The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37)

A lawyer questioned Jesus over what he must do in order to inherit eternal life - he wanted to test him. Jesus asked him what was written in the law, and he replied that one must love the Lord with all one's heart, soul, strength and mind; and love one's neighbour as oneself. Jesus told him that he was correct ("do this and you will live"). The lawyer then asked "who is my neighbour?" so Jesus told the following parable:

There was a man travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho. He was robbed and abandoned by the roadside. A priest travelled along the road, but passed by on the other side. So did a Levite. But a Samaritan went to his aid, bound his wounds (pouring oil and wine on them) and transported him to an inn on his own donkey. There, he paid two denarii and asked them to care for the man, promising to pay the remainder if anything extra was spent.

Jesus questioned the lawyer, asking him which person represented the man's neighbour. The lawyer answered correctly that it was the Samaritan. Jesus then commissioned him, "Go and do likewise".


  • A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. It has a moral, and is used for teaching. It is not literally true (allegory). It is designed to make people think, then pass judgement on their own lives.
  • Eternal life - i.e. salvation, being judged well by God. Initially, Jesus pointed the lawyer towards what the Jewish law dictated. This shows that the law was still important.
  • Trap - the lawyer was trying to test Jesus. Jesus answered with questions. By doing this, Jesus ensured that he couldn't be accused of anything bad. With the help of the parable, the lawyer answered his own question correctly.
  • Neighbour - The Samaritan (from a different country, and someone whom the Jews would have considered unclean, an outcast, and avoided) seems the least likely person to come to the man's aid when compared to the religious priest and Levite. This illustrates that one's neighbour is not dictated by religion, nationality, family, or anything else for that matter, but simply by the fact that they are there. In Jesus' church, anyone can be a neighbour to anyone else.

Contemporary Issues

  • Charitable work.
  • Prejudice and discrimination.
  • Ways that one could be a "good Samaritan" in the twenty first century.
  • Judging others before you know them.

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The Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32)

There was a man who had two sons. The younger son asked for his share of the inheritance, gathered up his belongings, and went to live in a far away country. However, he was foolish with his money and squandered it all. A famine then overcame the country where he was living and he took a job feeding pigs. He would happily have eaten the pigs' food, but nobody gave him anything. He thought that even his father's servants were treated better than him, so resolved to return to his family and offer himself as a slave, as he was ashamed of what he had done and felt that he was not worthy to be called his father's son.

But his father saw him approaching when he was still a way off, and ran and embraced him. The son apologised to his father, but the father clothed him in the best robe, put a ring on his finger, shoes on his feet, and ordered his servants to kill the fatted calf so that they could all celebrate his son's homecoming. The other son (who was coming home from the field) heard of this and refused to go into the house, complaining to his father that despite his many years of faithful service, he had never been given a party - but that the rebellious son, who had wasted the family money, was being given a great feast. The father said to his elder son that he was always with him and that they shared their possessions, but that the younger son had been dead but was now alive again, had been lost but was now found - and that this called for a celebration.


  • Trust - the father trusted his younger son to use his inheritance wisely. Was the father too trusting?
  • Foolishness and Jealousy - the younger son was foolish and squandered his inheritance. The elder son was jealous when his brother was welcomed back home with a great feast.
  • The younger son sank as low as he could get - he even fed the pigs (unclean).
  • Forgiveness - the father forgave his son, throwing a party in order to welcome him home. He was still his son, and he loved him as such, no matter what he had done.
  • Remorse - the younger son was sorry for what he had done, but before he had time to express this, his father had already welcomed him back with open arms.
  • God's Love - the father represents God and, like the father's love, God's love is unconditional, like parents' love for their children.
  • Dead but now alive, lost and now found - the younger son was spiritually dead and lost, and he would have had no contact with his family since leaving for the far away country.

Contemporary Issues

  • Forgiveness - what is it? It is always the right thing to do? When is it hard to do?
  • Jealousy.
  • Conflict within families.

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The Sower (Luke 8:4-8; 11-15)

A large crowd gathered, and Jesus told a parable about a farmer who sowed seed. Some fell on the path and was trampled on and eaten by birds. Some fell on rock and could not take root because there was no moisture. Some fell among thorns and was choked by them. And some fell on good soil so was able to grow - a hundred times more than was sown. And Jesus concluded by saying, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear".

Jesus explained that the seed represented the word of God. The seed which fell on the path was like those who heard the word, but it was then taken away from them by the devil so they couldn't be saved. The seed which fell on rock represented those who received the word with joy, and believed for a while, but they turned away when the going got tough. The seed which fell among thorns was like those who heard the word, but were then distracted by the cares, riches and pleasures of the world. And the seed which fell on good ground represented those who heard the word, took it to heart, and persevered.


  • Seed - this represents the word of God. All the seed is the same, but its fate depends on where it is sown. In the same way, God's word is available to everyone, but people receive it (or not) in different ways.
  • Persevere and don't give up - everyone can hear the word, but not all persevere, take it to heart and act on it.

Contemporary Issues

  • In what ways are we distracted by our worldly cares, so forget to do what is right, in our preoccupation with less important issues?
  • Does God still speak to people today?
  • Are people today like the path, the rock, the thorns or the good soil?



Between which two places was the man travelling, when the good Samaritan helped him?

Why might people hearing this story at the time have been shocked?

Explain the meaning of the parable.

Why do you think that the elder brother was annoyed with his younger brother when he got home, in the parable of the lost son?  Can you understand his point of view?

Why do you think that the parable has been given the title 'the lost son'?  What do you think 'lost' means in this context?

What does the parable teach about Jesus, and his attitude towards those who ask for forgiveness?

In the parable of the sower, what does the seed represent?

 Explain where the different seed fell, and what happened to it

What is a parable, and why do you think that Jesus used them in his teaching?