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					The Heart of Discipleship                                              Page 1

                 Good day, anyone need a good lawyer? Here take my business
                 card. I used to practice personal injury cases, when my critics
                 called me an ambulance chaser. Since then, I spend more time
                 studying religious law. I’ve heard many jokes about lawyers,
                 maybe you have a favorite like…How do you save a lawyer
                 who is drowning?           Take your foot off his head.

                 My mother knew I was going to be a lawyer when I was very
                 young. I like to argue and always had an explanation for
                 everything. I wanted to justify my position on every subject.
                 Most people don’t like to talk about politics, religion, and
                 money, but I figure those are the most important topics that
                 effect our daily life. If we don’t talk about these issues, then
                 there is not much reason to talk at all.

                 So let me tell you about a day, not too long ago when I
                 discussed religion with Jesus of Nazareth. I wanted to test
                 Jesus’ understanding of God’s law. So when he came to town,
                 I went to the rally and during the Q&A time, I asked him this
                 question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

                 I was expecting him to quote the law to me, but instead he
                 asked me to answer my own question with a quotation of the
                 law. As a good Jew, I’ve recited the Shema two times a day, all
                 of my life. It is written in Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus
                 19:18. Our door post mezuzah contained a tiny scroll with
                 these words,
The Heart of Discipleship                                             Page 2
      “Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. 5You shall
      love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul,
     and with all your might. 6Keep these words that I am commanding you
       today in your heart.” It was often combined with the Levitical law,
       “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your
     people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”

                  Jesus then told me to do this and I would live. Not wanting
                  Jesus to make me look like a fool, I asked for further
                  clarification of who is my neighbor. Jesus told the crowd a
                  parable about a Samaritan who cared for his neighbor when
                  other good Jews neglected a battered and bruised man on the
                  road between Jerusalem and Jericho. Jesus told me to go and
                  do like wise.

                  Jesus made me think about my neighborhood. I could clearly
                  see God’s children in faces and places obscured from my view
                  before. I began to see children playing that in need of love and
                  compassion. They were hungry, in need of breakfast and a
                  friendly smile interested in pleasant conversation. I saw racial
                  ethnic groups who dreamed of productive work and a
                  welcoming community. I saw homeless men, women, and
                  children out in the cold seeking a simple shelter and a warm
                  place to sleep.

                  I even realized that my neighbors from different faith traditions
                  also wanted to serve God with their whole heart. Together, we
The Heart of Discipleship                                             Page 3
                 could glorify God when we worked together. We were still
                 different but united in our purpose to serve our God and our
                 neighbor. When I said the Shema this morning, I understood
                 that love for God results in my love for my neighbors. My
                 devotion to Almighty God is realized in the faces of those who
                 cross my path today. Tonight, I will remember the love shared
                 to my neighbors and recount how God used me to shower
                 unconditional love to my fellow travelers along the road of life.

                 Jesus made me think. I will go out and show mercy to
                 everyone I meet in the name of Jesus. I believe God will
                 encourage me as I live this life faithfully. I devote my life to
                 serving God through my neighbors and hope for my inheritance
                 of the eternal life promised in Scripture. Amen.
The Heart of Discipleship                                                 Page 4
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
   25
       Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to
inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read
there?” 27He answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as
yourself.” 28And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will
live.”
    29
       But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30Jesus
replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of
robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31Now by
chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the
other side. 32So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by
on the other side. 33But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw
him, he was moved with pity. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having
poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn,
and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the
innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you
whatever more you spend.’ 36Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the
man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37He said, “The one who showed him
mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

				
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