Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Following Jesus - the Good Samaritan

The parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10 is powerful and deeply meaningful on it's own. Bracketed by the Scripture before and after it, it staggers the imagination. Chapter 10 begins with Jesus sending 72 disciples out ahead of Him, to prepare the people for His coming to them. He gives His disciples instructions on what to bring, how to react to those who would not want to see them as well as to those who welcome them. There is some really rich stuff in these verses. The disciples come back on a ministerial high. They had discovered that serving in the name of Jesus Christ gave them a supernatural power that they never, in their simple, quiet lives, imagined could be theirs. They were able to heal, to cast out demons, to speak w/authority and strength. I can just see Jesus, laughing with them, enjoying their excitement. He warns them gently, though, not to rejoice in the fact that demons listened to them, but to rejoice in that they belong to Him, and that their names are written in Heaven.

Then He rejoices in them, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children." He turns to His disciples, and encourages them, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."

Little children. Uneducated, unaccomplished, simple. Do you think they ever had conflict in their lives? Of course they did. Later on, when they heard Jesus talking about loving their neighbors as themselves, is it possible that they wanted to frown and question, "What, even this guy? The one I can't stand? The one who lied to me/robbed me/hurt me? Really?" Of course it is. They were real people with real lives, real families, real neighbors, real troubles.

Yet when Jesus sent them out on the road trip of their lives, they went. And when they returned, they returned amazed. Full of joy. Full of stories about what happened, what they were able to do, who they were able to be. I can imagine them running to Him as they came into town, in pairs, chattering between themselves and once they approached Him, pulling Him into the chatter. I can see Him listening, asking questions, laughing as they trip over their tongues and each other in their eagerness to tell Him what they had experienced. Maybe He even touches them gently, on the arm, a hand on a shoulder, as He reminds them where their true joy comes from. "Remember," He smiles into their faces, "Your true joy comes in your citizenship in Heaven."

There's something about the entire scenario that calls out, relationship. Discipleship. Friendship. Love.

There is something about the entire scenario that stands in stark contrast to Jesus' upcoming interaction with the expert in the Law.

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