Monday, 23 January 2022
"Which of these do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robber’s hands?” – Luke 10:36
The parables of Jesus are always designed to bring out a lesson for life! The parable in today’s reading reveals the real disciple. Questions asked by people reveal primarily their own self; hence when the answers are given, the questioner also is dealt with. A lawyer was testing Jesus by asking Him a question (v.25)- the intention not to receive an answer, but to find fault in the answer of Jesus!
The answer Jesus gives, is relevant not only to the person who asked the question, but to all people of all times! The attitude of that lawyer exists in many of us- questioning Jesus in many ways!! The question asked was about the requirements to inherit eternal life! Jesus’ answer was the sum substance of the Ten Commandments (Vs.27), which is, love towards God and love towards man!
True wholehearted love for God calls for undivided devotion and obedience to His commandments! In fact Jesus conveys to the lawyer that the foundation of the Ten Commandments, is love and one cannot love God without loving his neighbor. In the religious mind of the questioner, he might have thought that everything can be done through ritually obeying the “written code” – including having eternal life!
It is very interesting to note the questions and the responses. The first question was about what one had to do to gain eternal life. Jesus’ response reveals the fact that the answer was already with the questioner – i.e. the Ten Commandments. However, Jesus presented that answer in the right perspective—two types of love - towards God and man!!
Though His response had two parts, the next immediate question was: “Who is my neighbour?” Wonder why that lawyer did not ask the question, “Who is God?” which was the focus of the first part of Jesus’ response! When he heard “Love your God” – he might have be convinced; but when he was told to love his neighbour, the question was: "Who is my neighbor?”, which again reveals the mindset of the questioner! He was preconceived with the notion that he was “the most righteous” person and hence the most eligible person to love others – “but who is qualified to receive my love?”
In His answer through the parable, Jesus instead tells him who is qualified to love and thus revealed his own deficiency! Jesus states in an uncompromising way- that if one cannot love the brother who is seen, he cannot love God who is unseen. Through the attitudes of the characters, the parable teaches us the right attitude of a disciple of Christ:
The Priest – he represents a religious attitude. His thinking would be: “Why should I take the risk of attending to a stranger? Who knows whether he is a gentile or an outcast? What if some sees me attending to a gentile?” His faith is of a hypocrite – he does everything to appease men – not God!
The Levite represents another attitude. He might have thought “If this man is dead, I might become ceremonially unclean!” A "holier–than-thou” attitude!! He was legalistic and selfish- he cared for only himself!
The Samaritan in the story represents the attitude that all of us need to have – loving the stranger and caring for his needs.
But we need to emulate the attitude of the Samaritan (a Jew is his enemy), knowing the fact that the injured man could be even a Jew, was willing to save his life! It did not bother him whether the injured was a stranger or even dead – he was genuinely concerned!
Brothers and sisters, to be a good neighbour, we need to love sincerely; we need to love without hypocrisy (Romans 12:9); we need to avoid selfishness (1Cor.13:5). That kind of unselfish love was shown only by Jesus! We need to have His mind and reflect Him!!
Quote for the Day: “God does not need your good works, but your neighbor does.” ~ Martin Luther