James R. Edwards: Ramifications

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“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:36-37

“The lawyer does not expect the conclusion to which the parable leads him; the fact that he cannot bring himself to say “the Samaritan” in answer to Jesus’ question may betray his difficulty in accepting the full ramifications of the parable. But if he won’t acknowledge the neighbor, he at least acknowledges neighborliness, “to show mercy.” Anyone who goes and does likewise fulfills the heart of the parable.”

James R. Edwards in The Gospel according to Luke (PNTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015) 324.

The morning after preaching on this text, my prayer is that listeners grasped the “ramifications” of the parable.

Loving God and loving our neighbor starts with the realization that we are the least likely dispensers of grace and kindness, and even as we have been blessed in that relationship with God, we get to show mercy to the least deserving people. Ponder that, then go and do like the Samaritan. Exhibit neighborliness whether you are a priest, a Levite, or a Samaritan, and rally others to join you like he engaged the innkeeper.

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