Text: Luke 10:25-37
To not be afraid
To remember that all good things come from God
To be the neighbor in moments of need
IN LOOKING AT THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, Martin Luther said that numbers five through ten were the “get out your house and go among your neighbors” commandments. These commandments turn our attention outward, giving us opportunities to improve the situation of those we encounter, whether we are talking about their bodies, their belongings or their reputation.
The heart of these commandments is found in the earlier commandments regarding God: when we are right before God, there is nothing to fear from our neighbors. God provides all that we need. God cares for us in every circumstance. What can our neighbors possibly do to us or take from us? Nothing that they can do deflects or defeats God’s good purposes for us. In his explanations of the commandments, Luther “unpacks” the situation Jesus describes in the parable of the Good Samaritan. The priest and the Levite avoid the man on the road because there is an implied threat or danger present, and because of that, they miss the chance to be the neighbor. This is the point on which Jesus catches the lawyer—these first two, upright though they are, are afraid and so are not neighbors. They walk away.
Luther insists there is no need to fear whatever danger we think the neighbor represents. Because we have nothing to fear, Luther can “turn the commandments around” from the way we normally read them. In each case, numbers 5 through 10 begin with the same solution: we are in Christ and so when we seek to advance or enhance a neighbor’s personal life, married life, or financial life Christ is found there. There is an abundant blessing for all!
A businessman named Walter Tschoepe once wrote “We tend to dwell on the dark side of life, and on the failings of others; because of this we become discouraged and unhappy and hold our hands tight. It is only when we open our hands, expectant for the blessing that God will give through others, that we find ourselves walking in the light of God.”
This is the way of the Good Samaritan.
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks