Read: Luke 10:25-37
Devotional (by Dan Shackelford)
Key Verse: 7 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.’”
This man who comes to Jesus is an expert in the law. He knows very well, in his mind, what the law says. However, we see from his desire to justify himself, that he doesn’t understand the law in his heart. He wants to know who his neighbour is. He is asking, “Who is it that I should love as myself?”
It is in response to this question that Jesus gives the iconic parable of the Good Samaritan. Today, when you think of a Good Samaritan, you think of people who give generously to others. You might think of the Samaritan’s Purse, an organization that helps thousands around the world. Good Samaritan laws even exist to protect people from lawsuits, who are trying to help those who are injured, sick, or otherwise incapacitated.
But in Jesus’ day, “good” was the last word on the average Jewish person’s mind when they talked about Samaritans. In the Gospel of John, chapter 4, we see a Samaritan woman who is very surprised that Jesus is talking to her. John tells us there that Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. This man cannot even bear to call the man who helped a Samaritan. When Jesus asks who was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers, he simply says, “The one who had mercy on him.”
This season of lent, consider who your neighbour is. Is your neighbour a refugee family who has just recently come to Canada? Is your neighbour someone who spends most of their time over on East Hastings? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, but also, love your neighbour as yourself.