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Friday, September 9, 2016
Today’s Reading | Luke 10:15–37
And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? No, you will be brought down to Hades. “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”
The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Sometimes the truth is simple.
In this passage from Luke, Jesus is getting at the root of why we do what we do. Note
that the lawyer is asking for a specific something that can be done—“What must I do
to inherit eternal life?”—perhaps for a particular person—“Who is my neighbor?” He is hoping Jesus will tell him what to do and how to do it.
He is looking for a formula for success.
But Jesus doesn’t go for the bait. Instead of a clear-cut answer, he gives him something more akin to a mantra, followed by a parable. It’s pretty simple:
Love your neighbor.
P.S. Everyone is your neighbor
(even that guy you consider your enemy).
Exactly how we should live out those principles—well, that could be simple, or it might take some work to find those answers. It might be as easy as inviting a friend to dinner, or as complicated as trying to determine the best way to engage our church in acts of social justice. It’s up to us to discover how.
God, give us the determination to seek out and find ways to love God and others that
are unique to each of us. Thank you for your love for us. Let us reflect it out into the world. Amen.
Written by Jeremy Pfaff, Editorial Assistant
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