Bible Verse: “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”…Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:25, 37
Scripture Reading: Luke 10:25-37
Separated by centuries and cultures, it’s easy to miss just how controversial Jesus was.
If (like me) you had the privilege of being raised by parents who believed in Jesus and tried to live a life modelled after Him, then His unexpected statements can be comfortable, rather than unsettling, jarring, or even foundation-shaking.
One of Jesus’s more famous parables is the Good Samaritan. The short version of it is this: A man desperately needs help. Two religious people go out of their way to avoid giving him any aid, leaving him to die. A third man, from a group that the Jewish people hate, stops to provide aid. He even goes out of his way to see that the man is properly cared for in the days ahead.
An “expert in the law” had asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life. It was a test; Luke tells us that. The expert asked a question to which he knew the answer, and his answer was correct (see Luke 10:28). But he wanted to make himself look good, so he asked a follow-up question and got the parable in reply.
We could examine many details in this exchange and story, but let’s back up and look at the big picture. Loving our neighbour as ourselves is connected to eternal life. Jesus uses a parable to answer the question: who is my neighbour? This story implies that we shouldn’t have to be told how to love our neighbours; in the parable, it’s breathtakingly obvious what the need is and how loving a neighbour would work.
The expert knew that he needed to love neighbours; now he was confronted with the reality that a neighbour may not be the person he thought. Would he be willing to unlearn what he had perhaps always thought and embrace a new understanding? Eternal life would require moving past what he knew and following Jesus’ way of self-sacrifice, and living a life that puts God and others first.
Jesus ends the parable with a clear “Go and do likewise.” Our life now and our life in the future are not disconnected. We follow the way of Jesus, and follow Him all the way to eternal life.
Prayer: Jesus, I may be missing some things that You want to show me. Help me to hold my opinions and conclusions loosely so that when You are trying to teach me, I can receive what You are offering.
Reflection: When was the last time Jesus changed your mind on something? When was the last time you learned something that surprised you about God?
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