Jesus teaches us the most important commandment; in this exchange in Luke 10: 25-28.
“One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”
The teaching continues in verse 29 as “The religious law expert wanted to justify his actions. So he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
Jesus responds with one of his most beloved parables, the story of the Good Samaritan Luke 10: 30-37
In the parable Jesus spoke of a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. Robbers attacked him, took his possessions and clothes, beat him, and left him half dead.
A priest came down the road; saw the injured man, and passed by him on the other side. A Levite passing by did the same.
A Samaritan, from a race hated by the Jews, saw the hurt man and had compassion on him. He poured oil and wine on his wounds. He bound them up; then, put the man on his donkey. The Samaritan took him to an inn and cared for him.
The next morning, the Samaritan gave two denarii to the innkeeper for the man’s care and promised to repay him on his way back for any other expenses.
Jesus then asked the expert in religious law which of the three men had been a neighbor. The expert answered that the man who showed mercy was a neighbor.
Then, Jesus told him, “Now go out and do the same”.
In this parable Jesus is telling us that showing mercy to each other is the key to obeying the commandment of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.
What is Mercy?
Mercy is defined as “a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion; withholding of the punishment or judgment our sins deserve.”
Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:29 “No one hates his own body but lovingly cares for it”. Living Bible (TLB). And in our loving care for ourselves we show ourselves mercy. We withhold for ourselves the punishment and judgment that our sins deserve. In other words in showing mercy we are simply cutting ourselves a “break.”
Therefore, as we extend mercy to ourselves we must heed the commandment of Jesus and “go out and do the same” by extending mercy to others.
Extending Mercy Is Difficult
Without question extending mercy to others can be difficult; especially to those who have done us wrong or to people we have deemed does not deserve it. However, we are commanded by God to “go out and do the same” by extending mercy to others.
- Our sins are great.
- God abundantly forgives.
- The offenses committed against us by our brethren are comparatively small.
- We should abundantly forgive as our Master does.
- If we do not, God will be justly angry with us and punish us.
Living a Life of Mercy
Jesus calls us to live a life of extending mercy. Not for punitive reasons; but, to build a kingdom where love for ourselves, our neighbor and God is the way of life. When we “Love your neighbor as yourself” as God has commanded; Jesus promises, that we will live!
©Copyright 2015 Marben Bland
Marben Bland is a born again Christian studying to become an ordained minister. The intent of these blogs is to spread the gospel in support of the Great Commission: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20