Faith-Life Reveals Itself in Love for Others
These are the readings for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.
God’s Word for This Week
We cannot see into other people’s hearts, but we can discern Christian faith by its fruits in words and actions. God tells us that love, joy, peace, patience, and more make up the fruit of faith. (See Galatians 5:22,23.) If we truly have crossed over from death to life, it will show in love for others, as James has written: “I will show you my faith by what I do” (James 2:18).
Traditional First Lesson – Deuteronomy 30:9-14
What summary of God’s law does Moses give the children of Israel in these verses?
Moses summarizes the law as obedience to God and his commandments. All of God’s commandments can be summarized in one word: love. (See Mark 12:28-34; Romans 13:8-10.)
In light of verses 11-14, what do many people seem to think they have to do in order to please the Lord God?
These verses suggest that many people have thought the Lord is “too difficult” to please, that he requires all kinds of heroic acts on our part. But Moses argues with that false idea: “The word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so that you may obey it.” Simply put, God wants us to love him and one another.
Supplemental First Lesson – Deuteronomy 24:17-22
In general, how did God command the children of Israel to treat foreigners, orphans, and widows?
God commanded the Israelites to treat foreigners, orphans, and widows with kindness and generosity.
Twice God gives a simple reason for such commands. What is that reason?
God told the Israelites to be kind and generous to those in need because the Israelites had been slaves in Egypt.
Traditional Second Lesson – Colossians 1:1-14
Why did Paul have reason to thank God for the Colossians?
Paul thanked God for the Colossians because he had heard of their wonderful faith-life which revealed itself in love.
What prayer did Paul continuously pray on behalf of the Colossians?
Paul’s prayer was that the Colossians might be built up even more in their faith, that they “may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way” (verse 10). Paul teaches that love is a natural consequence of faith.
Supplemental Second Lesson – Romans 12:9-21
When others mistreat us, what should we not do? Why not? (See 12:19.)
We should not take revenge. If someone harms us, revenge is God’s job. He will repay.
What should we do then, according to Paul? (See 12:20,21.)
We should overcome evil with good. Specifically, if our enemy is hungry, we should feed him. If our enemy is thirsty, we should give him something to drink. By doing this, Paul says, we will heap burning coals on our enemy’s head. (This picture seems to mean causing one’s enemy to feel ashamed of his or her conduct, in comparison to the kindness shown to him or her.)
Gospel – Luke 10:25-37
What is the first reason why Jesus told this story? (See Luke 10:29a.)
Jesus told this story first to counteract the way we all want to justify ourselves. We have not kept God’s law!
Why were the priest and Levite in Jesus’ parable unwilling to help the man victimized by robbers?
The priest and Levite seem to have been more concerned about their service in the temple, which would bring them honor, than they were concerned about the fulfillment of God’s will, that we love our neighbor as ourselves. Self-love trumped love of others. True God-given faith-life reveals itself in sacrificing for others.
What is surprising about the Samaritan’s willingness to help this Jewish man, and what do his actions teach us about true Christian love?
The Samaritan’s willingness to help would have been a surprising twist to Jesus’ listeners and a slap in the face to many Jews of Jesus’ day. Most Jews looked down on their Samaritan cousins, thinking of them as unreligious half-breeds. But the Samaritan’s actions model Christ’s own love, which selflessly serves others—even an enemy. (See Matthew 5:43-48.)