There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Have you ever been in a situation where you felt helpless? Like you felt that no matter how hard you tried or how much you did, it would never be enough? The Gospels offer a sobering reminder that no matter how hard we try in this world, it will never be enough for us to be considered “perfect”. Jesus told the rich young ruler (who had already admitted to Jesus that he, the ruler, had followed all of Ten Commandments “perfectly”) to go and sell everything he had (giving the proceeds to the poor) and to follow Jesus. That’s right – even if we follow the Law of Moses “perfectly”, we still can’t do enough to “earn” our way into Heaven. The Good News is that Jesus doesn’t look for “perfection” from any one of us – He simply asks us to repent of our sins and to accept Him into our hearts while doing our best for the rest of our lives to be as “pure” (sinless) as possible. Perfection (Jesus) came and died for our sins once and for all, so that all of us could have access to Eternity with Him. Without Him, we would not be invited into the Eternal Supper of the Lamb – the Eternal Wedding Feast with the Saints in Heaven. This Wedding is invitation-only – we can’t “earn”, “buy”, or “cheat” our way into the Event. But the tickets are “free” and all that we have to do to be Gifted one of them is to surrender completely to Him. So, even when it seems impossible, let’s all do our best to surrender to Jesus in as many ways that we can each and every day. And, Hope-fully, like the Good Samaritan, we’ll be invited to the Wedding Feast, as well.