The question a lawyer asked Jesus, “Who’s my neighbor?,” might have been tossed Jesus’ way to make Him struggle—but that’s not how it turned out. The story Jesus told in response took the lawyer exactly where Jesus wanted the man to land: We’re neighbors when our love reaches out and serves.
Today we’ll GET INTO the story Jesus told and walk the path that the priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan walked. After the video, we’ll TALK IT UP and ACT IT OUT, discovering what it means to us that Jesus’ love reaches out.
Round up everyone and watch “A Good Neighbor.” As you watch, imagine what it would be like to be beaten and, hurt so badly you couldn’t get up only to hear several sets of footsteps pause and then hurry on by. And how it would feel to finally get help—from your enemy!
In today’s video Jesus teaches a lawyer—and us—a valuable lesson about being a good neighbor: It takes love. Love that notices when there’s a need and does something about it. Love that reaches across divisions and connects with others. That’s exactly how Jesus loves us!
Use these questions to TALK IT UP and explore what God’s Word says about how Jesus loves … and how we’re to love others.
Jesus told the story about a Samaritan and a wounded traveler to answer this question: “Who’s my neighbor?” But Jesus never summed up what the lawyer was supposed to learn—Jesus let the lawyer figure that out for himself.
We’re still figuring out how to respond to Jesus’ story. Yes, we want to care for others, but we have limited time and money. Yes, we want to serve others, but what if they take advantage of us?
Jesus’ answer was to paint a picture of His love for us. Jesus’ love sees us in our need, responds, and then goes the second mile to bring us to wholeness. That’s a fair description of what Jesus did coming to earth, walking with us, and then dying for our salvation.
And it’s a fair summary of what the lawyer was meant to see in Jesus’ answer.
Who’s our neighbor? Anyone who needs us … even those who aren’t feeling all that neighborly toward us.
Choose one (or more) of these neighborly acts and give it a try—right now!
Jesus used the word “neighbor” in a way that’s different than we use it. We tend to think of people who live near us. He used it to describe anyone with whom we can share God’s love in a practical way. Beaten, bloody people who’ve been kicked to the curb, for instance.
If we’re going to live out what Jesus is calling us to do, we’ve got to adjust how we see neighbors.
Jesus is helping us sharpen our focus on who counts as a neighbor. The people who live near us, yes, but there’s more to it than that. The Samaritan didn’t live near the wounded traveler, yet the Samaritan acted as a true neighbor.
Anyone God puts in our path who we can help is also a neighbor. We might not be able to help, but there’s no excuse for walking by without caring. When love reaches out—and Jesus’ love reaches out—it reaches out to everyone it can touch. When we love like Jesus loves, our love reaches out too.
When suggestions taper off, pray and ask God to show each of you who He’d have you stop to help—and what that help would look like.
Close by asking everyone to say along with you, “In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Sharing what God’s doing in and through us reminds us God is still at work, encourages other believers, and gives praise to God. Here are ways you might share what you’ve discovered about Jesus’ love reaching out:
If possible, post a photo or write a story about what reaching out in love looked like for you. Use the hashtag #GodInAction so we can see what you’re up to!