An expert in the law poses a question to Jesus: What must I do to inherit eternal life? The passage lets us know that his intentions are not sincere. This expert in the law is looking to test Jesus. He is looking to trip him up. While I do not trust this man’s intentions, I think his question evokes a response from Jesus that answers our serious questions.
Jesus responds to the question with a question. Classic Jesus. He responds: What does the law say? Or as we would say it today: What does the Bible say? The expert replies, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all our strength and with all your mind” and “love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus affirmed the expert’s answer. Yet, it appears head knowledge isn’t enough. Jesus added: “Do this and you will live.” The emphasis on “do.” Then comes the follow up question: Who is my neighbor? What follows is perhaps one of the most familiar passages in the entire Bible: The Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Yet, we must not breeze past “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.” The passage is famous for the question, “Who is my neighbor?” but perhaps we all should be asking, “Who is my God?” Our ethical behavior begins with our understanding of God.
Who is my God? is a more difficult question that you might imagine at first glance. Why? Because many of us are idol worshipers. We’ve placed a human or human made thing upon the throne upon which only God should sit.
We must remove these idols from our lives. We must name them and smash them into pieces. They are destructive. They take our affection from God to someone or something else. Before we can ask “Who is my neighbor?” we must ask “Who is my God?” It all starts with God.
The God of the Bible is …
Creator: He hard wired us and put breath in our lungs.
Sustainer: He provides for us, cares for us, surrounds us with all things we consider good.
Redeemer: He sent Jesus Christ to give his life for us when we were yet sinners.
We are to love that God!