So a priest, a Levite and a Samaritan are walking down the Jericho road…but there’s no rim-shot that follows this line up. In a lesson about eternal life, loving God and loving one’s neighbor, Jesus tells a story that is still reverberating up to this day, and Jesus’ main point is that loving our neighbor is no joke!
Loving our neighbor forces us to cross ethnic and racial lines. Loving our neighbor forces us to cross economic and social status lines. Loving our neighbor forces us to cross unconventional and personally uncomfortable lines.
Hands get dirty when love enters the picture. Resources get used when love enters the picture. Lives change when love enters the picture. And this is only for those who are willing to show it. Even the self-justification seeking, or maybe we could say excuse giving, lawyer of Moses’ Law had to admit this!
So the next time we have the opportunity to laugh at the misfortune of those with whom we don’t “gee and haw” we may need to stop and reconsider who the joke may end up being on if we fail to have a heart that sees the seriousness of loving our neighbor.
“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (1 John 4:20)
“Then one of them, a lawyer, asked [Jesus] a question, testing Him, and saying, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”” (Matthew 22:35-36)
Imagine how depth that conversation could’ve gotten. On one side you have a lawyer (“expert”) of the Law and on the other side you have the author of it! But the man wasn’t given a complicated answer. In reality he was given an extremely simple answer. So what command was this lawyer told was the greatest off all? The answer was love.
“Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
Although their subject was wrong, the Beatles had the right answer with their song, “All You Need Is Love.” When all the religious complications are said and thoroughly mixed, tangled and tied, the simple answer to following God always has been and always will be loving him. God himself can be a complex subject, and there are times when spiritual topics can become complex as well, but the path that leads to God, although it may be difficult to follow at times, will always be lit with love proceeding from him, but to follow it we must be willing to walk on, in and according to it by the love that proceeds from us.
“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:5-7)