Read: Luke 10:25-37
This is probably one of the most well-known stories in the Bible, both in and out of church walls. A guy gets beat up, snobs walk by, then an undecorated hero steps in and helps the guy without any fanfare or hope for something in return. End of story, with one exception:
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:37
Let’s rewind the story and look at the beginning. The “expert in the law” was not confused about helping someone in need, he was asking about something much more significant:
he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 10:25
Jesus takes advantage of this lawyer by showing him he already knew the answer but is unwilling to do something with that knowledge. The lawyer wanted to quibble over the term “neighbor” to justify his narrow focus on who he is obligated to serve.
How many terms do we want to define for our perfectly happy little world? Maybe it’s just me. Dave’s dictionary has lots of definitions that allow me to sleep at night. Would you like to see the list? Ha! That’s not going to happen. Thanks for asking.
Jesus constantly points to a simple four-letter word that we struggle to understand: love.
I can’t get away from the word love. It keeps popping up in every context. I read The Forgotten Way, and Dekker talks about love. I teach a class on Spiritual Gifts and serving in the church, and end with 1 Corinthians 13. Jesus is cornered by an expert who knows he is simply supposed to love God and love others.
The theologian in us is quick to explain, “In the Greek, there are five different definitions of love: agape, eros, …” Now I bet you read that last sentence and said, no Dave, there are four, not five. I tricked you by showing you just how much of a learned scholar you are!
C.S. Lewis wrote, The Four Loves, to give us insight. I’m not going to argue with such an incredible mind. I’m only suggesting there is a fifth definition of love: love. Mix all four of the preceding definitions and learn to love one another. Now go and do likewise. Stop defining it, explaining it, debating it, and justifying it — go out and love God, love yourself, and love your neighbor. (Who said I wasn’t allowed to preach from time to time!)
What must I do to inherit eternal life? In Christ we can confidently answer, Done. We have received the Holy Spirit. Christ is in us. This mortal body we are privileged to possess is temporary, right?
Here’s a question to ponder, when does eternal life begin? Another trick question, I know. Grab your Greek dictionary or Google “eternal” and start enjoying eternity now.
God, please help me to stop justifying actions as I qualify people and circumstances. Help me just to recklessly love the way you did. Teach me how it makes sense to leave the ninety-nine behind and pursue the one who is lost. Rid me of my desire for self, my pride, my status, and help me to simply move in Your direction.