3/9 Luke 10:36-37

36 "Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" 37 He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise."

An expert in the Mosaicl laws tested Jesus by asking Him what one must do to have eternal life. Jesus put it back on the man by asking him what he thought was necessary. The man said it was to love God and your neighbor. Jesus agreed and told him to go and do it. The man knew loving one's neighbor might be more difficult than it sounded, so he asked for a definition of "neighbor." That might narrow it down to make the command a bit easier to practice.

Jesus told a story about a man who was beaten and robbed. Two different religious people walked by, one after the other, and both ignored the man. Then a Samaritan came along. Samaritans were despised by Jews. But this Samaritan had compassion on the man, dressed his wounds, put him on his donkey, took him to an inn, and promised to return and take care of any expenses. Jesus asked which of the men that passed by was a neighbor to the man that was robbed. You'll notice in our verse for today the Scripture expert couldn't even bring himself to say "Samaritan." He just said, "The one who showed him mercy." Jesus didn't tighten up the definition of "neighbor." He expanded it!

How can we have this kind of mercy for our fellow man? It is only possible when the love of God has filled our hearts. If we truly love God first, we will love those made in His image, those He came to redeem. The Samaritan was willing to pay any cost to care for the needs of a man whose race despised his race. Jesus was not only hinting at the unbiased nature of the kingdom of God, but also of the potential of religion to substitute for genuine conversion.

Consider: What am I willing to expend when I see someone in need? Do I have religion or have I experienced genuine conversion?