SUNDAY SCHOOL: “Loving Your Neighbor”

Sunday School with Theodis Acklin

Scriptural text: Leviticus 19:18, 34; Luke 10:25-37

The Basic Commands in the Lives of Believers

(Luke 10:25-28):  A lawyer tempted Jesus, he was not seeking the truth. He was not really trying to discover the way to God. His purpose was to trip Jesus, to lead Jesus to discredit Himself by giving some unusual answer that would arouse the people against Jesus.

The first supreme question of life is: How do we inherit eternal life? Note that the lawyer’s question stressed works. He asked, “What shall I do?” To him, salvation was by works. God was going to accept him because he was or could become good enough. He had no concept of the part that God’s love and grace played in salvation. First, the law has the answer to eternal life. If a man wishes eternal life, he must look into the Law of God. Jesus’ instructions to the lawyer, “How readest them?” Second, love God supremely. This is a personal relationship, not a direct relationship. God is impersonal, not far out in space someplace, distant and removed. Love God with all that you are, with all your being, all your nature. Jesus breaks our being into three parts: the heart, the soul, and the mind.

Who Is Thy Neighbor? (Luke 10:29)  The second supreme question of life is: Who is my neighbor? Note the lawyer sought to “justify himself.” He sensed that Jesus was saying he had not done – the law. He had failed to love his neighbor. So he asked Jesus a logical question, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered and drove the point home to the human heart by doing what He had so often done-He gave an illustration. The illustration gives a shocking surprise: each of us is to be a neighbor and realize that neighbors come from surprising places. Jesus’ words reflect Leviticus 19:33-34: even “sojourners” deserve love.

A Neighbor Is Anyone in Need (Luke 10:30-32)The central character in Jesus’ story is unnamed. He is not characterized by race, religion, or trade. He is merely a “certain man” who by implication could be any one of Jesus’ hearers (verse 30). Jesus’ audience, no doubt, imagined the man to be Jewish, but Luke’s audience may have assumed he was Gentile. The point is that he is identified only by what happened to him and who helped him in his hour of need. Who is our neighbor? Anyone who is in need, and certainly and especially who is in desperate need. That’s our neighbor and that’s one we must love. That’s what it means , again, to follow Jesus-to listen to His word, to watch how he acts, and do the same.