Today's Bible In a Year reading: 2 Corinthians 12; Psalm 140; Job 7-8
Today's scripture focus passage: Luke 10:30-37 ~ The Parable of the Good Samaritan
So it's a common enough story and I won't retell it. I won't even talk about the most common aspect ~ how Jesus turned a self-righteous man's question from "Who is my neighbour?" to "How do you BE a neighbour?" What I want to talk about today is how this story is really an evangelistic tool, designed to point out a sinner's need for a Savior. This parable, so often told as a stand-alone story, is still part of Jesus' answer to the question, "What must I do to inherit the Kingdom of God?" asked in v. 25.
As an answer to this question from a bright, lawyerly, young man, Jesus does what He does best: He answers the question with a question. He asks the young man what the Mosaic Law says are God's requirements for His followers. The man answers correctly with the two greatest commandments: love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and your neighbour as yourself ~ which basically sum up the Ten Commandments and the entire Mosaic Law. But then the young man skips over talking about loving God and moves straight to loving his neighbour. He seems to think he's got loving God perfectly all figured out. One might think he'd ask how literally he was supposed to love God with ALL his heart, ALL his soul, ALL his strength, and ALL his mind, but no, he seems to think that's already taken care of. He just needs some clarification on which people, exactly, are the ones he's required to love. Once armed with that checklist, all his bases will be covered.
And so Jesus answers the young man's question with a parable and another question. And really, what He's asking here isn't just if the young man ~ and, by extension, all of us ~ is caring about/for everyone he comes into contact with. He's asking, "Can you love perfectly, selflessly, lavishly like this all the time? On a continual basis? [this implication of an unending, ongoing act is from the original Greek wording] Then you can inherit the Kingdom." It's a rhetorical question meant to reveal how far short of God's standard we all fall. Of course we can't love perfectly like that. We can't do anything perfectly like He requires. We need the grace and mercy of God in order to inherit His Kingdom. It is ONLY by His grace and mercy that it can be accomplished.
And that's why this isn't just a story about who our "neighbours" are, but another way for us to share the Good News with those who want to know how they can get to Heaven.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year reading: 2 Corinthians 13; Psalm 141; Job 9-10
Tomorrow's scripture focus passage: Luke 10:38-42
Exactly!!! We CAN'T love like that all the time - not our neighbour, and not God. We truly are wretched sinners in desperate need of a Saviour. And it's only when we acknowledge that wretchedness and that desperation, that we can be saved.
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