Sunday, October 01, 2017

Which One Was the Neighbor?

Today's Reading: 
Genesis 44:1-45:28
Luke 10:13-37
Psalm 17:6-12
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Focus Verses: Luke 10:36-37 
36 "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" 37 The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

When the expert in the Law of Moses asked Jesus the way to eternal life, Jesus pointed to the Law and asked the expert for his opinion on what it said. The expert was right on track when he quoted from Deuteronomy ("love the Lord your God") and from Leviticus ("love your neighbor"). But when he began to get philosophical and ambiguous about the meaning of the word "neighbor," Jesus told a down to earth story that put the application of the Law into a real life situation.

The story included a priest and a Levite who, like the expert, would surely have known the "love the Lord your God" and "love your neighbor" passages from the Law, but did not live them out. Jesus was essentially telling the expert, "It's not enough for you to know and discuss the Law. You have to live it."

Response and Action:
It's one thing to know what I should do and another to do it. I want my love for God and my love for my neighbor to be more than words. I will strive to put my beliefs and knowledge into action. If I truly love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, I will respond to his admonition to extend grace and love others. When it is within my power to help someone, I will take action. I will keep my eyes open to the needs of people around me in order to be an instrument of God's love and care to them.

O God, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me show love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where their is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light. Where there is hunger, food. Where there is homelessness, shelter. Where there is brokenness, restoration. Where there is sickness, healing. Grant that I might not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that I receive; it is in pardoning that I receive pardon; it is in dying that I am born to eternal life. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses:
1 John 4:20-21
20 If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others
by Scot McKnight

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