luke 10:27), he took advantage of the ambiguity of the word neighbor. In the original context of Leviticus 19:18, love for neighbors is love for fellow Israelites, although that love was to be extended to any “foreigner” who came to Israel from another land and lived among them (see Leviticus 19:33–34). e land of Israel in Jesus’ day under Roman occupation was comprised of many who were not Israelites.
With his question, the scholar clearly seemed to be trying to create a distinction, making the point that some people are neighbors (and thus required to be loved) and some people are not. e notion that some people are not neighbors is what Jesus addressed in his parable.
What Do You Think? Under what circumstances, if any, should Christians ask questions regarding who should be helped and who should not?
Digging Deeper How do Matthew 5:45; 10:16; 2 Thessalo-

nians 3:10; 1 Timothy 5:3–12; 2 John 9–11; and 3 John 5–8 help frame your answer?
WON’T YOU BE A NEIGHBOR?
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood began airing in 1968 and ran for 895 episodes. Dressed in his signature cardigan sweater, Mr. Rogers invited children to visit his neighborhood with his theme song, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
Fred Rogers trained to be a Presbyterian minister but decided to go into television because he hated the medium of TV! While children’s programming typically featured animation and frantic action, Rogers labeled those features as “bombardment.” He did not play a character as did his contemporaries like Captain Kangaroo and Soupy Sales. Rogers believed that being one’s honest self was one of the greatest giEs one person could give to another.
Fred Rogers was not afraid to expand his neighborhood. During a time of racial segregation, Mr. Rogers was shown cooling his feet in a pool on a hot day with Officer Clemmons, an African-American policeman. In addition, Rogers championed children with disabilities on the show, including having a young quadriplegic boy demonstrate how a wheelchair worked. Rogers did not ask, “Who is my neighbor?” He knew!
—J. E.
II. Storytelling

Nickelson, R. L., Kenney, J. A., & Williams, M. K. (Eds.). (2020). The NIV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2020–2021 (Vol. 27). Colorado Springs, CO: Standard Publishing.

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II. Storytelling
(LUKE 10:30–37)
A. /e Victim (v. 30)
30. In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was a4acked by robbers. /ey stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
Rather than answering the scholar’s question directly, Jesus told a story. Like other Jewish teachers in his time, Jesus used a parable to explain a Scripture text—in this case, Leviticus 19:18. Since the details of parables were true to life, we can increase our understanding of the parable by exploring the historical and cultural contexts supporting it.
Although Jesus’ audience likely assumed the opening character to have been a Jew, Jesus never specified his identity. e man remains anonymous throughout the story.
Since Jerusalem is about 2,500 feet above sea level and Jericho is about 800 feet below sea level, a traveler seJing out from Jerusalem certainly would have gone down to Jericho. Winding its way through rocky desert, this 17-mile road was infamous for its danger. e caves along the way presented robbers with opportunities to ambush travelers.
Jesus focused on the violent mistreatment the man received at the hands of the robbers. ey were not content to simply take his clothes; the robbers leE him half dead. One would hope that these evildoers were

the only characters in the parable to show such callous disdain for human life.
B. Two Potential Heroes (vv. 31–32)
31–32. “A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
Priests, who were descendants of Levi and Aaron, served as God’s representatives to the people; Levites served as assistants to priests (2 Chronicles 13:10). So, why didn’t these servants of God serve the wounded man? Some speculate that they feared that whoever aJacked the man was lurking nearby and might aJack them as well. Or perhaps they feared becoming ritually unclean, and thus unable to fulfill their religious duties, by touching what appeared to be a dead body (see Leviticus 21:1–4; Numbers 5:2; etc.).
e laJer argument has been countered by geography: to go down from Jerusalem indicated that they had completed their temple responsibilities and were heading home. In addition, the Jewish practice was to bury a dead person on the same day. is should have compelled both priest and Levite to investigate the victim’s status with regard to that requirement.
But before geJing too deep into the weeds of speculative mind-reading, we remind ourselves that this is a fictional story—a parable to make a point. Since no motive is stated by Jesus, there is no motive

Nickelson, R. L., Kenney, J. A., & Williams, M. K. (Eds.). (2020). The NIV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2020–2021 (Vol. 27). Colorado Springs, CO: Standard Publishing.

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to be discerned. e characters of negligent priest and Levite serve as the stark backdrop to what comes next.

course the feelings were mutual. Needless to say, a Samaritan would be the last person a Jew would expect to show pity to another Jew.

What Do You Think? What has experience taught you about compassion that is reactive (sees a problem happen, then helps) versus proactive (anticipates a problem, then helps before it happens)?
Digging Deeper In which type of compassion can you help your church improve most?

Visual for Lessons 6 & 7. Use this visual to discuss the overlap between enemies and neighbors. Ask the
class if there is any overlap with friends as well.
C. One Actual Hero (vv. 33–35)
33. “But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.
When the northern kingdom of Israel was exiled to Assyria centuries earlier, some Israelites were leE behind. e intermarriage of these Israelites with the Gentiles who were brought into the land (see 2 Kings 17:24) resulted in the population known as Samaritans.
e Samaritans accepted only the Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy) and asserted that God must be worshipped on Mount Gerizim rather than Jerusalem (consider the question in John 4:20). e Jews in Jesus’ day despised the Samaritans and refused to associate with them (4:9). And of

34. “He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. /en he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.
In stark contrast to the inactivity of the priest and the Levite, the Samaritan actively ministered to the needy man. Both Jews and Greeks appear to have used wine and oil widely for medicinal purposes. Wine would have been used to clean the man’s wounds, the alcohol having an antiseptic effect. Olive oil would ease the man’s pain. e Samaritan then put the man on his own donkey, which means he himself now had to walk. Inns were places of potential danger, not just for theE but also potentially murder. But from beginning to end, the Samaritan considered the care of the injured man of greater value than the risk involved.
What Do You Think?

Nickelson, R. L., Kenney, J. A., & Williams, M. K. (Eds.). (2020). The NIV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2020–2021 (Vol. 27). Colorado Springs, CO: Standard Publishing.

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If you saw a car broken down on the side of the road, would using a cell phone to call for assistance be the same as stopping to offer help personally? Why, or why not?
Digging Deeper If stopping to help personally meant risking your own safety in the process, would you do it?
35. “/e next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look [email protected] him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
Some scholars estimate that two denarii would have been sufficient for two months of room and board in an inn. By entering into such an open-ended arrangement with the innkeeper, the Samaritan was running the risk of being a victim himself —of extortion. As Jonathan interceded with his father, King Saul, on David’s behalf (1 Samuel 19:1–7; see lesson 5), here the Samaritan interceded on the wounded man’s behalf. Both Jonathan and the Samaritan demonstrated faithful love—Jonathan in the context of an existing covenant and the Samaritan in his obvious regard for human life.
What Do You Think? Under what circumstances is it better to help others through efforts of group ministries rather than personally?
Digging Deeper How do the changing procedures of Acts 2:45; 4:32–35; 6:1–6; 1 Timothy 5:3–11

inform your response?
HOW UNEXPECTED!
e English language doesn’t have a word that completely captures the idea of an “unexpected hero,” such as we see in the case of the Good Samaritan. Various words have been proposed—words such as antihero and picaro—to only partial success. e problem is that those words and others bring with them nuances that may not apply to the unexpected hero who is under consideration. A picaro, for example, is a societal outcast, but that status is due to his or her own roguish behavior. e Good Samaritan was a societal outcast as well, but that status was due to no behavior of his own! Rather, it was an issue of bloodline.
Jesus used unexpected heroes in parables to challenge contemporary thinking. In addition to that of today’s text, we are drawn to the parables of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11–32), the shrewd manager (16:1–12), and a penitent tax collector (18:9–14). We have a choice when we read these: the unexpected hero in each can be a model for us or we can be the contrast to the unexpected hero in each. It’s our choice.
—J. E.
III. Directing
(LUKE 10:36–37)
A. Short Review (vv. 36–37a)
36. “Which of these three do you think

Nickelson, R. L., Kenney, J. A., & Williams, M. K. (Eds.). (2020). The NIV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2020–2021 (Vol. 27). Colorado Springs, CO: Standard Publishing.

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36. “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
Having finished his parable, Jesus countered the law expert’s question with one of his own. e man had asked, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). Jesus changed the question and shi.ed the focus to “Who acted like a neighbor?” In Jesus’ view, trying to identify whom one is called to love is an obvious a0empt to relinquish responsibility. To do so is to reveal one’s motivation of trying to find ways to avoid obeying God rather than embracing the call to love as God loves.
37a. e expert in the law replied, “ e one who had mercy on him.”
e expert in the law cannot bring himself to say the word Samaritan! As a Jew, he couldn’t fathom the notion of a good Samaritan. But at least the man grasped the point of Jesus’ parable, recognizing the mercy and action that set the Samaritan apart from the priest and the Levite. Just as the law expert gave the right answer in the first exchange (Luke 10:27–28), so he answers correctly here. However, his refusal to name the Samaritan likely reveals that, in his heart, this man still considered some people neighbors and others unworthy of that relationship.
B. Lifetime Call (v. 37b)
37b. Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Here is Jesus’ final word (compare Luke 10:28). e lawyer appeared to be hoping

that he could limit his responsibility by being a neighbor to only a select few. With this profound parable, Jesus conveyed that rather than calculating who is a neighbor and who is not, the expert in the law should heed Jesus’ call to be a neighbor to whoever crosses his path.
is is the only reference to this man in the Bible. We don’t know how he responded to Jesus and the gospel later on. He heard Jesus’ message. Did he embrace it and act on it? Did he remember it whenever a foul joke was told about Samaritans or he encountered one on the road to Jericho?
Conclusion
A. Looking for a Loophole
By asking the question “Who is my neighbor?” the law expert in our lesson text was looking for a loophole—a loophole of being able to choose whom he was responsible to care about and care for. Surely God didn’t intend for him to love all people. Surely some people did not merit his time and resources.
What Do You Think? Case study: Your next-door neighbor, who is a single mother, calls you from jail asking you to post her $5,000 bond. You have the money, but discover that that’s only the 10 percent cash portion required. The other 90 percent must come from the court’s putting a lien on your house. What do you do?

Nickelson, R. L., Kenney, J. A., & Williams, M. K. (Eds.). (2020). The NIV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2020–2021 (Vol. 27). Colorado Springs, CO: Standard Publishing.

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Like the law expert, we can be guilty of looking for a loophole. When we hear the Bible’s teaching about loving our neighbors as ourselves, we can grasp the meaning in principle that we are to love and serve people everywhere in need. But it’s tempting to embrace that as a theoretical concept in a way that leads to no tangible action. Or we can be tempted to care for those neighbors who look like us, speak like us, or share our social status, and we fail to care for those who are different. How could Jesus possibly mean that every single person is someone we should strive to love?
Jesus’ parable leaves no room for self-justification. If we are looking for a way out of loving that person who is too difficult, or in too much trouble, or frankly probably wouldn’t help us if the tables were turned, then we betray our hearts that do not love as God loves. Instead of looking for loopholes, let us search for opportunities to use what God has given us to bless all our neighbors.
B. Prayer
ank you, Father, for giving us the great commandment for your glory and our fulfillment. We want to love you with all that is within us. And we want to love our neighbors—whomever you place before us—in the same way we love ourselves. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
C. ought to Remember
Good Samaritans ask,

“How can I be a neighbor?”
INVOLVEMENT LEARNING
Enhance your lesson with NIV Bible Student ( from your curriculum supplier) and the reproducible activity page (at
www.standardlesson.com or in the back of the NIV Standard Lesson Commentary Deluxe
Edition).
Into the Lesson
Write this question on the board:
On a scale from 1 (very easy) to 10 (almost impossible), how difficult is it for two people from very different socioeconomic and cultural
backgrounds to develop a neighborly relationship? Why?
Have learners work in groups of three to wrestle with this question. A.er a few minutes, reconvene for whole-class discussion of results. Explore issues of differences in wealth, race, age, gender, religion, etc., that can interfere with a neighborly relationship.
Begin a transition by asking two questions (if participants have not already done so):
1—What definition of neighborly did the groups work from to reach their conclusions?
2—At what point does wrestling with the definition cross the line from being useful to being hair-spli0ing and legalistic?
Use learner responses to the second question to complete the transition to the next segment. (Allow responses to the first ques-

Nickelson, R. L., Kenney, J. A., & Williams, M. K. (Eds.). (2020). The NIV Standard Lesson Commentary, 2020–2021 (Vol. 27). Colorado Springs, CO: Standard Publishing.

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Devotional Reading Background Scripture