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16. THE GOOD SAMARITAN (Luke 10:25-37)

BACKGROUND: The Jews at the time of Jesus despised the Samaritans for being of mixed blood and half pagans. The Samaritans had their own temple on Mt.Gerizim, 50 km north of Jerusalem. They only used Genesis-Deuteronomy (the five books of Moses) as their Bible. The wounded man in this parable is most probably a Jew. The priest and the Levite were probably going to the temple to perform their religious duties there. If they touched blood, they would be unclean for the rest of the day, and not allowed to enter to temple.
  1. Imagine what kind of thoughts crossed the mind of the wounded man while he was lying on the roadside hour after hour.
    • Imagine the feelings of the wife and children when the father failed to come home after his journey.
       
  2. Why didn't these two religious people, the priest and the Levite, try to help the dying man? Think of as many reasons as possible.
    • How did the expert of the law probably evaluate the behavior of the priest and the Levite in the parable (vs. 25-27)?
       
  3. How did the priest and the Levite interpret the commandment of love, which they very well knew from their Bibles? (Look at vs. 27.)
    • Is it possible, in your opinion, to love God with all one's heart, soul and strength, and at the same time treat a suffering human being in the way these two religious people did? Give your reasons.
       
  4. The Samaritan had many reasons NOT to help the wounded. Think of as many of them as you can.
    • What would be the minimal amount of help a decent person would give in that situation?
    • What "extra help" did the Samaritan give to the wounded?
       
  5. Two silver coins corresponded to two days' wages, which would keep a man up to two months in an inn. How much would that sum be in our currency?
    • Why did the Samaritan want to pay such a sum of money to help a stranger, who wasn't even his own countryman?
    • For whom would you be willing to do everything this Samaritan did for a stranger?
       
  6. Do you think the Samaritan also kept the first part of the commandment of love (vs. 27)? Give your reasons.
     
  7. Who is your neighbor whom you perhaps have been ignoring in the same way as the priest and the Levite ignored the wounded man (vs. 37)?
    • What concrete steps should you take to help this neighbor?
       
  8. What are the similarities between Jesus and the Good Samaritan?
    • What more did Jesus do for his enemies than the Samaritan?
    • What has Jesus done for us who have often felt ourselves wounded in heart and soul?
       
  9. Discuss some concrete example like why the majority of European Christians didn't do anything to help the persecuted Jews during the Second World War. Find an example from the history of your own country/church: slavery, buraku-mondai etc.)

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