August 8, 2023

Bob Maas
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side." 
Luke 10:29-32

Jesus not only told the expert in the law that his answer was right but also said that he had to do what it said. Just knowing what to do isn’t enough. It tells us in James 4:17, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”

The man tried to justify himself by asking Jesus another question, “Who is my neighbor?” One of the things I became aware of about myself early on as a young minister was the propensity with which I could justify, rationalize and defend my lack of obedience to Jesus’ commands. Following Jesus is not easy. I’m still struggling with some of the challenges that take me out of my comfort zone. Yet, I know that the secret to living a transformed life rests in my willingness to make the adjustments that go along with being a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In answer to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus told the parable of the “Good Samaritan” so that he could expose the prejudice, bias, and bigotry that was lurking behind the query. This parable also teaches a lesson to everyone that we all have our own struggles with discrimination.

The more we view life from God’s perspective and leave behind our corrupted and conditioned way of viewing our life situations, we will find countless opportunities to use the gifts we have been given to serve others. It is for this that we have been called so that God may be glorified through the body of Jesus Christ.