Summer at the Movies: The Sandlot

Jul 11, 2022

We’re chugging right along in our July series, Summer at the Movies! Throughout the 3-part series, we’re partnering the parables from the Gospels with modern-day movies to help us learn more about Jesus. All throughout Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, Jesus used parables–short stories–to reveal the kingdom of God to us. This month, we’re diving into 3 of Jesus’ 39 parables. 

In Part 1 of the series, Zack Spangler related The Parable of the Sower to the film Willy Wonka + the Chocolate Factory. If you haven’t yet had a chance to watch his message, be sure to check it out! We’re covering Part 2 of Summer at the Movies and taking a look at the similarities between the timeless film, The Sandlot, and one of Jesus’ most well known parables, The Good Samaritan. 

In How to Neighbor, Pastor Eric Jones reminds us that, just like in the movies, Jesus’ parables are more about the point than the plot. In the parable of The Good Samaritan, Jesus highlights His neighborly love for us as He endlessly shows us mercy and kindness…similar to the way Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez welcomes Scotty Smalls into their back-yard baseball team! Here’s our foundational scripture for this message: 

Luke 10:25-37 (NLT) 25One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” 26Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”

27The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” 29The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?

30Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. 31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

36 Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?Jesus asked. 37The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, Yes, now go and do the same.

How to Neighbor

As we dive into How to Neighbor, at timestamp 5:30, Pastor Eric Jones provides us with a little context by sharing details on the plot of The Sandlot. He goes on to share a personal revelation that is pivotal for our understanding of not only the movie, but also of the parable of The Good Samaritan. There’s a difference between the plot of the story and the point of the story. 

In The Sandlot, the plot of the movie is about a group of boys who lose a baseball signed by Babe Ruth and their journey to get it back. However, the point of the movie is Benny Rodriguez’s kindness toward new-kid-on-the-block Scotty Smalls and the power of welcoming in and loving the outcasts of a group. 

The Good Samaritan is a familiar parable to many of us, but how often do we get caught up in the plot of that story instead of the point? The plot of The Good Samaritan focuses on a Jewish man on a journey between Jericho and Jerusalem who was beaten by bandits and left for dead. A religious leader and a temple assistant both pass him and do nothing to help the beaten man. But a despised Samaritan, the arch nemesis of the Jews, shows the beaten man mercy and helps him in every possible way. 

This isn’t the message Jesus is trying to get across to us. The point of this parable is to answer the question: Who is my neighbor? Through the plot of The Good Samaritan, Jesus highlights 2 points for us: we need a neighbor and we’re called to be neighbors to others!


Think about other parables Jesus told. What was the plot and what was the point? 

Has there been a time in your life when you were so wrapped up in the story that you missed the meaning behind it? 

1.We need a Neighbor! 

When Jesus was telling the parable of The Good Samaritan, His goal was to point us toward Him; Jesus ultimately wasn’t trying to highlight the Samaritan man, He was highlighting himself as the good neighbor. 

We were like Scotty Smalls. We were like the half-dead man in the parable. Until…Jesus showed up and rescued us. 

Luke 10:34-35 (NLT) 34Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

Like the Samaritan man, Jesus loves us, cares for us, and paid our debt on the cross. Praise the Lord! 

Ephesians 2:1-6 (NLT) 1Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

4But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 

Before Christ we were stuck, left for dead, alienated from God. We were stripped by sin and the temptations of the world. We were outcasts with no hope. But God sent His Son, Jesus, to save us. This is good news! 

Romans 5:8 (NKJV) But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us

Colossians 1:21-22 (NIV) 21Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusations

Ephesians 2:12-13 (NLT) 12In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. 13But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.

We need to be reminded of how great a salvation we have in Jesus. We were enemies of God, hopeless and excluded, bound by our sin. But God drew nearer to us! He found us in our mess and freed us from our sin, adopted us into His family, and made us citizens of heaven. Jesus is our Savior; He is The Good Samaritan! 

We should be grateful for the inheritance we have in Christ and never forget the salvation for which Jesus died for us. As Christians, let’s not get so caught up in how good we have it now that we forget what it was like before Christ. Don’t get caught up in the plot; the point is Jesus’ sacrificial love that led to our salvation! Jesus was our neighbor, and that’s why we call Him Savior. Amen! 


How has Jesus been a neighbor to you personally? 

Share a time when an earthly neighbor has benefited your life in a season where you were down, beaten, or outcast.

2.We’re Called to be Neighbors! 

In The Sandlot, Benny has nothing in common with Smalls. Benny is the coolest kid, the ringleader of the group, and the best baseball player on the team. Despite Scotty Small’s shortcomings, Benny recognized that Smalls needed help and proceeded to go out of his way to love Smalls, defend him, stick up for him, and welcome him into the group. 

In the parable Jesus shares in Luke chapter 10, we see that the Samaritan is like Benny. Like Benny, the Samaritan man recognizes that the beaten Jewish man needs help and despite their cultural and social differences, he helps the Jewish man. 

Like both of these characters in both of these stories, Jesus saw that we needed help. He reached out and compassionately helped us, loved us, and brought us in. Jesus shared the parable of The Good Samaritan to help us see Jesus and to call us to act like Jesus and be a neighbor to others. 

Luke 10:36-37 (NLT) 36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. 37The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, Yes, now go and do the same.

Not only does Jesus challenge cultural norms and stereotypes within this parable, but he also truly redefines what it means to love. The Jews understood the importance of loving your neighbor as yourself, but the Hebrew word (Old Testament) for neighbor and the New Testament word for neighbor are very different. 

In Hebrew, the word neighbor literally meant someone who is physically your neighbor, a fellow Jew within their community. In the New Testament, Jesus flipped the script and said that a neighbor is actually anyone who has been in your place of sin and of bondage and in need of Jesus. 

Not only did Jesus exemplify true love through a sacrificial boundary breaking love for us, but he also calls us to do the same. Jesus teaches enemy love–not just love for those that we can agree with! 

Luke 6:27-36 (NKJV) 27“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

32“But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. 36Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.

Our world, our culture, loves to create enemies. We have a money-oriented news system that has capitalized on the business of producing content that creates rage, anger, hate, and fear. We have social media that tells all of us to feel intimidated because, at any moment, anyone can be canceled, rejected, and called out. 

There is a spirit of satan that works in this world to create hatred, division, and natural enemies. Whether it’s over race, politics, or even football teams, our culture wants to demonize other human beings and see other human beings as so wickedly wrong that we could never be in alignment with them. 

But…We are called to be lovers of our enemies! We were once enemies of God and He loved us anyway. He puts His love within us and tells us to go and love our enemies also! We need to be Christians who walk, talk, and live by this verse: 

1 John 4:19 (NLT) We love each other because He first loved us. 

“Loving our enemies” does not look like…

Lessening our convictions.

Condoning sin.

Agreeing with the ways of the world.

Rewriting or ignoring parts of the Bible that make others feel uncomfortable. 

“Loving our enemies” does look like…

Living like Jesus. 

Caring for those who we don’t agree with. 

Extending our hands and our hearts to those who are rejected and cast out. 

Proactively caring for those who are different from us.

Forgiving wrongs quickly. 

Resolving issues quickly instead of holding grudges. 

Sacrificially, recklessly, and unconditionally loving those around us. 

As Christians, we are called to live differently. We are called to love one another so much that the world will look at us and know we are His. When the love of God is on display, it draws all who see it to Him. 

Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJV) 37Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 

Here’s the deal: It is impossible to abide by verse 37 without also abiding by verse 39. These two acts of love are in a symbiotic relationship together! We, as Christians, are lovers of our neighbors, called to live lives absolutely defined by this Christ-like type of love. 

When atheists start mocking our faith, we show how much we care for them.

When those with opposing political views attack us for our beliefs, we respond with respect and honor. 

When bullies initiate a fight, we stand our ground and respond with the love of Jesus. 

When we embody the neighborly love Jesus demonstrates for us, we live lives as a reflection of Him. 

“Christians no longer distinguish between neighbors and enemies. Through the depth of Jesus, we are swept up into God’s love for all people–even enemies like us. The one who loves his enemies can no longer have any enemies. He is only left with neighbors.” – Preston Sprinkle


Who in your community needs neighborly love from you? How can you extend Jesus’ loving kindness to them? 

Share a time when it has been challenging to love your enemy and describe how you could have followed the Samaritan man’s example. 

We have been loved and we are called to go out and love! Let’s be the kind of Christians who learn from Jesus’ parables, understand His teachings, and apply His intentions into our daily lives. Amen! 


Heavenly Father, we thank you for your Word. Thank you for our conviction to go and live like Jesus. Lord, we ask that you give us ears to hear and eyes to see your word as we dive into scripture. We open our hearts and hands to receive your guidance. Please highlight for each of us areas that we can grow and help us to receive and remember how good you are to us always. God, we want to follow you throughout our week by intentionally striving to be an extension of the love of Jesus to those around us. Thank you for speaking and moving and having your way in us. In your Son’s holy name we pray, Amen!


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