10th MARCH

Catching a glimpse through eyes of compassion

Luke 10: 25 - 37

“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

This wasn’t the first time that Jesus was asked such a question about inheriting eternal life.  Earlier in this study we were reminded of Jesus challenging a rich man who came to him and the answer was to give up something that was dear to him and that was his wealth.  Here we have an expert in the law who comes asking Jesus about eternal life and how it can be inherited.  It might seem at first glance that Jesus was not asking this man to give up anything, but in actual fact he was.  It wasn’t as tangible or as obvious as the rich man we considered earlier in this study, but it was just real and as challenging.

Jesus turned the question round by asking him a question which he quickly answered and answered correctly.  It is alright in theory to say that we will love God and we will love our neighbours, but the harsh reality of life and the situations that we find ourselves in is quite different.

As the story unfolds we see a picture of a man in difficulty.  Two people who walk past and do nothing,  They fail to put into practice the second part of the golden rule which is to love our neighbour.  We see a character much like the expert of the Law and that was the Levite.  The part that he played in the story was of the one who, sticking to the letter of the law, walked by on the other side.  It was very probable that his frightened that the man might be dead.  If this was the case and he touched the man he himself would be ritually unclean.  This particular letter of the law which was not at the heart of the law or even in the spirit of it caused him to avoid the man at all costs.

For this expert to truly fulfil the law then he would have to let go of the minutiae because the law of love, love towards God and towards our neighbours whoever they are, is the overriding one.

Jesus got the man, and gets us, to look at life not through legal lenses, but ones of compassion.  He encourages us to interpret the law, the rules, the regulations in light of what we see and experience in life.  Which lens do we use when we see people in need?

  • Looking at this story as if you were hearing it for the first time, which character do you  recognise as being you?  What would it meaning your life to follow the spirit of the law and show compassion?

 

Lord, as you have come to us and made yourself one with us,

may we learn from your example and that of your son.

With hearts filled with compassion may we draw alongside others

to offer help, strength and support in trying and testing times.

AMEN.