March 17 2013
Jesus’ story defines “neighbor” in the most rigorous of ways. Any person in need is your “neighbor,” even if he is a member of a race that is a traditional enemy!
The Samaritan story illustrates love for neighbor. The Mary and Martha story illustrates love for God. Martha was busy preparing a large meal for Jesus and His disciples. Mary ignored her sister and sat at Jesus’ feet, the traditional place of a disciple.
Jesus’ rebuke might be paraphrased, “Just a casserole, Martha, not a smorgasbord.” Love for God is expressed best in listening and responding to Jesus’ words, not in busily doing “for” Him.
‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ Arial;mso-fareast-language:JA”>‘your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
If we speak of eternal life, and the way to it, in a careless manner, we take the name of God in vain. No one will ever love God and his neighbour with any measure of pure, spiritual love, who is not made a partaker of converting grace. But the proud heart of man strives hard against these convictions. Christ gave an instance of a poor Jew in distress, relieved by a good Samaritan. This poor man fell among thieves, who left him about to die of his wounds. He was slighted by those who should have been his friends, and was cared for by a stranger, a Samaritan, of the nation which the Jews most despised and detested, and would have no dealings with. It is lamentable to observe how selfishness governs all ranks; how many excuses men will make to avoid trouble or expense in relieving others. But the true Christian has the law of love written in his heart. The Spirit of Christ dwells in him; Christ’s image is renewed in his soul. The parable is a beautiful explanation of the law of loving our neighbour as ourselves, without regard to nation, party, or any other distinction. It also sets forth the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward sinful, miserable men. We were like this poor, distressed traveller. Satan, our enemy, has robbed us, and wounded us: such is the mischief sin has done us. The blessed Jesus had compassion on us. The believer considers that Jesus loved him, and gave his life for him, when an enemy and a rebel; and having shown him mercy, he bids him go and do likewise. It is the duty of us all, in our places, and according to our ability, to succour, help, and relieve all that are in distress and necessity.
SummaryJA”>Jesus has left Galilee and His itinerant ministry will now focus in Judea. He sends 72 followers ahead to warn that God’s kingdom is near and laments over those cities where He has preached and been rejected . The messengers return, excited at their new power over evil spirits. But Jesus is joy-filled at the salvation of those who have chosen to believe in and follow Him . JA”>Questioned by an expert in Old Testament Law, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan to show the full extent of the Law’s demands on the believer. For love for God and neighbor require unlimited commitment to meeting needs . Later, at Mary and Martha’s home in Bethany, Jesus gently rebukes the harried Martha for her anger at Mary, who expresses her love for God by listening intently to Jesus .