Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 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. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 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. 35 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.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
The Parable of the Good Samaritan is perhaps the best-known of Jesus’ parables. It is prompted by a question. A legal expert, wanting to test Jesus, asked, “Teacher, what must I do to gain eternal life?”
Jesus replied, “What is written in the Law? How do you interpret it?”
The legal expert responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live.”
Then comes the question: “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus tells the story of two very religious people passing by the injured man obviously in need and a Samaritan stopping to help the man. The Samaritan not only bandaged his wounds, but he also took him to an inn, took care of him, and then gave the innkeeper two days’ wages to continue the care, promising to reimburse the innkeeper for any additional expenses.
What made this story shocking to those who first heard it was that the hero of the story was a Samaritan and Jews despised Samaritans and Samaritans despised Jews.
Jesus then asks the expert in religious law a question with an uncomfortable answer, “Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”
The legal expert had no choice but to answer, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Jesus responded to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Jesus turned the legal expert’s question on its head. Who is your neighbor? Certainly the ones in need. But the most important thing is for YOU to go and BE a neighbor to those in need.
There is a lot of theology woven into hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “The Gift of Love”. I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul.
Though I may speak with bravest fire,
And have the gift to all inspire,
And have not love, my words are vain,
As sounding brass, and hopeless gain.
Though I may give all I possess,
And striving so my love profess,
But not be given by love within,
The profit soon turns strangely thin.
Come, Spirit, come, our hearts control,
Our spirits long to be made whole.
Let inward love guide every deed;
By this we worship, and are freed.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster
Here’s more about this passage of scripture via Upper Room devotionals:
CONNECTED BY PRAYER
Prayer connects us together in the bonds of love.