Rotten at the core
Luke 10: 29 “But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”
“But the man wanted to show that he knew what he was talking about. So he asked Jesus, “Who are my neighbours?” (CEV)
“And he, determined to acquit himself of reproach, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” (AMP)
“Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbour’?” (Message)
We all want to be seen to be more knowledgeable, more able, more loving, more giving than our human nature truly wants to be. (CEV)
We all don’t want people to be disappointed in us. We crave praise. (AMP)
If we can cut the corner we will, if we can get away with it, we will (Message)
This particular expert is wrong-footed by Jesus, he was expecting not such an accurate response. He was hoping for something like, “Eternal life? Then put your trust in my words.” But Jesus responded with the Shema. This makes the man look less of an expert because every Jew knew this answer.
So who is my neighbour? What a strange question! Isn’t the answer ‘everyone’? Isn’t it ‘people’?
But he knows he doesn’t love everyone. So he is trying to narrow Jesus down so that he can feel that he is right not to view everybody as his neighbour. That would be simply too many people to love. He wants to choose the nice people to love at least!
At the core of humanity is selfishness. We have to fight it all our lives with love and mercy to all, even those we think do not deserve it.
At the core of our culture is ‘to walk on by’ and ‘don’t talk to strangers’, compassion will cost. Keep moving. We have to surrender this daily.
We need the cross to run right through our core.