An Ordinary Act of Extraordinary Love
This devotional was written by Jim Burns
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: " '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 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." 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 fell into the hands of 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. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." — Luke 10:25-37
Today’s scripture is very insightful, powerful, and, to be perfectly honest, very challenging. Let's look at the main characters.
The traveler: Here's a nice guy minding his own business when he gets attacked by the robbers. He has everything stolen and he is left for dead. We definitely meet a man in need of help.
Enter the priest. This person looked holy and spiritual. He knew the Bible, did the right kinds of things, said all the right "stuff" but it was all for show. On the outside he appeared religious but on the inside he was nothing but a hypocrite. Jesus coined a phrase describing this, "Whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean." (You can check out Matthew 23 for what Jesus thinks of hypocrites. Believe me it's not a pleasant chapter!)
Enter the Levite. Here's a person who is basically self-centered. I really believe the Levite (he was not called a Levite because he wore Levi's!) had a sincere heart for God but simply never got around to living for God. He meant well but his actions spoke louder than his words. Ultimately he was too busy to care for the needy traveler and thought someone else would do it. (Ouch! I can relate to this guy too often in my life.)
Now enter the Samaritan. Samaritans were not popular with Jews. In fact, Jews didn't socialize or even speak to Samaritans. Yet this Samaritan had a heart for God. He noticed the needy traveler and responded with his time and his money. The Samaritan was an ordinary person doing an extraordinary act of love. Oh, that we may become more like this Samaritan and learn a lesson from this story.
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1. What is the central theme of this story in the Bible?
2. What can you do this week to put this lesson into action steps for your life?
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