January 6, 2022

By Becky Owen and Jonathan Lloyd

Scripture meditation: Luke 10:25-37

An expert in the law came to Jesus asking, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responded with a question and the expert gave the “right answer.” (Luke 10:27)

No doubt, this expert had studied many years and knew the Scriptures well. But he had come to test Jesus, so he was not satisfied with such simplicity. He went on to ask, “Who is my neighbor?” Here, Jesus launches into a story of radical countercultural service.

We are not told the nationality of the man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. We are told that a priest ( Jew) and Levite ( Jew), both presumably well-studied holy men seeking to walk in obedience to God, did not stop to help the man left half dead. Instead, a Samaritan stopped, took time to care for the badly roughed-up man, gave him a lift to a safe place, and even paid for him to stay for a considerable time to recover. He then promised to come back to check on him and pay any accumulated balance.

Now this may or may not have been a cross-cultural gesture of care – we just don’t know – but to the listener (the expert in the law) this story paints his enemy as the hero – how can this be?! A Samaritan is cast as the God-pleasing neighbor who would inherit eternal life. The first two men had good cultural excuses not to engage in the situation of the hurt man. But the third cut through cultural expectations and chose the way of generous mercy.

By this, Jesus points to the way of salvation: “Go and do likewise.”

Prayer

Father, expand our hearts to recognize your work in believers who look and act differently from us. Use their examples to call us into refocused and generous obedience to you.