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June 23 | Luke 10:25-37


 

DAILY READING


 

REFLECTION

 

My Neighbor

by Elaine Pierce


I've never been to Jerusalem, so I found this description of the road from Jerusalem to Jericho helpful as we look at this familiar parable.


I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on that road, I said to my wife, "I can see why Jesus used this as the setting for his parable." It's a winding, meandering road. It's really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about 1,200 miles—or rather 1,200 feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho, fifteen or twenty minutes later, you're about 2,200 feet below sea level. That's a dangerous road.

— Martin Luther King Jr., "I've Been to the Mountaintop." (April 3, 1968)


Yes, this was a dangerous road - plenty of opportunities for robbers to ambush innocent travelers. Jesus' audience would be very familiar with this road, and they would have been shocked that a hated Samaritan was the one who stopped and helped the injured man. A Samaritan! Their dreaded enemy! The "expert in the law" who asked Jesus "who is my neighbor?" was certainly not expecting a story like this. Jesus surprises his listeners and doesn't fall into the trap the lawyer tries to set for him. He turns the tables, and his questioner is forced to admit that "the one who had mercy on him" was his neighbor.


So who is my neighbor? Who is your neighbor? Ask God to give you eyes to see those whose paths you cross this week who need grace, mercy, and love. Jesus told the man to "go and do likewise." A simple command, but often easy to miss in the busyness of our scheduled lives. Ask God to give you a "Good Samaritan" moment. And thank him for the opportunity to have mercy. What a good God we serve!

 

PRAYER

Lord, I want to be a good neighbor, but so often I get caught up in serving myself above others. Help me this week to serve my neighbors, near and far, and to show mercy to those in need. Amen.



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