A certain lawyer asked the Savior, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25). The following teaching ideas can help students learn what it means to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Ask a student to read aloud the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency:
“The people around us are not perfect. People do things that annoy, disappoint, and anger. In this mortal life it will always be that way” (“The Merciful Obtain Mercy,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 77).
Invite the class to ponder whether they know someone who does things that annoy, disappoint, or anger them.
Why might it be difficult to love someone who does these things?
Invite students to look for truths as they study Luke 10:25–37 that can guide them as they interact with individuals who may be difficult to love.
Remind students that in their personal study of Luke 10, they learned of a lawyer who asked the Savior how to inherit eternal life.
Invite a student to read Luke 10:26–28 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Savior’s answer. Then ask students to report what they found.
What principle do we learn from these verses concerning what we must do to obtain eternal life? (Students may use different words but should identify a principle similar to the following: To obtain eternal life we must love God and love our neighbor as ourselves. Write this principle on the board.)
What does it mean to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind?
Point to the phrase “love our neighbor as ourselves” on the board. To help students understand what it might mean to love our neighbor as ourselves, invite them to list on the board the things they do during a typical day. (Items might include preparing for the day, eating, sleeping, doing homework, and so forth.)
After compiling a list on the board, invite students to ponder how many of their activities are focused on themselves. (You might ask them to identify whether each item on the list is for themselves, for others, or for God.)
What can we learn from this exercise?
What are some ways we might be able to focus more often on the well-being of others and seek to love them as much as we love ourselves?
What are some ways we can do this even during activities we do for ourselves? (Examples might include eating lunch with those who seem lonely or complimenting others during our school activities.)
How do you think loving God and our neighbor as much as we love ourselves can help us progress toward eternal life?
Invite a student to read Luke 10:29 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a second question the lawyer asked Jesus.
What was the lawyer’s second question?
Prepare several students to act out the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:30–35. Invite one student to be the narrator and others to play the roles of the wounded Jewish man, the two thieves, the priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan. (If you have a class with only a few students, they could play multiple roles.) You may want to provide some props, which could include name tags, extra clothing to take from the Jewish man, two containers representing the oil and wine, a rolling chair to represent the beast, and two coins to represent the two pence. (Note: You may want to select the participants and give them specific instructions before class to ensure the role play is effective, appropriate, and safe.)
Invite the narrator to read Luke 10:30–35 aloud, and ask those participating to act out the parable. Ask the rest of the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior taught about who our neighbor is. After the role play, invite the students to return to their seats.
Which of the Samaritan’s actions impresses you the most?
To help the class better understand what might be expected of a priest, Levite, and Samaritan, invite a student to read the following explanation aloud:
In the written law of Moses, priests and Levites were assigned [and obligated] to serve God and their fellowmen, both in the temple and as teachers and exemplars of God’s law. These priesthood bearers were fully aware of the commandment to “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Leviticus 19:18). In fact, Levites were specifically charged with helping travelers economically and in other ways (see Leviticus 25:35–36). In contrast, “Samaritans were partly Israelite and partly Gentile. Their religion was a mixture of Jewish and pagan beliefs and practices. … Jews had developed [hatred] for the Samaritans because the Samaritans had apostatized from the Israelite religion” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Samaritans,” scriptures.lds.org). Both Jews and Samaritans typically went out of their way to avoid each other.
In the parable, why might the actions of the priest, Levite, and Samaritan be surprising?
What reasons might the Samaritan have had to not assist the wounded Jew?
According to Luke 10:33, what moved the Samaritan to act when he saw the wounded man?
Point out that to have compassion means to notice another person’s needs or challenges and to feel a desire to do whatever we can to help that person.
Invite a student to read Luke 10:36–37 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior taught the lawyer next.
How does this parable answer the question in verse 29, “Who is my neighbour?”
Help students understand that the Savior’s use of the Samaritan in this parable suggests that our neighbor is not just someone who lives near us but is any of Heavenly Father’s children—including those who are most difficult for us to love.
Ask a student to read aloud the following statement by President Howard W. Hunter:
“We need to remember that though we make our friends, God has made our neighbors—everywhere. Love should have no boundary. … Christ said, ‘For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?’ (Matthew 5:46)” (“The Lord’s Touchstone,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 35).
According to Luke 10:37, what did the Savior teach the lawyer to do?
Invite students to consider once again the individuals they previously thought of who may be difficult for them to love.
What can we do to love and have compassion on those who are difficult for us to love?
Ponder a time when you or someone you know followed the Savior’s counsel to “love … thy neighbour as thyself” (Luke 10:27). What was the result?
Testify of the truths taught in today’s lesson. Write the following incomplete statement on the board and invite students to complete it in their class notebooks or scripture study journals: I will follow the example of the good Samaritan by …
Explain to students that in the coming unit they will study how Jesus repeatedly rebuked the Pharisees for seeking to look righteous but inwardly were selfish. Ask them to consider how they might be less like the Pharisees and more like the humble followers of Christ. They will also study several other parables that Jesus gave, including the parable of the prodigal son. Ask them to notice what happened to the rich man who dedicated his life to obtaining wealth and neglecting the poor.