25 May 2012

Luke 10:25-42

"Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side." (v. 32) "But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her them to help me." (v. 40)


In Matthew's and Mark's account of this (Matthew 22:34-40; Mark 12:28-31) they make it clear that the lawyer who stood up was one of the Jewish leaders. He asked Jesus with rebellious intent (v. 25), "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus asked him about what the law demands, and impressed by his reply said (v. 28), "You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live." But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus (v. 29), "And who is my neighbour?" Jesus replied by telling what is now known as the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

The confrontation started with core questions of religion: eternal life and then God's law. But Jesus brought down the theological discussion and placed it in a real social situation. He said, a certain man travelled from Jerusalem to Jericho and he was beaten by robbers who left him half dead on the road side. By chance a priest was going down that road and when he saw the wounded man he passed by on the other side. So a Levite followed and again when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan as he came near the place and saw him he was moved with compassion. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, then put him on his donkey, took him to an inn and cared for him.

At the end Jesus asked the lawyer (v. 36), "Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" In a way the lawyer refused to say 'the Samaritan' but instead, replied (v. 37), "The one who showed him mercy." Then Jesus said to him (v. 37), "Go and do likewise." To inherit eternal life is not about giving the right answer. It is about allowing your neighbour to be seen and saved through your love of God.

Then Jesus visited the house of Martha and Mary. It was a big occasion, as it always was when Jesus visited them. Martha was busy with many things, not paying much attention to Jesus and instead distracted by many chores. She looked into the living room and saw her sister Mary at the feet of Jesus listening to his stories. Martha was envious and said to Jesus, "Lord, tell [Martha] then to come and help me." Jesus replied (v. 42], "Martha, you are worried and distracted about many things ... Mary has chosen the better part." Our busy-ness can easily prevent us from attending to the people we are suppose to love and care for. We can easily be identified with the priest and the Levite of the first story and Martha of the second one with our busy schedules and agendas.

To Ponder

What do you need to do in order to make our neighbour's voice heard and visible?

How many opportunities do you miss to help or save someone because you're too busy?

Take a few minutes today to respond either to God or the needs of others, like Mary or the Good Samaritan.


Bible notes author

Tevita and Meleane Siuhengalu

Tevita Maliepo Siuhengalu is an ordained minister with the Methodist Church in Tonga, who taught at Sia'atoutai Theological College for seven years. Tevita and his wife Meleane were mission partners with the World Church in Britain Partnership Programme between 1996 and 2001, and Tevita continued as minister in the High Wycombe Circuit, until 2004.