Read Luke 10:25-37. “It hurts, Mum! Ouch!” Can you remember running to your mother for comfort and sympathy when you fell over and scraped your knee? Mum was the one who would supply the plaster and kiss away the tears. Likewise, Jesus wants to soothe our wounds.
Often, we read Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan as a call to live a life of neighbourly love. And of course, it can be read that way. As we thought about yesterday, Jesus wants us to show compassion on those with physical needs, just as he did.
But like a mother, Jesus wants to heal us too, and his parable has hidden depths that can bind up our wounds too. Perhaps, particularly as Salvationists, Jesus wants to heal us of the notion that we must do something to earn God’s love.
The expert in religious law is an activist, like many of us. Notice his question. He does not ask about a way of life. His question is how he could make his way to life:
Luke 10:25 NLT
One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
To bind up the activist’s wounds, Jesus first meets him where he is. The expert wants to know what he must do to merit God’s favour, so Jesus tells him. Jesus’ story isn’t a nice, comforting story about a man who spots someone else in trouble and helps him out. The twist in the tale is that this is an encounter between sworn enemies: a Samaritan helping a Jew. Unheard of! They were sworn enemies. Imagine a black freedom fighter helping a white supremacist. You get the idea. It’s impossible!
But that’s the point Jesus is making. It’s impossible to do anything to inherit something. Inheritance is based on relationship, not on performance. It’s impossible to do anything to make God love you. He loves you already!
Life with Jesus isn’t about religion. It isn’t about frenzied service. Discipleship is different from busyness. God doesn’t ask for incessant good works. Following Jesus is about devotion and dedication. Jesus seeks our commitment, not our achievements. He’s not impressed by our activities, but our attitudes.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus looks to heal the wounds of the activist, as a mother puts a plaster on the skinned knee of her child. May each of us be healed of the futility of trying to win God’s love through human effort.
Think It Over
Think about the following:
• Am I tempted to try to earn God’s love? How does that leave me feeling?