Lent: Preparation for Lent – Saturday

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read?” 

And he 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.” 

And he said to him, “You have answered right; do this, and you will live.”

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 

He said, “The one who showed mercy on him.”

And Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”


To Seek and to Save

“The self-defence lawyer”

The next encounter that Jesus had, having set His face to go to Jerusalem, was with a lawyer, an expert in the traditions of the Jewish fathers. And this man, when He heard Jesus speak, was determined to trap Him, perhaps even to put Him in His place: after all, Jesus wasn’t a professional scribe or lawyer like him. And so he stands up and poses a question for Jesus: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” It seems like a great question. And perhaps it would have been if the man hadn’t thought that he already knew the right answer.

Jesus took the opportunity to expose what was really in the man’s heart. He began by asking the lawyer what the law taught and the man answered, correctly, that the law teaches us to love God and love our neighbour. So, Jesus told the man to go and do just that. This answer didn’t really get the lawyer very far in trying to trip Jesus up. So he doubled down and asked Jesus to tell him who his neighbours were.

In answer, Jesus told this man what is probably the most famous story in the Bible – the parable of the Good Samaritan. The punchline of this story comes at the end, with Jesus’ final question: “Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbour to the man who fell among robbers?” Jesus turned the man’s question on its head. We’re not supposed to be asking who our neighbours are, and trying to limit the number or kind of people we might have to help. Quite the opposite, in fact. We’re supposed to be prepared to help anyone who is in need. We are to be the neighbour. It doesn’t matter who is in need, whatever their race or religion might be. It doesn’t matter how inconvenient their need might be. We are to be their neighbour. And love them.

And so the lawyer was silenced.


As we read this parable, Dr Ferguson asks us how we will respond if we are tested today, if we meet someone who is in need? Will we be ready?

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