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.”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Written by: Shannon Swenson
Even if you have never really been a church person, you have most likely heard the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). A parable is a teaching from Jesus that generally has multiple layers of message and impact.
A parable is like a great movie packed with love, romance, suspense, and a big rescue mission somewhere in the middle. As I read and reflect, I think about who is who in the story. Who is the priest? Who is the good samaritan? Who is the person beaten and left for dead in the ditch? If you think about it, most of us are the person beaten and left for dead and Jesus is the good samaritan.
Left on our own, we all need rescue. We have all done things or have had things done to us that leave us bleeding on the side of the road in need of healing, rescue, and a savior. In comes Jesus, not with flashing lights and sirens, but in tender mercy, grace, and love. He comes in the middle of our mess.
In that day and time, samaritans were the lowest of the low. They were rejected, scorned, and looked down upon. Jesus knew what that felt like. He literally walked through rejection, abandonment, physical beating, and crucifixion. In the ultimate rescue, He rose from the dead so we could join Him in Heaven one day.
The parable isn’t titled “The Good Person” or the “The Thoughtful Person”—It’s “The Good Samaritan.” It’s one thing to know the right thing to do, but what about actually doing the right thing? Remember the lawyer in the story? He knows the right thing to say and Jesus probably knows He is being condescending in His questioning. But Jesus pushes him to think not with his mind, but with his heart. This story is about a change in heart—it’s about not just knowing Jesus, but actually following Him.
In order to love my neighbor, I first have to first receive the love of Jesus. Second, I have to love my neighbor like He loves me. I am not always on my best behavior and am almost always asking for His forgiveness.
In order to love my neighbor, I also have to know who that is. There’s not one person you and I will ever lay our eyes on who was not created in His image and is incredibly loved by Him. Maybe my closest neighbors are people I go to church with and spend time with on a regular basis. Perhaps my mission field needs to be much broader and I need to spend time with those people left bleeding and wounded on the side of the road; the ones in need of His rescue.
Thought of the day: Have you forgotten that Jesus loves you even when you are the least loveable? Do you need to expand your mission field? What is your next step in being on mission with Jesus?
Prayer: Father God, thank You that You rescue me from my wounds and my own unwise choices on a regular basis. Thank You that You do it with love, mercy, and grace. Help me to take my next step in sharing the greatest rescue mission of all times with people in my neighborhood and at work. Thank You Jesus for using rescued people to help rescue people. Amen.