Thursday, November 10

Grace purveyor

Scripture: Nehemiah 9-10, Luke 10

Luke 10:29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Observation

An expert in the Law of Moses asked Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life. Jesus turned the question back to him, and he answered with the Great Commandment: Love God with all you’ve got and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus agreed: “Do this and you’ll live.” 

But the man wasn’t satisfied. It was fine to love God. But loving people gets messy, especially those people—the people who are different than me, the people I don’t like or don’t understand. What about them? When he asked, “Who is my neighbor,” he was hoping that Jesus would confirm his narrow and exclusive definition of “neighbor” as another Jew—someone of the same race and religion. 

Jesus responded with a story (I love that Jesus often answered questions with a story)—the Good Samaritan. The point of the story is clear: we are to be a good neighbor to whomever we meet, including those people, those of a different race or religion. My neighbor is the person in front of me right now—whomever they might be. Love them!

Application

Jesus was radically inclusive. People were always trying to get him to be more exclusive and He consistently resisted. In a recent sermon, I said that grace is scandalous because it includes the undeserving, those we’d rather exclude. That’s Jesus. 

I admit freely that I find it easier to love some people more than others; that I can be judgmental and exclusive; that I identify with the priest and Levite in the story who walked on by without stopping. 

Lord, help me! I am the recipient of Jesus’ scandalous grace. I want to be the purveyor of it as well. 

Prayer: Lord, help me to be more inclusive—to live out of and share the scandalous grace I’ve received.