A young lawyer came to test Jesus with the question, "What do I have to do to inherit eternal life?"
"What does the law say?" asked Jesus.
The young lawyer said, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself."
Jesus said, "You are right. Do this and you will live."
The lawyer was not satisfied and asked, "Who is my neighbor?"
Jesus replied with this story: "A man was traveling [on a mountainous road] from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him and beat him up and left him for dead. A priest saw what had happened and passed by on the opposite side of the road. A Levite did the same thing. He passed by on the other side of the road too. A Samaritan [an outcast because he was not a Jew] saw the wounded man and had compassion on him. He took time to wash him, pour oil and wine on him and bandage his wounds. Then he put him on his own donkey and took him to an inn [a hotel] and cared for him. The next day he gave the innkeeper money for the sick man and said, 'Take care of him. When I come back I'll give you back any extra money you had to spend.'
"Which of these men proved he was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" asked Jesus.
"The one who showed him mercy," the lawyer said.
"Go and do the same," Jesus said.
Think About It
Jesus paid for our way into eternal life, so why did he tell this story? Because something happens when we believe that Jesus died on the cross for our forgiveness and everlasting life. Our response is to love Him AND others. The more we love Jesus, the more we become like Him. The more we become like Him, the more compassionate we will be--like the Samaritan in the story.
Pray About It
Father God, thank You for sending Your only Son. Thank you for Your great plan for forgiveness and spending eternity with You. Help us to be more like Jesus. Help us to love people as You do. Amen.
Some people, even today, think they do not have to pay taxes. Often the very poor do not make enough income to pay a portion of it in taxes. One day Pharisees and Herodians came to Jesus to ask Him if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not. Jesus was and is all God and all man. That is a hard thing to understand; something we have to accept as truth by faith. Because Jesus was all God, He knew these men wanted to trap Him, and He said, "Why are you testing Me? Bring Me a denarius to look at." So they brought Him one. "Whose image and inscription is this?" He asked.
"Caesar's," they said.
Then Jesus said, "Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mark 12:13-17).
Think About It
The Herodians and Pharisees usually had nothing to do with each other. But both groups felt threatened by Jesus--the Pharisees because He exposed their hypocrisy and the Herodians because they had already lost political power and were afraid of Jesus' authority. The Jews hated to pay taxes. Don't we all? Yet, that is what we must do. Jesus wisely used a Roman coin as an object lesson and amazed the people who tried to trap Him.
Pray About It
Lord God, help us to be responsible citizens and followers of Your way. Help us to honor you with our money. Amen.