Jesus is a fascinating human being. He says some profoundly deep things, but he also says things that get us thinking and examining our hearts. He was without question the smartest person to walk the earth.
There’s an interesting story in Luke 10 famously called “The Good Samaritan.” Even if you’ve grown up in the Church and you feel like you’ve heard this story 100 times, please keep reading! I believe God will still has something for you!
Let me sum up what happens before Jesus tells this story: An individual, who is identified in Luke 10:25 as an “expert of the law” which is the equivalent of modern day pastor who knows the Bible very well, approaches Jesus to ask him a question. He asks Jesus “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” which basically means, “How do I get the awesome life God offers?” And Jesus asks Him, an expert of the Law, what he interprets the Law, which is the Jewish version of the Bible, to say. His response is “Love God with everything and love your neighbor.”
Jesus was impressed. He said to this man “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will gain the awesome life God offers to those who obey the Law.”
But then this man gets clever. He wants obey the law, but with as little difficulty as possible. So he asks this question: “Who is my neighbor?”
Let’s stop for a second. Imagine you are in this man’s shoes. You ask Jesus how to gain this life in the Kingdom of God, the awesome and fulfilling life God offers to anyone who follows Him, and He says “Love God, and love your neighbor.” Who are you hoping your neighbor would be? Maybe your best friend, or that girl or guy you like, or a famous celebrity, or simply someone who is chill and easy to get along with. Who are you hoping your neighbor is?
Jesus answers this man’s question with a story.
Classic Jesus…refusing to answer questions directly, but rather with a story.
If you haven’t read to story before please read it!
“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?”
- Luke 10:30-36.
Who’s the hero in the story?
To us we think “Okay cool. The Samaritan is good. That’s why they call the story ‘The Good Samaritan.’ This is boring David what’s the matter with you?”
Wait! Don’t leave yet! Here’s the crazy thing we need to know: In that context (the Jewish context) the Samaritan people were looked down upon. Calling a Samaritan “good” was an oxymoron. It’s like saying “the good bad person.”
But Jesus makes this man, the Samaritan, the hero of the story. Why? Because he, a Samaritan, helped his enemy, the Jew, and showed love to him.
So what’s the message behind Jesus story? It’s simple: Love God, and love your neighbor, even if your enemy is Isis.
As followers of Jesus we are called to show love to everyone, including our enemies.
So, who is the “Samaritan” (the enemy) in your life? Who is God inviting you to show love to?
As you go about your day, I encourage you to pray this prayer:
“Lord, who is my neighbor? Who are you inviting me to show love to?”
May God strengthen you with His love and grace as you learn to love your enemy.
- David Beavis