Today’s reading: Luke 10:25-42
We all know the parable of the Good Samaritan. We all understand its basic message that it is not enough to speak about faith and religion but we must live it. Today, let’s look at it in the context of apologetics. Jesus is asked a direct question, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Notice, his answer is not, “faith alone”.
And 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 answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” Luke 10:27-28
It seems obvious that the first half of the answer implies faith in God. However, in the second half, the Jewish questioner is conveying correctly the Jewish understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures that one must be devoted to good and loving of one’s neighbor. As Jesus tells this man that “he has answered correctly” it follows that this formula continues into the New Covenant.
What follows is the main text of the parable. It is one of the seminal moments of Jesus’ teaching as it powerfully illustrates that the love of God that we are to show to others is no longer confined to our local community but extended to all others. The Jewish questioner answers the parable correctly. Notice Jesus’ response to him:
Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and DO likewise.” Luke 10:36-37
Again, in the context of being directly asked the question of how to obtain eternal life, Jesus response is not one of “faith alone”, but a call to action. His clear message is that it matters what we do.
Tomorrow: Luke 11:1-26