Scripture for Week of May 4-10

Luke 10:25-37 (NIV)

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 was attacked by 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.”

 

1 reply
  1. David Bearden
    David Bearden says:

    I think it’s interesting that the victim in the parable is left naked and half-dead, almost faceless, without identity or reputation. Also interesting are the identities of the priest and a Levite—who are perceived as religious zealots; both of whom, as inferred by profession and tribe, offer daily sacrifices and work in the temple. However, a religious identity does not, by any means, produce Godly character. As the parable goes, both the priest and the Levite pass the dying man—who is possibly also a Jew—without a shred of pity, seeming half-dead themselves.
    To me, it would be interesting to find out the identity of the victim—to see if it would make a difference in the reactions of the priest or the Levite. Though, I think this is Jesus’ point: which ultimately works to reveal the lost-ness of not only the Levitical characters, but also Jesus’ expert questioner, who, like Paul before meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus, walks through life blind, with scales on his eyes and heart, impervious to the gifts of Christ-like compassion and kindness that only come through a life surrendered to the truth of God’s grace, mercy, power, and love.

    Also interesting is the identity of the Samaritan, who is hated as less than human by the Jews. Though, as the parable goes, it is the Samaritan who ends up ensuring the victim’s safety by personally investing himself in the recovery process, thus turning his perceived identity upside-down. Furthermore, the Samaritan doesn’t just pick the victim up, drop him off, and forget about him—checking off the box next to ‘good deed.’ Without cliché, he loves the victim by identifying himself in Christ: he meets the victim where he is—faceless, half-dead and naked. Without judgment, he salves and bandages his infirmities. He brings him to a place of life and ultimately pays the price for his recovery.

    I think we all have a natural tendency to be like Jesus’ questioner, the priest, the Levite, and even the victim—(I know I do). We are blinded and beaten by the flesh, the world, and the deceptive whispers of temptation, which tend to inflate us with a false identity which is either impossible to attain or futile to retain. The result of this kind of life leaves us defeated, compassionless, self-centered, jealous, and, ultimately, dead.
    Praise God that He knows each of us with undeniable certainty. Like the Samaritan, Jesus meets us at the point of our need, offering Himself as a salve to cover over all of our broken identities, which have been beaten half to death by sin. He comforts us and leads us with a gentle hand, rescuing us—paying the price for our restoration. Ultimately, it is only through our acceptance of this gift that we can discover who we are in Christ—where we too can become like the Samaritan.

    “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:11-14).

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