(Please see Luke 10:25-37)
“And who is my neighbor?” the lawyer asked Jesus.
The lawyer had already understood that to inherit eternal life, he needed to love the Lord with all of himself and to love his neighbor as himself. But the lawyer wanted to “justify himself.”
So Jesus answered with a now-familiar story. A man travelling on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was assaulted, robbed and left for dead. A priest walked by, saw the man and deliberately avoided helping him. A Levite did the same thing. It was a Samaritan who had compassion and halted his journey, tended to the man’s wounds, took him to an inn and paid for his recovery care.
Most Jews and Samaritans during that time despised each other, partly because of religious differences. In all likelihood, the lawyer and the others listening to Jesus looked down on Samaritans as descendants of Jews who had intermarried with Gentiles, adopted a variety of false religious practices and strayed from Jewish culture.
Jesus then asked, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”
The lawyer identifies the man by his action: “The one who showed him mercy.”
Eternal Teacher, thank You for Your gift of eternal life. Thank You that we are justified by Your blood. Thank You for Your mercy and compassion upon us when we were still Your enemies. Thank You for binding up our wounds and broken hearts, for bringing us under Your shelter and for providing for all our needs.
Lord Jesus, as people are now on the move from everywhere to everywhere, more and more encounters between people of different ethnicities, nationalities and religious backgrounds are happening. Remove any disdain or bitterness we carry in our hearts to those who are different from us. Let Your people be known as the ones who prove to be neighbors – who show mercy, who love as You do.
Ask God how else to pray.