Daily Dose, Oct. 20 — Go Time

  Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?”  He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”  And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 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. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 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. 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.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)   The story of the good Samaritan was born out of Jesus’ response to an uppity expert on the law of Moses. Poor guy never had a snowball’s chance when he tested Jesus on his knowledge of the religious law of Israel. Jesus could have pointed out that you don’t DO anything to gain an inheritance, since it’s a gift. But Jesus skipped over his error. The lawyer should have left well enough alone when the commandment to love God completely was named priority #1. But he had to ask one more question and right there is where he dropped his molasses jar. “Who is my neighbor?” is an awful question. It smacks of bigotry and prejudice. The question has the odor of arrogance. You can tell that the man did not want to love everybody. He wanted to love people who looked like he looked, voted like he voted, went to his church and rooted for his team, and spoke his language. Jesus told a story of a person in need who could not speak a word of English and wore no game day clothing. Just a person in need of a neighbor willing to show mercy. “Go and do likewise,” said Jesus, and everyone who does is a friend to God. -- Y’all come, Dr. Don