Do you find yourself wanting to show God’s love only to other believers? Jesus addressed this discrimination, the restriction of God’s limitless love, in The Parable of the Good Samaritan (see Luke 10:25-37).
Who is my neighbor? (see Luke 10:25-29). An expert of the law wanted to test Jesus, so with impure motive, he asked Him, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25). Eternal life was a reward reserved only for God’s people. Jesus responded by asking the expert how he saw it, revealing whether the expert could be held accountable for his reply. He could. He had replied with the combination of two paramount verses in Scripture, known as the Great Commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Deuteronomy 6:5); and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). The response was affirmed by Jesus; however, the expert had a yearning inside himself to restrict the scope of who was his neighbor. “Wishing to justify himself,” he wanted to build a box around God’s love and define neighbor only as “God’s people” (Luke 10:29).
The Revealer of Need (see Luke 10:30). Jesus retorted with a story that unfolded on a treacherous 17-mile strip of road where thieves hid in caves. Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho” (Luke 10:30). Jerusalem was 2500′ above sea level; Jericho was 770′ below, (the lowest point on earth). No one traveled the route alone, nor do they today. The man was robbed, stripped, beaten, and left for half-dead.
Is there anyone in your world who is in need? It might be physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, or financial, but they don’t fit inside the walls you have constructed around God’s love.
The Concealers of Greed (see Luke 10:31-32). After leading worship in the temple, the Priest and Levite entered the scene. The priest had a moral conflict: the oral law prevented him from getting closer than 6′ from the dead, so he could not get close enough to assess the situation. However, the written law provided that he could, but he would have to follow the interaction with a one-week cleansing process where he must find, buy, and reduce a red heifer to ashes, a requirement of time, talent, and treasures. The priest passed by. He had built a box around the Great Commandment (making it conditional to loving only God’s people). However, he made the commandment not to defile unconditional. He was a concealer of greed, wanting to hoard God’s love for himself and those like him.
The Levite had a moral conflict. On the road, people were extremely aware of the other travelers. It was highly likely that Jesus’ audience had pictured that the Levite saw the priest pass by the beaten man. The Levite had more legal latitude than the priest. Would he be criticizing the priest’s legal interpretation of the Law if he differed from the priest’s behavior? The Levite passed by.
Ask God to examine your heart. Do you leave a church service with a box around God’s love? Do you want to hoard God’s love only for you and those who are like you? Are you a concealer of greed? If so, surrender to Him, today.
Episode 241: Parable of the Good Samaritan from mitchkrusetv on Vimeo.