UM, DEFINE NEIGHBOR, LORD

Luke and The Lost

There was once a former president who was accused of smoking marijuana in his younger college days. He was gifted at spinning his sins, or so he thought, by saying, “I tried it but I
didn’t inhale.” On anther occasion of getting caught with adultery, he was known to say, “It depends on your definition of is…is.” What? Most of what he said became nothing but fodder for a plethora of jokes. But we (as a nation) elected him for a second term! We humans are notorious for looking for loopholes in the law, in grace, and in serving others.

A religious scholar tries to test Jesus with a very important question then looks for a loophole in his own behavior. Jesus sets him straight with the intent of the Law with a story that closes all loopholes. Don’t you love how Jesus closes all the gaps, dots all the i’s and crosses all the t’s? There is no “spin” on how to love God and others with all our hearts, minds and souls.

Luke 10 love others

Luke 10, The Message
Defining “Neighbor”
25 Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?”

26 He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?”

27 He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”

28 “Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”

29 Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?”

30-32 Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

33-35 “A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’

36 “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”

37 “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.

Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

What do we learn?
–Go and do the same. Simple. No loopholes.

Dear Heavenly Father, We know that the story you told was even deeper and wider than the simplicity suggests. Help us as a nation to lay down prejudices and quick judgments. Help us a church. Help us as individuals. Help us to go and do the same as the compassionate Samaritan to a hurting and broken person. Then others will know we are Yours by Your love expressed through us.
In Jesus Name, and by Your Power within us, Amen.

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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