The Gospel of Luke – Week 29
Jesus, An Almost Dead Man, And What Real Love Looks Like
Many Jewish religious leaders and those with power were threatened by the growing number of followers of Jesus. In this text, we see a Jewish law scholar attempting to trick Jesus into contradicting the Torah by asking him about how to treat neighbors, and who “counted” as a neighbor. As Jesus does himself when he comes up against a tricky situation, such as during his temptation, he asks himself “What does God’s word say on this topic?”, and this is the question he poses to this lawyer. The lawyer answers, quoting two verses about loving God with our whole selves, and loving our neighbor as we love and care for ourselves.
Jesus affirms this, but tells what is to us a familiar story to illustrate what real love of a neighbor looks like. In this story, Jesus makes the protagonist a person from what Jews considered an enemy culture, the Samaritans. A Jewish man is robbed and beaten by thugs, and the Samaritan does what two other fellows Jews would not – he lovingly and sacrificially cares for his enemy. Jesus tells this story to totally flip upside down this Jewish lawyers idea of what real love looks like in God’s Kingdom. To really push this Jewish lawyers worldview, Jesus directly connects loving people this way with our ability to truly love God with our whole selves. Check it out!