What I read: Luke 10
Observations: Jesus’ approach to sending people out (the 12 in the last chapter, the 72 in this one) has always seemed a little strange to me at times. He sends them out, tells them to go out without having money, or extra clothes, or anything like that. Then he tells them if people don’t receive them they should wipe the dust off their feet and take off. I guess it seems odd, because it’s like he’s not willing to give them a second chance – as if they only get one shot at receiving the message. And then if they don’t receive it, he essentially says that they will be worse off than Sodom on the day of judgment, because they’ve rejected Jesus and his message in the process. It’s one of those areas where I’m often tempted to try to soften Jesus’ rough edges, but when you read the gospels, you can’t really do that. Or if you do, you’re left with less of Jesus than what he actually was.
Application: The most convicting section of this passage for me is always Jesus’ parable of the Samaritan man who shows mercy to his neighbor. There’s not really much to say about this, quite honestly. It’s easy to try to find ways around this one, but it basically comes down to whether or not I’m willing to go out of my way to love my neighbor as myself. The Samaritan, at his own expense, cares for his neighbor and reveals a deeper level of compassion than the two religious characters in Jesus’ story. When I look at the way people who don’t follow Jesus sometimes care for their neighbors, it reminds me of this story, and reminds me that I have no excuse for not caring for my neighbor, whether he is like me or not.
Prayer: Jesus, I want to be a better neighbor to those around me. I don’t want to make excuses for my unwillingness to extend myself on behalf of someone else in need. I pray that you would allow true compassion and love to flow through me. I don’t want to be the kind of person who keeps it to myself, but who genuinely gives out of what you have given to me. Instead of having my neighbors and their needs invisible to me, would you allow me to see what you see and move where you want me to move. Let my life be spent for those you call me to love and serve.