25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
I think the moral of this interaction with Jesus should be “never try and test Jesus, He’ll give you a royal smack-down of challenging truth.”
Such a great parable of Jesus, with everyday application and implication.
A man who gets attacked and robbed finds himself in sudden, unforseen, and desperate need. And the Samaritan man – unlike the other two smugly sanitised and aloof religious figures – gets alongside him straight away to help him. On his way doing what was probably a normal travel route, he discovers someone in sudden, unforseen, and desperate need, and he moves straight into action to help.
This is love for ones neighbour. Costly, inconvenient, but wonderfully dignifying.
It is a tragic state of affairs when human beings intentionally avoid the desperate need that is right in front of them. But truth be told, I find myself, without the right kind of heart focus, quickly spiralling into an intentionally a
Here, Jesus calls me to a life of love that dignifies. Love that costs, for certain. But love that dignifies, and heals. This is the right kind of heart focus for my day to day life.
As I go about my normal daily business, as the Samaritan man was, Jesus teaches me to keep my eyes out for opportunity to love my desperate neighbour in such a way that restores their dignity, and brings them healing.
I may not find a bloodied robbery victim. But I may find a desperate divorced mum. I may find a stretched and stressed work colleague. I may find a hurting and confused teenager. Maybe my “bandages, oil and wine” are instead a coffee, a listening ear, an offer of heartfelt and ongoing prayer and presence.
This is still love that dignifies the desperate. That heals the hapless. God, help me live each day with this as my heart focus.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh