02 Aug Discussion Guide: One Another – Week 2
Before We Get Started
For our discussion today we will be using the sermon series discussion guides. If you would like to follow along you can access this discussion guide on the website at mosaicchurchaustin.com and then select “community group resources” in the menu options.
Because the main goal of our time together is to establish relationships and learn how to walk with one another in all that God has called us to be and do, we’d like to begin by praying for one another. So, does anyone have anything you’d like us to pray for, or anything to share regarding how you’ve seen God moving in your life that we can celebrate together.
This Week’s Topic
Today we continue our new series that, in light of all that is going on in our world today, couldn’t have come at a better time. We will be looking at some of the different commands in Scripture that call us to “one another” one another. Serve one another, encourage one another, sharpen one another, seek to outdo one another in showing honor, and above all, love one another, are just a few of the things Jesus and the New Testament writers command us to do in our dealings with one another. Of course those things are easier said than done, but why is that? In this series we will be asking some tough questions and seeking the Gospel-centered solutions in how we can best “one another” one another.
Bear One Another’s Burdens
Over the last few months, what are some ways you have seen people doing harm to one another?
What are some ways you have seen people loving one another?
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance, a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.
As a quick summarization, why would this parable Jesus told have been so shocking and offensive to the audience He was speaking to?
Who are the “Samaritans” in your own life? Meaning, who are the people that represent the pain, rejection, offense, or even oppression you have felt in life?
If anyone says they don’t have anyone, or any people, in their life that represents that kind of hurt, rejection, offense, or oppression then we need to lovingly challenge them on that. It may be someone from their past that they just aren’t thinking of. It may be that the fact that they can’t think of anyone is a sign of apathy in their heart. It could be that they just don’t care about anything passionately enough to be offended. It could be a group of people that represents hurt and pain to them rather than just an individual person. We all have someone, or some people group, that brings up those feelings of anger, or bitterness, or the desire to withdraw and push away. The point with this question is to help people tap into that place in their hearts where they have villainized others, or have dismissed someone else’s opinion because it differs from their own. We want them to think through who it is in their own lives that they find it difficult to show love towards.
What makes loving those people, or that person, so difficult?
“And so the first question that the priest asked, the first question that the Levite asked was, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”
What motivation would move our hearts to ask that same question in regards to others?
Here’s the more full context of Dr. King’s quote within the final speech he would give one day before being assassinated.
“Now, you know, we use our imagination a great deal to try to determine why the priest and the Levite didn’t stop. At times we say they were busy going to a church meeting, an ecclesiastical gathering, and they had to get on down to Jerusalem so they wouldn’t be late for their meeting. At other times we would speculate that there was a religious law that one who was engaged in religious ceremonials was not to touch a human body twenty-four hours before the ceremony. And every now and then we begin to wonder whether maybe they were not going down to Jerusalem, or down to Jericho, rather, to organize a Jericho Road Improvement Association. That’s a possibility. Maybe they felt it was better to deal with the problem from the causal root, rather than to get bogged down with an individual effect.
“But I’m going to tell you what my imagination tells me. It’s possible that those men were afraid. You see, the Jericho Road is a dangerous road. I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on that road I said to my wife, ‘I can see why Jesus used this as the setting for his parable.’ It’s a winding, meandering road. It’s really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about twelve hundred miles, or rather, twelve hundred feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho fifteen or twenty minutes later, you’re about twenty-two feet below sea level. That’s a dangerous road. In the days of Jesus, it came to be known as the ‘Bloody Pass.’ And you know, it’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking, and he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the priest asked, the first question that the Levite asked was, ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’
“But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”
The point Dr. King is making here is that self-preservation leads to apathy and the dismissal of others in their time of need. The risk of stepping into a potentially confrontational space feels unsafe to us, and therefore we will do what we can to avoid or to turn away from, someone in need. However, Gospel-love puts the needs of others ahead of our own and is willing to take whatever risk is necessary to ensure the safety or provision of another. This is precisely what Jesus has done for us, and it is precisely what Jesus commanded we do for one another. This kind of love is not some post-manufacturer, bolt-on addition some Christians have the option of choosing as an upgrade to their “base model” Christianity. This love is the very purpose of our existence in the Garden of Eden, and the goal of Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary Hill. To say we receive that kind of love from Jesus, but refuse that kind of love towards others merely shows that we have not truly received from Jesus in the first place. Gospel-centered love, the perved unconditional love of Christ, residing and welling up in our hearts is the only thing that can, and will, motivate us to ask the question, “If I don’t stop to help this man/woman, what might happen to him/her?” It is a love that counts the cost of following Jesus and gladly pays that price so that others might benefit and come to the knowledge of the glory of God. To cross the street, to be more concerned about what might happen to yourself as the priest and Levite did is to place your own glory ahead of God’s and is the essence of sin, a following after the same choice made by satan that lead to his being cast out of heaven.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
What does it mean to bear one another’s burdens?
How does that fulfill the “Law of Christ?”
If this is what it looks like to follow Jesus in loving our neighbor as ourselves, is that a price you are willing to pay? Why or why not?
What is the Holy Spirit telling you would be a good next step for you to take in your pursuit of loving your neighbor as you love yourself?