Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Luke 10:29-37

Luke 10:29-37
But the one who desires to justify himself said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  After taking up the issue, Jesus said, “Some man was coming down from Jerusalem into Jericho and he fell to thieves.  And the ones who stripped him and put a beating upon him went away, after leaving him alone half dead.  And by chance, a priest who was coming down that same road even passed by on the other side after seeing him.  And a Levite behaved similarly after coming to the place.  After coming and seeing him he also passed by on the other side.  And some Samaritan came to him while journeying and after seeing he was moved with compassion.  And after coming near he bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine.  And after setting him upon his own beast, he led him into an inn and took care of him.  And the next day, after casting out two denarii, he gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Look after him.  And whatever you should spend more than this, I will give to you in my return.’  Which of these three, do you think, became a neighbor to the one who fell into the thieves?”  And he said, “The one who did mercy with him.”  And Jesus said to him, “Go and do similarly yourself.”

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

This teacher still wants to justify himself.  Again, I’m going to refuse to judge this man.  Yes, what he is doing is wrong.  Who among us can justify ourselves?  Who among us are righteous by our own without the intervention of God.  This man is guilty of not being humble before God.  But who am I to judge?  Am I any less guilty?  Do I not try to justify myself?   Do I not try and rationalize all of my selfish behaviors and my self-centered thoughts?  I absolutely understand why this lawyer is in the wrong.  But I find I have sympathy for him, because I know what this feels like and why he wants to do it.  It takes great effort to be humble before God and recognize one’s failings as the faults that they are.

Are you good at accepting your places of fault or do you try and rationalize them in order to justify yourself?  Where does this kind of rationalization lead?

Second Thought:

In Jesus’ parable, there are a priest and a Levite who pass by on the other side.  They should know better than this.  On the other hand, they would also have known that the Law would tell them – the priest especially – to stay ceremonially clean in order to be able to perform their priestly duties.  You can absolutely make a case against their lack of compassion.  But you can certainly make a case in favor of their obedience to the Law.  So what is Jesus teaching us here, especially if we remember back to what we talked about yesterday in the first half of this passage?  The Law is the standard.  However, none of us can attain the Law.  We need help.  We are made righteous not because of our obedience to the Law but because of the grace of God.  Therefore, we should be a people of grace.  The Law is absolutely the standard to which we measure ourselves; but grace is what should come out of our life into the lives of others.

Are you a person of grace?  When people interact with you, do you think that they think of grace as your witness?

Third Thought:

Now we get to the Samaritan.  Clearly here is a man full of compassion and grace.  Notice that compassion costs the Samaritan.  It certainly costs him resources.  But compassion also costs him time.  It costs him concern and worry over this man’s safety and health.  The Samaritan has to give money, time, and emotional stress in order to have compassion.  Grace is costly.  When we do something nice and it doesn’t cost us anything, are we truly even being compassionate?  This is a great time to look at God Himself.  When God desired to save us, did not His grace upon us cost Him dearly as He died upon that cross?  Grace is costly.  That is why it is hard to find in these days.

Where has grace cost you?  What has grace cost you?  How willing are you to have compassion as the cost for that compassion increases?

Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 10:38-42
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