Leading Question: What does a person need to do or believe in order to receive eternal life?
Scripture Focus: Luke 10:25-37; James 2:17-22; Matthew 22:37-40; Galatians 5:14; Micah 6:6-8
The Big Idea: According to the apostle Paul, the entire law is summed up in the single command to love our neighbor. And our neighbor is anyone who is in need. So, we must love those who are not like us and thus who we don’t like.
- In Luke 10, a lawyer asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life.
- Is the answer Jesus gives the same answer you would give?
- Is Jesus advocating for “salvation by works” when he refers to the law? If not, why is there such an emphasis on behavior in Jesus’ answer? Is doing the right things more important to God than believing the right things?
- Later in Luke 18:18-25, Jesus is asked the exact same question, but there, he gives a different answer. Why? Do different people need to do or believe different things in order to receive eternal life?
- We already noted that Jesus gives two different answers to the same question (see Luke 10 and Luke 18). Upon reflection, how were the two answers similar?
- Later in Luke 10, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan in order to demonstrate what it means to love one’s neighbor.
- What parts of this parable seem especially significant to you?
- When the parable was told, it would have been quite difficult for Jesus’ Jewish audience to bear because of their animosity toward Samaritans. We should perhaps remember that Jesus’ disciples had previously offered to call down fire from heaven to destroy an entire Samaritan village that didn’t offer them hospitality. What about today? Who are the equivalent of “Samaritans” for us today?
- Samaritans were religiously, ethnically, and culturally different from Jews. Yet Jesus uses a Samaritan as an example of how to live. So, is it possible that we should emulate certain characteristics of people who are not of our faith? Can we learn from people that don’t believe as we do? If we say “Yes,” are there any dangers we should be aware of as we emulate aspects of behavior of those who are not Christians?
- If we struggle with animosity or prejudice toward some group of people, how do we overcome it? What is the best way to grow in our love for others?
- Is it possible to love someone (in the sense Jesus is speaking of in Matthew 22:37-40) and hate them at the same time? Be careful . . . this might be a trick question!