Summary: The parable of "The Good Samaritan" teaches us that we should love despite the circumstances and despite our feelings.
Expanding Your Circle
Based, in part, on a sermon by Mark Scott
Scripture Ref: Luke 10:25-37
Additional References: The Bible Knowledge Commentary
a. The text for today is one of the many parables Jesus used in His ministry. A parable is a story with a lesson in it, although the lesson isn’t obvious unless you are seeking to learn. The underlying lesson in this parable is about love—how to, when, and to what degree.
b. Read Luke 10:25-37.
c. There is an old adage that says, “All truths are equally true, but not all truths are of equal importance.”
d. If we take that adage and apply it Biblically, it might sound like this, “All scripture is inspired, but not all scripture is created equal.”
e. Were we to rank the major themes found in the Bible, love would be found high on the list; if not number one, then surely in the top five.
f. Were we to further analyze the theme of love, we would sort those scriptures into three categories—God’s love for us, our love for God, and God’s love in us for others. It is in the third category where we start to run into problems.
g. In the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey details a model called “Circle of Concern—Circle of Influence.”
(1) We each have a wide range of concerns that make up our “Circle of Concern—our health, our family, problems at work, etc.
(2) As we look at those concerns, we find there are some things over which we have no control, and others which we do.
(3) Those things over which we do have control are grouped into an inner circle called the “Circle of influence.”
(4) Covey goes on to say that effective people are proactive in their approach to changing those things they can within their circle of influence. The proactive approach is to change from the inside out.
h. We can take Covey’s principle and modify it to a Christian perspective and our Circle of Concern becomes our Circle of Love.
i. Read Luke 10:25-29
j. The lawyer in this text had a fixed circle of love, and Jesus had “pushed the envelope” for the lawyer’s circle.
k. If we learn nothing else from this passage, we must learn we cannot and must not limit the capacity and strength of our love for our fellow man, regardless of the circumstances.
l. If we impose boundaries and qualifiers on our love, we will, as did this lawyer:
(1) Try to test Jesus with insincere questions rather than learn from him. (v 25)
(2) Have a legalistic view of salvation. (v 25)
(3) Ask questions to which we already know the answer. (vv 26-27) We should ask questions such as “How can I do this? I am not able and need help.”
(4) Having difficulty aligning our actions with what we say. (v 28)
(5) Try to justify ourselves in God’s eyes. (v29)
m. However, if we place no limitations on our love, we can expand our circle and will love …
2. The Careless (v 30)
a. The man the Samaritan helped, who in all likelihood was Jewish, did not been wear his smart cap the day he was attacked.
b. The road from Jerusalem to Jericho descends about 3,000 feet over the course of 17 miles. It was a dangerous route to travel because robbers hid along its steep and winding path.
c. Despite these conditions, the Samaritan stopped to give aid to the injured man.
d. Are we obligated to help people who have only themselves to blame for their troubles?
e. How often have you wanted to say, “You made your mess, you deal with it?”
f. Expanding our circle of love requires that we love even those who have been careless.
3. Those Who Haven’t Been Loved by Others (vv 31-32)
a. The man was intentionally left to die by two Jewish religious men, a priest and a Levite.
(1) We would expect a religious leader, such as a priest, to demonstrate the Bible’s teachings on love, yet the priest did not.
(2) A Levite was an assistant in the synagogue. They were not priests, because they were not direct descendants of Aaron, but we would still expect them to demonstrate the scripture’s teachings on love, yet this one did not.
(3) As we bring this story into today’s view, are we obligated to love those who have not received help from the Christian community?
4. Our Enemies (v 33)
a. Luke, the only Gentile to write of the life of Christ and have his writings canonized, notes a significant point in this verse.
b. The man who stopped to help the injured Jew was a Samaritan.
c. In the previous chapter, Luke tells of Jesus being refused lodging because He was Jewish and was headed for Jerusalem. Jesus even rebuked James and John for wanting to call fire down on the Samaritans to destroy them, yet here He depicts a Samaritan as a good guy.