Plot Twist: Week 3 - Day 4
Father, thank you for your word that shows us how to live. May we take it to heart.
READ: 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.”
Jesus explains that the expert in the law is right: we were called to love our neighbors. In verse 29, things take a turn. The expert brings up another question, “And who is my neighbor?” There are always people in our lives who are challenging to extend love and grace to. We all have that person in mind and that question comes up, haunting: “Do I really have to love them?” We can come up with so many excuses to justify ourselves. It is a temptation to set boundaries on our love. As flawed humans with a sinful nature, we can see love as transactional. They love me or they treat me well, so I will in return. Jesus illustrates a different kind of love in this parable. This love, he explains, goes above and beyond. This kind of love doesn’t look at age, gender, skin color, cultural background, personality, attitude, or social status. This kind of love is extended no matter what. In Matthew 5:46-48, Jesus again speaks of this kind of love, saying “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” We are called to a kind of love that is radical. So, who is your neighbor? It’s quite simple, really. Everybody. We are to love our neighbors and thus we are to love everybody.
Who is someone you’ve put a boundary on loving? Rethink that choice (conscious or unconscious) in the light of this passage.
Jesus, help us to show this kind of trans-formative, radical love to everyone we meet. We need your strength and grace to do it. Be with us today as we love those in our home, community, workplace, and church. Amen.