Bible Readings and Devotion for October 5, 2020
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Devotion for October 5, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
In our reading today from Luke 10 we get to hear Jesus tell the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus used this story to make a point about life in relationship to God and others.
Our passage begins with a discussion between Jesus and a lawyer. This lawyer speaks up to test Jesus with a question. He asks, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Instead of giving a direct answer, Jesus responds with another question. This question was to look at what the law of God has already told us. The lawyer responds by quoting the law. “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.”
Jesus affirms the man’s answer and follows it up by saying, “Do this and you will live.” Well, this seemed pretty simple to the lawyer, but he wanted clarification for his own justification. He asks, “And who is my neighbor?” He seemed to want to just do his basic duty, enough to just get by in life. He seemed to want to have a limit on who his neighbor is. He uses the parable to respond to the question of the lawyer: “Who is my neighbor?”
The Good Samaritan Parable is about a man who was traveling alone. He is mugged and left for dead. Two religious officials pass by without helping at all. Finally, a foreign man, a Samaritan, comes by and helps the victim. He bandages the wounds, and then transports the man to town. He there provides for his care at an inn and offers to pay for any additional care needed when he returns.
Jesus stops the story at that point, then asks the lawyer a question: “Which of the three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” The lawyer responds by saying, “The one who showed mercy.”
Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”
In understanding who our neighbor is, it is more about each person being a good neighbor to those others we encounter in life. It is very much not about finding out the limit of the list of who might be our neighbor.
A Prayer of Martin Luther
Behold, Lord, an empty vessel that needs to be filled. My Lord, fill it. I am weak in the faith; strengthen me. I am cold in love; warm me and make me fervent, that my love may go out to my neighbor. I do not have a strong and firm faith; at times I doubt and am unable to trust you altogether. O Lord, help me. Strengthen my faith and trust in you. In you I have sealed the treasure of all I have. I am poor; you are rich and came to be merciful to the poor. I am a sinner; you are upright. With me, there is an abundance of sin; in you is the fullness of righteousness. Therefore I will remain with you, of whom I can receive, but to whom I may not give. Amen