One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” — Luke 10:25
It’s likely the religious expert is the bad guy here. Or is he?
It’s a well-documented fact that religious experts such as the Pharisees and the Sadducees try to trap Jesus. They intend to use Jesus’ words against him.
But we don’t know if this expert identifies as a Pharisee or a Sadducee. Maybe he is. Maybe he isn’t.
The focus in this text is not on the interaction between Jesus and the religious expert. This interaction is secondary to the story of the Good Samaritan, which is what Jesus shares in response to the question of inheriting eternal life.
We are not sure how the religious expert responds to the story of the Good Samaritan. Perhaps he remains unchanged. His goal of tripping up Jesus may continue.
But maybe the expert holds an earnest, heartfelt question. Maybe in the way Jesus answers, something changes in him. This wouldn’t be the first time a one-on-one interaction with Jesus completely enlightens someone. It is possible this expert actually receives revelation and faithfully follows rather than frantically tests Jesus further.
Deuteronomy 6:16 says we are not to put the Lord, our God, to the test. But in the sermon this Sunday, I suggest we question—or test—Jesus when we’ve been jarred, jostled, or jumbled through painful times.
Jesus changes lives. Jesus saves lives. Maybe this tester has been jarred, jostled or jumbled. Maybe he is open to hearing how Jesus answers that we can have eternal life through love.
PRAYER: Lord, when we are raw, overwhelmed, hurt, or angry, we may test, or even demand, an answer from You. No matter how our question is asked, prove again who You are, and that’s this amazing, life-changing gift who hears and holds our messes and still lets us have what we want and need, which is love in the now and eternal life with You some day. Amen.