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Lesson 9: The Church and Education *

Introduction: When it comes to teaching the Bible, isn’t the church the center of education? Education is a process of changing minds. Sometimes the change is merely to learn something where you previously knew nothing. Sometimes, education is changing opinions. If churches are “safe spaces,” where everyone is expected to refrain from expressing an unpopular opinion, how can opinions be changed on sensitive topics? This week we focus on a story Jesus told about helping others in need. Does our church leadership model this? Are there practical limitations on who we should help? Let’s dig into our study and learn at least some part of what the Bible teaches about leadership and giving aid!

  1.         Leadership Under Fire?

  1.         Read Luke 10:30. Jerusalem is the capitol city. Jericho, which is only 15 miles away, is a good sized city. Lots of travelers go between the two cities. Crime was a major problem for those traveling this road. What do the circumstances tell us about this man? Was he careless?

  1.         Would a cautious, prudent person travel with others?

  1.         Is it possible that even a cautious, prudent person could be mugged? (One commentary reported that even if a person took all sorts of precautions they could still be killed or robbed on this road.)

  1.         Read Luke 10:31. Why does Jesus say, “by chance” the priest was in this place? (The priest was not looking for this encounter. He was not coming to help this man. The priest had other business in mind.)

  1.         Did the priest notice the “half dead” guy? (Yes. Jesus tells us he saw him.)

                

  1.         Is there any reason why the priest would “pass by on the other side?” (It would cross my mind that this was a trap. As soon as I went to help this guy, a bunch of robbers would jump out and attack and beat me.)

  1.         Is there some sort of compromise solution by which the priest could remain fairly safe, but better understand whether this was a trap and how much this fellow needed to be helped?

  1.         Read Luke 10:32. We are given the same facts for the Levite. We have no description or job title for the guy who was robbed. Why is Jesus giving the occupations of these two? (They are important to the story as we will soon see.)

  1.         Read Luke 10:33. Is the Samaritan being foolish? (He is taking a risk. But, that means he is unselfish - he prefers the guy who was robbed over his own safety.)

  1.         We are told you are a racist if you take race into consideration, Why does Jesus tell us the race of the man who showed compassion? (The priest and the Levite would have to be Jewish. We know their race. Samaria was a place and thus Jesus is talking about geography, not race. But, we know that Samaritans were the descendants of the forbidden intermarriage between the Jews left behind by the Babylonians and the gentiles living in the area.)

  1.         Read Luke 10:34-35. If you had never read this story before, would you be surprised? (Religion is supposed to be about loving others. These are religious leaders, so they should model caring. Samaritans had inferior religious beliefs and an inferior culture, according to the Jews. My belief is that a person living at that time would imagine that a Samaritan might well be a robber, but a priest and Levite would never be a robber.)

  1.         This is a story that Jesus made up. It puts the religious leaders in a bad light. Why would Jesus do this?

  1.         Your Neighbor

  1.         Perhaps we cannot properly answer the prior question without more context. Let’s discover what caused Jesus to tell this story. Read Luke 10:25. Is this a genuine question? Is it a sincere question? (No. It is a test.)

  1.         Read Luke 10:27-29. Is this lawyer taken in by Jesus’ answer? Has the lawyer moved from “a test” to a real concern about his own salvation? (I think so.)

  1.         The point Jesus is making in His story is to educate about who is our neighbor. Could Jesus have made the same point if the priest was the one who helped the robbed guy? (Yes.)

  1.         Given this context, is there any reason why Jesus would make the Jewish leaders the bad guys?

  1.         Read Luke 18:9-11. What problem does Jesus identify among the Jewish leaders? (They believed they were righteous and they treated others with contempt.)

  1.         What does this suggest about the way Jesus constructed His story in Luke 10? (Making the Jewish leaders the bad guys is not some artificial twist, it reflects the attitude of some leaders that others should be held in contempt.)

  1.         Read Luke 10:36-37. Jesus says that we prove to be a neighbor to others if we show mercy to them. Is there more to learn based on the additional factors that we have discussed so far? (The Jews despised the Samaritans, yet Jesus made the Samaritan the hero of the story!)

  1.         What does making the Samaritan the hero of the story teach us about who we should help? (We should help people who we would not naturally be inclined to help.)

  1.         Recently, I’ve been preaching sermons that make the point that the Bible is about Jesus, not about us.  If this story is about Jesus, what point should we take from it? (Jesus gave up His life in heaven to save the Jewish leaders, the Samaritans, and even people who make foolish decisions.)

  1.         Practical Application

  1.         Read Matthew 5:16 and check the educational value of Luke 10. We need to decide what kind of “light” we are sharing. Would the story we just read apply to someone who is standing by the road uninjured, but is begging for money?

  1.         If you say it would apply, how would you apply it?

  1.         I’ve spent time working at a local homeless shelter. When I travel in the area, I see people standing a couple of blocks from the homeless shelter, begging for money.  I’m confident that they are staying at the homeless shelter, but trying to pick up some extra money. How would you apply the Luke 10 story to them?

  1.         These days, everyone standing (or sitting) by the road begging for money is younger than I am. Of course, they are also poorer than I am. How would you apply the Luke 10 story to my situation?

  1.         Would you change your mind if they were smoking?

  1.         Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6 and 2 Thessalonians 3:10-13. When we read this back into the Luke 10 story, what should we have learned?

  1.         Does the Luke 10 story have anything to say about adult beggars soliciting money at traffic stops? (I don’t think it does. The Luke 10 story is about an emergency situation.)

  1.         Look again at 2 Thessalonians 3:6. This applies to “brothers” and tells us to “keep away.” Most of the beggars that I see have a little sign that indicates that they are homeless or hungry and very often makes reference to God. Does that make them “brothers?”

  1.         If they are not “brothers” does the encouragement to work still apply?

  1.         If we say that our work is to share, “light,” does that suggest that what we learn in church about dealing with each other regarding work contains lessons to share with the world?

  1.         It seems obvious that additional information about the beggar would be useful in giving correct answers to these questions? (Giving some a dollar is easier than stopping to ask questions. What do you think the Samaritan would have done in this situation?

  1.         Friend, setting aside the question of adult beggars, Jesus teaches us that our obligation to help in emergency situations is almost unbounded. Will you ask the Holy Spirit to conform your heart to God’s will?

  1.         Next week: Education in Arts and Sciences.
* Copr. 2020, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2020 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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