Knee Jerk Devotional: October 22, 2020

Luke 10:18-27

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash


On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

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.’”

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

He wanted to justify himself.

That sentence is the story of most of our lives, isn’t it? We want to justify ourselves. We want to set aside something that we expect from others and say, “Yah but…”

Isn’t that what’s happening in this story? Jesus gives this dude kudos for getting it. But then the guy wants to justify himself with a “Yah but…”

If my Grandaddy was there he’d say, “Yah but doesn’t live here.”

We all expect others to live up to our expectations even though we don’t live up to them ourselves.

We see this clearly in our public “discussion.” Those people in the other party can’t say mean things about our side, but we are free to say mean things about their side. Why? Because they deserve it.

When you challenge someone on that they say, “You’re right…but…” Almost without fail.

Are you a follower of Jesus? If so there is no place for the “Yah but…”

In the story that Jesus told, he picks the person that the teacher of the law would most likely despise. When Jesus made the Samaritan the hero of the story, the folks standing there would have all become instantly uncomfortable. There was such animosity between the Jews and Samaritans that they avoided one another at all costs.

Something deep within us wants to avoid having to love one another. There is something that feels good about hating someone. Hatred, in a sick way, begins to give us an identity. We find an identity with others who hate the same people we do.

Are you a follower of Jesus? If so there is no place for the “Yah but…”

Can we disagree with one another? Absolutely!
Can we argue with one another? Absolutely!
Can we think that someone is wrong? Absolutely!

Jesus was able to do all those things and all the while love well.

The question we have to wrestle with is, “In what way do I justify myself?”

Whenever we find ourselves justifying ourselves we are in danger of being in position to move away from love.