One day an expert on Moses' laws came to test Jesus' orthodoxy by asking him this question: "Teacher, what does a man need to do to live forever in heaven?"
Jesus replied, "What does Moses' law say about it?"
"It says," he replied, "that you must 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 you must love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself."
"Right!" Jesus told him. "Do this and you shall live!"
The man wanted to justify (his lack of love for some kinds of people), so he asked, "Which neighbors?"
Jesus replied with an illustration: "A Jew going on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes and money and beat him up and left him lying half dead beside the road!
"By chance a Jewish priest came along; and when he saw the man lying there; he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Jewish Temple-assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but then went on.
"But a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw him, he felt deep pity. Kneeling beside him the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them Then he put the man on his donkey and walked along beside him till they came to an inn, where he nursed him through the night. The next day he handed the innkeeper two twenty-dollar bills and told him to take care of the man. 'If his bill runs higher than that,' he said, 'I'll pay the difference the next time I am here.'
"Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the bandits' victim?"
The man replied, "The one who showed him some pity."
Then Jesus said, "Yes, now go and do the same." Luke 10: 25-37 (TLB)
Victoria Walsh lives in Montana. It has often intrigued her that Jesus commended a social outcast in his parable about the good Samaritan. But until recently, Victoria hadn't paid attention to the fact that of the ten lepers Jesus healed, the only one to return and thank Jesus for healing him was also a Samaritan (see Luke 17: 11-19). And the woman at the well to whom Jesus revealed himself as the Messiah was a Samaritan too, (See John 4: 3-42).
At one time Victoria acutely felt on the outside of society, labeled and misunderstood. She saw no way to become more connected to other people. But Jesus Christ reached out and healed her. His living water quenched her thirst of body, mind, and soul. and he brought people into her life to whom she could be of service, which restored her dignity and allowed her to feel needed. Jesus always sees our true worth and lifts us up to that level.
Jesus not only accepts those the world ignores; he often gives them special recognition and attention. No matter our status or circumstance, none of us is forgotten by Jesus. This means YOU!
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for helping us when we feel forgotten by others. Help us to see our true worth, in Jesus' name, amen.