Sunday, February 28
Luke 10:25-42 — What matters most!
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.”
38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Points of Interest:
- (v.26) “What is written in the Law?”—The very Law in which this man is an expert holds the answer to his question. So, Jesus wants to know what the man has found. The man picks out two commandments that seem to summarize what the Law is all about: love God (Deuteronomy 6:5), and love people (Leviticus 19:18). That these two commandments would be the most significant ones is not entirely obvious; the one from Leviticus particularly is sort of tucked away amongst many seemingly random, detailed instructions. So, the man shows some insight.
- (v.29) “But he wanted to justify himself”—the simplicity of, “do this and you will live,” embarrasses the man. He needs to show Jesus that the question is a lot more complicated than Jesus indicates.
- (v.31) “he passed by on the other side”—this is not as callous as it sounds. To touch a dead man would make them ritually unclean, which would make them temporarily unable to do their jobs. Of course, the chance of saving someone’s life is worth such a temporary disruption. As Jesus said regarding the Sabbath, “Is it better to do good or to do harm?” (Luke 6:9).
- (v.33) “But a Samaritan”—Jesus compares the most spiritual Jews—the priests and Levites—to a heretical Samaritan. The priest and Levite might know the Law better than the Samaritan. But that’s not the point. Doing it is what leads to life.
- (v.34) “and took care of him”—this Samaritan is an illustration of doing good to those who hate you. He’s a Samaritan who goes out of his way to help a Jew.
- (v.40) ‘Martha was distracted’—it’s possible to take hospitality too far. Martha gets so embroiled in her duties as a hostess that she spends no time with Jesus and she gets angry at her sister—that’s pretty far away from loving God with your whole heart and loving your neighbor as yourself. Jesus accepts people’s hospitality because it’s a great way to spend time together. It doesn’t work if Martha is so intent on throwing the perfect party that she’s busy and worried.
Taking it home:
- For you: Make sure that you go out of your way to love someone else today (or tomorrow if you don’t read this until late in the day). At the end of the day, share your stories with your family, your roommates, or a friend. Jesus says that loving the people around us is a way to experience eternal life. Do you feel like your life is more abundant, more real, or just plain better in some way because you loved a neighbor? Whether or not that’s true, talk to Jesus about your experience.
- For your Six: Pray for your Six to also be able to love someone this week with an expanded capacity, and that God would give them better, more rewarding lives as they go out of their way to love other people.
- For our church/ILTJ: Ask God to free our church from busyness and worry. Pray that our church services on Friday/Sunday would be free from distraction and that each person who attends will experience the only thing really needed, the presence of Jesus.
- To Talk About: Who is your neighbor? Maybe a better question is, who isn’t your neighbor? We see in this story of the “Good Samaritan” the least likely person to help someone in need is the one who actually does it. He allows another person’s needs to interrupt his day, his travel plans and affect him financially. Yet, he is the one who Jesus says is showing love for God and others in a way that brings eternal life.
- To Do: Can you think of a time that you showed love toward a neighbor? Maybe you gave up time to hang out with a family member or friend in need, cancelled plans to help someone out or gave up some money to bless someone. This week, be on the lookout for someone, a neighbor, who you can show love to like the Samaritan did toward the man who was robbed. It may require giving up time, plans and/or money to help that person – whether you already know them or not – but we can trust God that it will be worth it.