Friday, April 13, 2012

Context

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Second Daughter read yesterday’s post and commented on the reference made to:

… Go, and do thou likewise. (Luke 10:37b KJV)

“Not really in context,” she said, and in a sense – she was right. The patient was not unknown to my Oklahoma Sister-in-Law, as the wounded man was unknown to the Samaritan. Others had not passed the patient and ignored needs.

Let’s look at some of the dialogue between a lawyer, caught in his own tempting question, and Jesus in Chapter 10:25-37, in context.

But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? (Luke 10:29 KJV)

… there are many lessons to take away after reading these verses, including our neighbors are wherever we find needs.  There are other lessons, too.

One that came to my mind is the phrase “willing to justify himself.” That takes us back even earlier in the chapter:

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? (Luke 10:25 KJV)

This lawyer offers lessons on so many levels.  First, his question was meant to tempt, to provoke Jesus.  It was designed to elicit conflict and unpopular responses. Jesus knew this, and He knew the man had the correct answer:

He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? (Luke 10:26 KJV)

Jesus attributes to the man an education, a knowledge of the law, the ability to expound on its meaning, and the lawyer confirms his knowledge:

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. (Luke 10:27 KJV)

This is repeated often – sort of makes you think God wants it to be important to us.  The lawyer thought so and Jesus agreed:

And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. (Luke 10:28 KJV)

That’s when the lawyer gets defensive, wanting to show that his question was a good one, and acceptable, so we’re back to verse 29.

I’m not going to reiterate the parable of the Good Samaritan from verses 30-35, but here’s Christ’s question at the end:

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? (Luke 10:36 KJV)

Yesterday’s patient did not fall among thieves.  Instead, dire physical illness was taking a toll.  OKsil wasn’t alone, either, in providing comfort, since the entire class joined in supportive prayer – and has been providing such prayer since diagnosis.  I do, however, believe they provided mercy, too.  Thus the inclusion of:

And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. (Luke 10:37 KJV)

We should read each and every verse in context.  It helps to have a good Bible dictionary and a good commentary nearby, too.  Study the chapter, the events in a number of translations.  See if there are differences – or if the lessons given are valid. Trust, but try and prove.

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