Week 2 – Love God & Love Neighbor
Fellowship – Snacks (10 minutes)
Gathering and Opening (10 minutes). In pairs or groups of three, discuss the following: “Who has been the most difficult person for you to extend compassion to? Why?”
Group Dialogue (Approximately 30 minutes)
Read: Luke 17: 11-19
- What do you already know about the lepers’ relationship to the village? [As those unclean, they would not have been part of the community.] What ethnicity were the lepers? [Trick question. The region Jesus is in, between Samaria and Galilee, is deliberately ambiguous.]
- How were the lepers healed? [Not by touch or ointment, but in believing that somehow Jesus would make them clean at some point before they showed themselves to the priests.] How does the lepers’ action of going to the priest (Presumably before the were healed? Nowhere in the story do we learn when the healing occurred.) demonstrate their faith in Jesus? [They had to trust that healing would occur; otherwise, it would not have been helpful to go before the priest. If they were not healed, they would not be allowed back into community.]
- What are the significant characteristics of the leper who returned? [He prostrated himself before Jesus and thanked Jesus. He was a Samaritan.] Why would it have been surprising that the one returning was a Samaritan? [Samaritans and Jews did not get along, especially not religiously. The person displaying a faithful response to God is not a Jew, but a Samaritan.]
- Read Luke 7:50; 8:48; 18:42. What do each of these stories have in common? [In each healing story, the point is more than just physical healing, but also restoration into the community. Jesus’ healings are always more than physical demonstrations of power, but are also about reconciliation and restoration into community. A good example is Luke 7:11-17 – notice the story is about the widow who would have no male relationship if not for the resuscitation of her son.]
- What does the leper who returned receive that the other nine do not? [The others seem to have experienced cleansing, but this leper receives more.] What more does this leper receive from Jesus that the others do not?
- How has the leper’s faith made him well? What do we learn about faith from this story? [Faith positively responds to Jesus’ commands, includes praise and thanksgiving, and is not just for the Israelites.]
- Lepers were excluded from family, friends, and other relationships. Who might feel excluded in our community? How are we called to live out our faith for others? How might we work for their healing?
Prayer (10 minutes). Share prayer requests and respond appropriately.
Sending Forth (2 minutes). Before ending in prayer, spend at least one minute in silence:
God of grace and love, we are often surprised at the depth of your love. You know us completely and continue to call us your beloved. Help us to see others as your beloved as well and act with thanksgiving and compassion. Amen.