How Not to Inherit Eternal Life

If it is true that the kingdom of God shows up where we least expect it, and I believe that it is, then maybe we meet it first in the gap between our knowing what Jesus requires of us with regard to our fellow human beings and our willingness to do it. Maybe our own ethical uneasiness is an entry point for the kingdom of God in our lives.

Parables Scholar Luise Schottroff, in her interpretation of this parable, connects the lawyer’s question with the question asked by various groups of people responding to John the Baptist’s preaching in Luke 3:10,12,14) “What should we do?” “She believes that concrete, action-oriented question is the fundamental question answered by the study of Torah. That study is “is not aimed at timeless ethical doctrine but at the concrete situation of those who ask, What is the action God expects, here and now?” She believes that this parable belongs within “the rich Jewish tradition of active compassion as an expression of love for God. Love for God and doing justice go together.”[2]

Other parables that feature this same emphasis include the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, another parable unique to Luke (16:19-26) and the parable of the Judgment from the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew.

There are several things the parable of the Good Samaritan doesn’t tell us. It doesn’t tell us that the man in the ditch was a Jew. It doesn’t tell us why the priest and the Levite did not stop to help him. Some scholars have theorized that their ritual purity regulations prohibited them from contact with a corpse. Did they assume he was dead, or did they get close enough to see that he was still alive, but still decide not to help? We don’t know. The parable doesn’t tell us why the Samaritan was moved with pity. It does spend quite a bit of energy specifying the concrete actions he took to help the injured man.

The emphasis in this parable is not on helping us determine whom we are to view as our neighbor and to whom we are to show love. Its focus is on the kind of people we are to be, active neighbors, as we live on the lookout for those in need of help. The parable says, of all three observers of the man in the ditch, that they “saw him.” The first two engage in a twofold action. They “see him” and then, in response to that sighting, they “pass by on the other side” The response of the third person was threefold. He “saw him,” he was “moved with pity” and then he then took concrete action to express his compassion and assist the injured man. This parable is not a general lesson in loving humanity or loving one’s enemies. It is a specific scenario in which a teaching about active compassion, shared by the Hebrew Scriptures and the teachings of Jesus, becomes a deed.[3]

The sequence of seeing, having compassion, and acting is a common one in the gospels. In Luke’s gospel when Jesus “saw” the woman weeping at the death of her only son, he “had compassion for her” and brought her son to life (Luke 7:13). When the father “saw” the prodigal son “still afar off,… he had compassion on him..” and ran and embraced him (Luke 15:20). Matthew and Mark repeatedly tell us that Jesus himself, when he “saw” the crowds, had compassion on them and healed, fed, and taught them (Mt 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; Mk 6:34; 8:02). In the parable of the last judgment in Matthew 25:31-46, what makes some blessed is the fact that, though they didn’t realize it, in seeing the poor and helping them, they saw and helped Jesus. By contrast, what makes others cursed is that they never really did see Jesus suffering and in need because they never saw the poor.

A final thing the parable doesn’t tell us is whether the lawyer did as Jesus told him to, “Go and do likewise.” (10:27) As contemporary people characterized by the same combination of sincerity and shallowness as the first century lawyer, the outcome of the parable is now up to us.

[1] Luise Schottroff, The Parables of Jesus, Fortress Press,2006), 132-33.

[2] Schottroff, 133.

[3] Schottroff, 134.

Alyce McKenzie is Professor of Homiletics at Perkins School of Theology.  Visit her Expert Page at Patheos here.

"I would suggest something as simple as “non-depressed” or “non-sufferer”. A quiet convention of writing ..."

How The Bible Can Be Damaging ..."
"The article is not intended to be “at odds” with any book, faith, theology, or ..."

How The Bible Can Be Damaging ..."
">>>"I think I know what you're trying to say..."No you don't, since your reply is ..."

How The Bible Can Be Damaging ..."
""The damage comes from the reader and not the Bible itself." Huh? Hmmm 🤔 I ..."

How The Bible Can Be Damaging ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • a4417856

    I’ve said that least 4417856 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

  • know your pan

    Why didnt I think about this? I hear exactly what youre saying and Im so happy that I came across your blog. You really know what youre talking about, and you made me feel like I should learn more about this. Thanks for this; Im officially a huge fan of your blog

  • roofers lancaster

    very good post, i certainly love this website, keep on it

  • indianapolis mortgage rates

    It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

  • shaker furniture

    Thanks for the great info.

  • cloud computing hosting

    Thanks for the great info.

  • sheds

    I really like that. You touched my heart!

  • hotels near hershey park

    very nice post, i certainly love this website, keep on it

  • curacao honeymoon

    Your place is valueble for me. Thanks!…

  • best restaurants lancaster pa

    This really answered my problem, thank you!

  • enclosed utility trailers

    This was a great post, thanks for the info.

  • Cell Phone Accessories

    I saw this really great post today.

  • Etta Taranto

    I’ve learned newer and more effective things by means of your blog site. One other thing I would really like to say is the fact newer laptop operating systems are inclined to allow much more memory to be utilized, but they as well demand more ram simply to perform. If someone’s computer can’t handle additional memory and also the newest software requires that memory space increase, it can be the time to buy a new Computer system. Thanks

  • dboys airsoft

    Your site is too cool admin!

  • Stanton Storrs

    I can see that you’re a specialist at the field! I am launching an internet site soon, and your info will be very helpful for me personally.. Many thanks for all you help and wanting all of you the actual achievement inside your company.

  • Kayleen Harell

    I recently came across your article and have been reading along. I want to express my admiration of your writing skill and ability to make readers read from the beginning to the end. I would like to read newer posts and to share my thoughts with you.

  • moncler outlet

    amazing stuff thanx

  • supply chain strategy

    More people need to read this and understand this aspect of the story. I cant believe you’re not more popular.

  • flameless candle

    Witty! I’m bookmarking you site for future use.

  • speedy handbags

    Simply want to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity in your post is just nice and i can assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the enjoyable work.

  • data recovery miami

    Awesome job on this post.

  • Kenyatta

    My brother suggested I might like this website. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

  • canada goose expedition parka

    my God, i thought you were going to chip in with some decisive insght at the end there, not leave it with ‘we leave it to you to decide’.

  • Valentin Brendon

    Someone essentially help to make seriously posts I would state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and thus far? I amazed with the research you made to create this particular publish incredible. Magnificent job!

  • rent cabin

    Would you be interested in exchanging hyperlinks?

  • restless leg syndrone

    Thanks for writing this. I really feel as though I know so much more about this than I did before. Your blog really brought some things to light that I never would have thought about before reading it. You should continue this, Im sure most people would agree youve got a gift.

  • Tyree Montez

    Hey there would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with? I’m looking to start my own blog soon but I’m having a hard time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  • team building training

    More people need to read this and understand this aspect of the story. I cant believe you’re not more popular.

  • Lucy Liu

    Thanks for helping out, great information.

  •;u=36294 florida villas , orlando villas

    I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work.

  • burgas bulgaria

    I consider, that you commit an error. Write to me in PM.

  • Cell Phone Accessories

    I saw this really good post today.

  • auto repair lancaster

    You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. I cant believe youre not more popular because you definitely have the gift.

  • laptop repair fresno

    I really relate to that post. Thanks for the info.

  • attorneys for veterans

    There’s a bundle to find out about this. You made good points also.

  • Eli Vowels

    Great to be visiting your weblog again. Thanks for posting this informative post. Peace.

  • paving contractors lancaster

    This actually answered the problem, thank you!

  • new jersey telecom

    You should take part in a contest for one of the best blogs on the web. I will recommend this web site!

  • lawn care lancaster

    When I originally commented I clicked the -Notify me when new feedback are added- checkbox and now each time a remark is added I get 4 emails with the identical comment. Is there any method you may remove me from that service? Thanks!

  • computer repair jacksonville

    Once I initially commented I clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the identical comment. Is there any means you may remove me from that service? Thanks!

  • used cars york pa

    Thanks for spending the time to debate this, I really feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If attainable, as you grow to be an expert, would you mind updating your weblog with more details?

  • msp training courses

    Wow, I enjoyed your neat post.

  • video arcade machines

    There may be a bundle to know about this. You made good points also.

  • Unqiue Content

    My husband and i felt very glad that Emmanuel managed to finish off his investigation through the precious recommendations he made through the weblog. It is now and again perplexing to just choose to be handing out instructions that many some people could have been trying to sell. And now we fully grasp we’ve got the blog owner to give thanks to for this. All of the illustrations you made, the simple site menu, the friendships your site make it possible to promote – it is many extraordinary, and it’s really helping our son and our family understand this subject matter is amusing, which is incredibly vital. Many thanks for all!

  •,art,Inventor-Przyrzadzanie-plikow-szablonow.html siemens simatic

    Wonderful posting. I got checking out consistently this web site and that i am impressed! Very helpful info particularly the past portion We maintain such info quite a lot. I was ready for this selected information with regard to a long time. Thanks and also best of luck.

  • Traxxas Stampede

    Can we get back on topic please. Everything seems to have gotten off the subject. Some of these comments are unbelievable.

  • moncler sale

    Hello.This informative article was extremely motivating, especially since I wanted what it really this condition last Wednesday??.

  • pacoima air conditioning repair

    Great post, I conceive web site owners ought to larn a whole lot from this web site its really user friendly .

  • sherman oaks air conditioning repair

    Basically a smiling visitor here to share the really like (:, btw fantastic pattern .

  • speaker wire

    Hello there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I will definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am sure they will be benefited from this web site.

  • Traxxas Stampede

    Excellent post I must say.. Simple but yet interesting and engaging.. Keep up the awesome work!

  • eye surgery

    Helpful info discussed I am really pleased to read this particular post..many thanks with regard to providing all of us nice information.Great walk-through. I truly appreciate this article.

  • Red Yeast Rice

    come to look at it – LDL is nothing but undesirable fats that’s certainly not very good to the body.

  • Edgar Casher

    Random Google results can lead to excellent blogs such as this. You are performing a good job, and we share a lot of opinions.

  • болгария виза

    Excellent phrase and it is duly

  • Roy Desrosiers

    Where to find website traffic, especially completely free website traffic, is actually a million dollar question to every marketer and affiliate business owner. In fact, regardless how fantastic your services or products that you provide in your webpage are, they have no clients if no one arrives to your online site. That is why site traffic is very very important for your online business.

  • vertical filing cabinet

    Fed up with all the “pie in the sky”, forex Maverick finally reveals… 00:00. If you’ve got 15 minutes each day, you can plug into the Forex Cash Detective system

  • basketball drills

    fantastic points altogether, you simply received a logo new reader. What might you recommend about your publish that you simply made a few days in the past? Any sure?

  • Aaron Stefanich

    I wish to express my thanks to this writer just for rescuing me from this type of problem. Just after looking through the internet and obtaining basics which were not productive, I thought my entire life was over. Being alive minus the strategies to the difficulties you have fixed all through your write-up is a critical case, and those that might have adversely damaged my career if I had not noticed your blog post. Your personal talents and kindness in taking care of all the pieces was precious. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t encountered such a solution like this. It’s possible to at this point relish my future. Thanks so much for your specialized and amazing help. I won’t hesitate to refer your blog post to anyone who desires guidelines on this situation.

  • Cell Phone Accessories

    This is my Excerpt

  • pan card status

    I am glad that I have observed this blog. Ultimately anything not a crap, which we understand quite usually. The web site is lovingly maintained and up to date. So it really should be, thank you for this welcome transform.

  • Acne

    I found your weblog website on google and check a few of your early posts. Continue to maintain up the very good operate. I just additional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. In search of ahead to studying extra from you afterward!…

  • Wii Allegro

    Well I truly enjoyed studying it. This post provided by you is very helpful for good planning.

  • Otomoto Allegro Pl

    Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! However, how could we communicate?

  • Pam Cockreham

    I discovered your blog web site on google and verify just a few of your early posts. Continue to maintain up the superb operate. I simply additional up your RSS feed to my MSN News Reader. Seeking forward to studying more from you in a while!…

  • woodland hills plumber service

    hi this post support me full . .in the event you want watches men check out my sites is very help you for males watches. .thank man good job.

  • Okulary Allegro

    Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am bookmarking your feeds also

  • туры в чехию

    And it can be paraphrased?

  • Allegro Tuniki

    I enjoy you because of each of your effort on this blog. Betty takes pleasure in managing investigation and it’s really simple to grasp why. A number of us notice all concerning the dynamic form you convey effective tips through your web site and as well improve participation from people on that concept plus our own princess is studying a lot. Enjoy the remaining portion of the year. You have been performing a tremendous job.

  • Lauren Llorens

    I recently came across your article and have been reading along. I want to express my admiration of your writing skill and ability to make readers read from the beginning to the end. I would like to read newer posts and to share my thoughts with you.

  • Kindle Fire

    This was inspiring.

  • Emerson Helmly

    Awesome blog you might have here but I was wondering if you knew of any forums that cover exactly the same topics talked about here? I’d really like to be a part of group exactly where I can get suggestions from other experienced men and women that share exactly the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Bless you!

  • Keshia Covitz

    You really are a really persuasive article writer. I can easily see this inside your article. A person possess a way of writing persuasive details which initiates significantly interest.

  • Miguelina Doolin

    Exceptionally helpful tips you have there. glad I found it

  • http://astdsahdk Iva Hosley

    Hey, I have considered getting the program DubTurbo Beatmaker and was hoping someone could give me an actual bona fide critique of the computer software. Almost all the web pages that provide you with critiques at the moment are online marketers offering the software therefore i question that the experiences are valid. Thanks in advance for just about any information any individual can offer.

  • el cigaretter

    Thanks , I’ve recently been looking for information approximately this subject for ages and yours is the best I’ve found out till now. But, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you sure about the supply?