Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “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.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37, NRSV)
When I read this text this time, because it is the story of the Good Samaritan, like there could not be a good Samaritan…
The lawyer stands to test Jesus, so he already had it in his heart that no matter what the answer was good/bad, right/wrong, there would be a retort. The lawyer was not letting Jesus off the hook easy here. So after the lawyer answered what the law says, and Jesus commended him and told him to go and do just that, the laywer then, “wanting to justify himself.” As if doing what Jesus said is not good enough, now we have to put a few provisos, a few quid pro quos into place.
And don’t we all do that? Limit where Jesus love, grace and mercy can reach?
We want to know who we can forget about and who we actually have to help.
Well here is the answer: there is no limit to God’s love, mercy and grace, otherwise you would not be included.
So you have to love everyone.
You have to offer grace to everyone.
You have to offer mercy to everyone.
There are no provisos on God’s love!