“Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Come to Jesus in Humility
I heard a pastor once say, “Let me tell you the bad news. You are worse than you thought. But now let me tell you the good news. You are more loved than you could possibly imagine.” I don’t like to hear bad news. I would like to think I’m a spiritual all-star. But until I believe that bad news, I will never learn to truly appreciate the good news of Jesus.
That’s why Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan. Many of us have probably heard of this story. It’s about a man who helped someone who was robbed and beaten. But I bet most of us don’t remember why Jesus told this story in the first place.
It all started when a religious expert came up to Jesus. This expert wanted to test Jesus. He didn’t come to Jesus with pure motives. He wanted to embarrass Jesus and prove his superiority.
The man asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25) If the man really wanted the answer to that question, Jesus would have given it. But he didn’t. The expert had ulterior motives.
So Jesus humbled him, getting him to recite what God demands before we enter into his holy presence. Namely, we are to love God perfectly and love our neighbor as ourselves.
Then Jesus responded, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28).
Jesus was saying, “Sure, go for it. If you can pull this off, you will have eternal life. Love the Lord your God with everything you have all the time, and love everybody around you.”
Instead of Jesus being put to the test, Jesus put the man’s conscience to the test. Jesus was challenging him to see how far short of God’s standard he had fallen.
We need to hear the same message. We need to be aware of our shortcomings and sins. Then we will come to Jesus in humility and receive his message of love and grace.
Lord God, forgive me for my arrogance. Show me your love in Jesus Christ. Amen.