Sunday 14 July 2013

Bible Book:

Luke 10:25-37 Sunday 14 July 2013


In the wisdom tradition of the Bible, those who study the law(ie the Torah or first five books of the Bible) do so out of love.They delight in it. We should not think of the lawyer whoapproaches Jesus as seeking to trick Jesus (Luke10:25), rather his question is deep within the tradition ofJewish debate. The law is discussed and explored because it is adelight. To study the law is to walk the path to God.

Within Christian readings, lawyers are sometimes portrayed aspedantic or predatory which does not reflect the Jewish traditionof Jesus, in which the law is wholly positive. Jesus makes thisclear in his response to the question put to him. He asks theexpert what is at the heart of the law; and the answer, they bothagree, is love. The love that is to be offered to God is allconsuming, all that can be given by a person. So too is the lovethat we are asked to show our neighbour. And the love we give ourneighbours is what we must give ourselves. Sometimes it is easierto love one or the other, but the requirement is that we love bothour neighbours and ourselves.

The expert in the law asks Jesus about the identity of hisneighbour, but the answer that Jesus gives in the parable of theGood Samaritan is focused instead on who acts as a neighbour. It isa subtle shift. The question posed assumes that it is the expertwho has something to offer. Yet the answer Jesus gives turns thisassumption on its head. Jesus asks him to see what he can learnabout love from someone unexpected. What would it feel like toreceive kindness and care from someone who is looked down on, andwhose religion and morals are questionable? Surely it is easier togive than receive. Surely it is more comfortable to be the goodneighbour than the one in need.

To Ponder

  • Which character in the parable of the Good Samaritan do youmost easily identify with and why?
  • Do you find it harder to love your neighbour or to loveyourself? How might belief in God's love for all help you?
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