Jesus is confronted by a man well-versed in the Jewish Law. This man’s purpose in confronting Jesus was to corner him and trick him into saying something that could be used against him. But Jesus doesn’t fall for this con and proceeds to teach this man – and the onlooking crowd – that grace is greater than the law.
The lawyer asks Jesus, “How can a man gain eternal life”? Obviously this is a question a so-called Bible scholar should know.Jesus’ responds, “You know the law so what does it say”? Jesus puts the ball back in his court.
The lawyer responds in verse 27, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” He’s quoting Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18.
Jesus tells this lawyer, “You’ve answered correctly”, but the lawyer should know that he hasn’t loved his neighbor like the law commands him and he definitely hasn’t loved God like he is commanded as well. His response to Jesus should be, “But there must be something more because I’ve failed”. Instead, he believes he has loved God perfectly and tries to justify his hateful actions towards his neighbors. He asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor”?
To help the lawyer see that the law does not save and his need for grace, Jesus shares the Parable of the Good Samaritan with him. Through this story, we see that the Priest and the Levite practice a dead religion while the Samaritan shows love and grace to the man who was his enemy. He then calls the lawyer to go and show mercy to broken people.
Taking the Parable of the Good Samaritan to Our Community
From this application-filled parable, there are five practices that we can incorporate in order to love, care, and show grace to the broken people in our community.
Your neighbor is anyone you cross paths with who is hurting and broken. Your neighbor is the one who needs grace. Your neighbor is the one who needs Jesus.
Your neighbor needs to be known.
If we intend to have a Gospel impact with our neighbors, then we have to know them. We can’t hide from them and still believe we can point them to Jesus. Knowing the people around us needs to be more then surface level. It’s more being friends on social media. It’s taking an interest in them. We can’t move forward on this list if we don’t first know them.
One way we want to be intentional in getting to know our neighbors is by throwing block parties throughout our community. GLC will help you throw these parties for your neighbors. We’ll produce invite cards, help with food, and even provide some outdoor games. You’ll just need to invite your neighbors.
Your neighbor needs to be served.
Once you get to know your neighbor, you’ll begin to learn how you can serve them. It could be providing a dinner, mowing their yard while they’re on vacation, giving them a ride to work, or watching their kids while they have a date night with their spouse. The Good Samaritan noticed the needs of the hurting man and served him. Serving others with a Christ-like love demonstrates to the world how Christ humbly served us and gave his life for us.
Through Grace Life, you have the opportunity to serve the people in our our community and within our church by volunteering on one of our Serve Teams. You can serve our kids in KidLife, you can serve new families who join us for worship, serve during our community outreach events, and you can serve by setting up for our Sunday gatherings. Use the gift God has given you (Romans 12:3-8) to serve the people in our church and in our community.
Your neighbor needs to be encouraged.
We don’t know what was said while the Samaritan was helping this hurting man, but I imagine that he was offering words of encouragement. When my kids get hurt and I see that they’ll be fine, I try to encourage them by telling them it’s going to be okay. I wouldn’t put it past this Samaritan man to say the same thing while he placed the hurting man on his donkey. People need to be encouraged. We need to come along side one another and lift each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
There is a reason we place strong emphasis on our LifeGroups. Not only are they a place to learn and apply God’s Word, but these groups are designed for us to encourage one another. When people share what they are going through, we can come along side and help bear their burden (Galatians 6). When we encourage each other to look to Christ, we are building up the church. We can also trust that as we look to encourage others, there is also someone in our group seeking to encourage us. Don’t miss out on the encouragement of being in a weekly LifeGroup.
Your neighbor needs prayer.
How often do we ask the people around us how we can pray for them? Do we ask our co-workers if we can pray over their marriage? Do we tell our friends that we are praying for them on a regular basis? Are we praying for our community to see their need for Jesus? By praying for our neighbor, we not only take their name to God for God to intervene in their life, but prayer is a great way to encourage one another.
My father-in-law shared with me how he prays for his server at a restaurant and something I have tried to adopt when we go out to eat. He naturally brings up that they’re going to be praying for their food in just a moment and if there is anything in their life they could use prayer for. The vast majority of the time, they always have something weighing on their heart. You see their pains, fears, and struggles in that moment and you then see how pray encourages them.
This fall, we are going to be holding neighborhood prayer walks. We’ll start with prayer at the homes of GLC families in each neighborhood and then spend time walking each street. We’ll have invite cards ready to hand out when we come across people and we’ll even ask how we can pray for them. Don’t miss out on these opportunities to pray over our community. Let’s fall on our knees and pray fervently that our community will see their need for Jesus and for God’s grace and His glory will be see through our church.
Your neighbor needs to know Jesus will save them.
Finally, we are called to take the gospel to all people. As mentioned earlier in this post, the story of the Good Samaritan is not just a story on showing kindness, it’s a story of how grace saves the broken and left for dead. The Good Samaritan symbolizes Jesus’ love for broken sinners and how He came to save those who were lost and were his enemies (Ephesians 2). We who are followers of Christ were once the man left for dead until Christ saved us.
We are now called to go and share God’s saving grace to the broken (Acts 1:8). In order to help us have these conversations with the people God has placed in our lives, we are going to be working through how to have Gospel conversations by using a method called “the 3 circles”. This is not new to our church, but we want to continue training each other how to share the Gospel.
Throughout the month of August, we will hold this training in our LifeGroups. Don’t miss out on this. Learn how to share the Gospel and then go and make disciples.
My continual prayer for our church is that we partner together to obey Christ’s command to take the Gospel to our community and to the world. There are broken people all around us and they can not afford for us to step around them, much like the Priest and the Levite. Let’s show more than just kindness; let’s show God’s saving grace through Jesus to the broken neighbor.
So ask yourself: “Who is my neighbor and how can I make a Gospel impact in their life?”