or read "Care Like God"
He answered, "'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, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"Once again we see Jesus pointing in this parable to living out the commandments of God rather than just learning about them and pointing them out to others.
In this encounter with an expert in the Law of Moses Jesus tries to shift his focus off the law as an end in itself and onto living it. The expert knew the law and understood it, he even correctly focused in on the heart of God's law to his people. The right answer came from his lips. But when face to face with this challenging command he wanted to squeeze it down into something he could practice. He wanted to narrow the definition of neighbor to those he could love as much as himself. So he asks Jesus "Who is my neighbor?" He knew he could not live it if the definition was beyond those he naturally liked. It is important to point out that many Jews during this time looked at Samaritans as second class people. Certainly not people they liked and wanted as neighbors. In this story Jesus expanded the definition to those the expert didn't want to include. He turned everything around and showed a Samaritan living out the command instead of the respected Hebrew priests and Levities who knew the commands.
To put the writer Brenda Quinn's words about this parable into a question I am asking myself today, am I "too busy working for God to care like God?"
Do I love my neighbor? Who is my neighbor? How narrow is my definition? Do I care about those who I least want to? Am I merciful? Do I live mercy? Do I care like God?
I am not sure that caring for those I least want to is even possible ... without knowing the love of God.
Here are some thoughts on this passage by Bruce Wersen in Burlington, Washington.
"Go and do likewise."