Scripture: Luke 10:25–37
Key verse: 27He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
Reflection: The lawyer responds correctly to the question Jesus posed, “What does scripture teach about entering eternal life with God?” But it wasn’t right. Correct, but not right. That happens a lot to people in the Bible. The oldest brother in the prodigal parable is legitimately upset but he is so right he is wrong, choosing pride over celebration. The lawyer today knows what is needed in order to love God and claim life. However, he is almost so heavenly minded that he is no earthly good. He can profess love for God but can’t figure out who is neighbor is. There is a disconnect here. Good theology at its best ought to lead to good love, good neighbors, good life.
It’s a dusty old word but doctrine comes from the Latin word for teaching. But with usage the word doctor also refers to one who heals. Doctrine, at its best and truest, teaches and heals — in other words, it gives life. If knowing the Bible doesn’t help us live our lives or know who our neighbors are and how to treat them, then we cannot really say we know the Bible.
Jesus goes on to tell the story of the Good Samaritan in the rest of our passage today. It’s a midrash on what it means to love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul. It’s a story he seems to know by heart and no doubt is hoping we will too.
Tell me the story of Jesus,
write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
— Frances J. Crosby
Author: Derek Macleod
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].