Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Good Samaritan parable - this week's Sunday School lesson

Sorry for such a time between postings - I'll try to be better. Good news is that I've completed all assignments for school, so that's one less thing on my plate.

My church is in the midst of our fall program. This year's theme is "Who is My Neighbor?" All adult/teen Sunday School classes are teaching similar lessons during the program. This week's lesson focused on who the three people were in the Good Samaritan parable.

I'm sure many of you are familiar with this parable. A man was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell among thieves and was left for dead. Three people saw him - the first two passed by while the 3rd one had compassion and helped him.

What struck me this morning was the difference between "saw" and "look".
From Luke 10:
[31] And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
[32] And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
[33] But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
definitions from Google:
to see: perceive by sight or have the power to perceive by sight; "You have to be a good observer to see all the details"; "Can you see the bird in that tree?"; "He is blind--he cannot see"

to look: perceive with attention; direct one's gaze towards; "She looked over the expanse of land"; "Look at your child!"; "Look--a deer in the backyard!"
When "to see" is used, you are seeing by sight - something catches your eye. When "to look" is used, you are purposely, with attention, seeing something with your sight.

With these two definitions in mind, this is what I realized during the lesson:
  • The Priest saw the man, but paid him no attention.
  • The Levite saw the man, came to purposely see with attention, but decided not to help.
  • The Samaritan saw the man and decided to help, without considering the situation or if the man were worthy of help.
So how do you see? Do you see things out of the corner of your eye, like the Priest, but continue on your way. Do you come take a closer look, but like the Levite, decide to continue on your way? Or do you see something and, like the Samaritan, decide to do what you can, without consideration to the situation?