Jesus – Day 13
Jesus: Teller of Parables.
The command to love God with everything that we are, to be completely devoted to Him and to serve Him before anyone or anything else is overwhelming and seems impossible to accomplish, but is something to which many people aspire. To love your neighbour in the way that you love yourself is almost as great a challenge. Above, although the expert in the law wanted to test Jesus, Jesus actually tested him. The expert recognised his lack and so he tried to justify himself. Jesus, in His wisdom, told him a parable and left him to decide whose actions qualified him as a neighbour. This was the parable:
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.
He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:30-37)
Jesus was often faced with people who came to learn from Him or test Him during His ministry on earth, and this expert in the law was one of them. Sometimes the experts in society experience the most difficulty in following the things of God, because they don’t see themselves as sinful people in need of Him. Often their learning and knowledge blind their vision of God. We sometimes read of a brilliant writer, philosopher or scientist who turned away from God at a moment in his life, because the gift, that He had given him, had so swelled his ego that he thought he no longer needed Him. His own intelligence or talent had become his idol in place of God.
How do we compare with the expert in the law? Are we always clear who our neighbour is? Or do we also identify with that human condition that makes us feel that we need to justify ourselves, because deep down we know that we so seldom get it right? Let us ask ourselves if we care about the wellbeing of the person sleeping on newspapers on the pavement, or the family in our street who sometimes goes hungry; the person who rings the doorbell asking for food or clothes, or the children whose parents cannot afford their education. And what about the refugees who are trying to make a new life of peace? The list goes on. What do we do to help?
Do you know who your neighbour is?