On another occasion Jesus is confronted by an “expert in the law” who asks what he must to “inherit eternal life”. Jesus, as He often did, answered with a question: “What is written in the law; how do you read it?” Seems like a fair question to ask an expert in the law… The man replied:
“‘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.’” (10:27)
Jesus told the man that he has given the right answer and that if he did this, he’d be in great shape. But the expert in the law had tried to challenge Jesus; Jesus had just made it obvious to everyone that the man was trying to snare Him, since he already knew the answer to his own question. Thinking quickly he asked a follow up question: “Who is my neighbor?”
The response to the question is vintage Jesus; He told a parable…
What follows in 10:30-36 is another very familiar parable, the parable of the “Good Samaritan” As Jesus often did, He follows the parable with another question: Which of the three men in the story were a neighbor to the injured man? The expert said that it was the one who had mercy on the injured man. Jesus’ classic response to another correct answer is priceless: “Go and do likewise”.
So what should we take away from this story?
First is that it isn’t a good idea to try to trap Jesus; He was pretty quick on His feet. Second, is that we should show mercy to people who need it… which is pretty much everyone at one time or another. Third, it wasn’t the very religious who showed mercy to the man, it was an unclean nasty Samaritan who went out of his way and out of his pocket to help the stricken man who had been left to die by robbers. Finally, we are to put our faith, our love into action to serve those in need, and that we don’t get to heaven by engaging in arguments or rhetorical tricks or word games.
You see dear reader, God doesn’t care so much about how much you know, or your important status, He cares about putting our faith in action and sharing His love with those who need it.
“Methinks there is much wisdom in these sayings.”