Luke 10:36

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Luke 10:36   

“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” – Luke 10:36

This question was asked by Jesus to a lawyer who had previously asked the question, “Who is my neighbor?”  A lawyer as described here is different than our modern-day lawyers.  Both are experts in the Law, however,  to first century Jewish lawyers it referred to the Mosaic Law. They essentially fulfilled the same role as a Scribe.

So it starts by this lawyer asking Jesus a question. “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 10:25.  Notice the words in verse 21, “to put Him to the test”.  He was not asking Jesus because he wanted to learn something, but to confuse Him, wanting Jesus to, if possible, to contradict some of the requirements of the Law.  However, Jesus did not fall for it and answered him with two questions.  “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” Luke 10:26b. The lawyer then answers as you would expect as a teacher of the Mosaic Law.  “And he 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.”  Deuteronomy 6:4, Leviticus 19:18.  “And he said to him, You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” Luke 10:28.  “But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29.  The lawyer wanted to let Jesus know he was a righteous man and always kept the Law, just as a lawyer would do. 

Jesus answers this with a parable which tells the story of a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho.  This man was robbed of all he had, including his clothing and was beaten nearly to death.  Along comes a priest who showed no love or compassion for the man by failing to help him and passing on the other side of the road so as not to get involved. The next person to pass by is a Levite who does exactly what the priest did: he passes by without showing any compassion. These are two people who would have known the law, but they chose not to follow it. 

Finally a Samaritan comes by, the one least likely to have helped him in the Lawyers eyes, because they were considered a low class of people by the Jews.  There is no indication as to whether the victim was a Jew of Gentile, but it made no difference to the Samaritan.  He saw only a person in dire need of assistance, and assist him he did, above and beyond the minimum required. He dresses the man’s wounds with wine (to disinfect) and oil (to sooth the pain). He puts the man on his animal and takes him to an inn for a time of healing and pays the innkeeper with his own money. He then goes beyond common decency and tells the innkeeper to take good care of the man, and he would pay for any extra expenses on his return trip.  Jesus then asked the Lawyer a question, as found in out our focus verse, which  disarmed his prejudice.   “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?“ Luke 10:36.  And honestly he had to answer, “He said, The one who showed him mercy. And Jesus said to him, You go, and do likewise.” Luke 10:37. 

The Lawyer’s prejudice would not permit him to name the Samaritan, yet his conscience obliged him to acknowledge that he was the only righteous person of the three.  Jesus told him to be even as those whom he despised because they did the right thing, whereas those who were of his people did not.  However, his “Jewish” prejudice would not permit him to name the Samaritan, but there was no impropriety, even in his view, in saying that the man who showed so much mercy was really the neighbor to the afflicted, and not he who professed to be his neighbor but who would do nothing to help.   

The major thought here is that our neighbor is anyone we come across, just as the Samaritan came across the man on the side of the road.  It does not matter if we know them or not, if they are kind to us or a part of a group that believes contrary to our beliefs or has contempt for us and our views.  We are called to love everyone, no matter what.  We are to love as Jesus loved; to love everyone no matter who they are or what they have ever done.  If someone is in need, do what is necessary to help them.  Shake off all prejudices and love as Jesus did.  And if we can show the love we have, we can then make a difference in their lives that can bring them to Christ, or if already a Christian show them what this Christian life is truly all about. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Ephesians 4:28

Verse of the Day Devotion: Ephesians 4:28 

“He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need.” – Ephesians 4:28       

Paul now speaks in our focus verse regarding stealing.  Back in this time period within the pagan community, theft was a common practice, mostly because there were many who found it difficult to provide for themselves and their families.  This practice of pilfering was almost common practice back then.  No property was safe which was not guarded or locked up so that it was inaccessible.  Sounds like today in some ways. 

Now, we are not to believe that thievery was a common practice within the first century church.  However, since many converts were from the pagan communities, it is not surprising that Paul would spend time in preaching against the practice.  The first thing he tells them is that they must stop if they are still stealing.   He states this as a point of caution.  If someone has long been in the habit of practicing any sin, they are prone to falling back into it again.  As an example, think about the problem of excessive drinking.  Someone who was a practicing alcoholic in the past but now drinks no longer, has to be careful that he does not fall into this practice again.  The same can be said for people addicted to drugs, and as Paul talks about, stealing from others.

He then says that instead of stealing from others, seek the means of living in an honest manner.  In essence, find a way of getting what you need aside from by dishonest means.  They were to work hard so that you could themselves acquire legally what they need.  They need to give up taking from others that which they can get for themselves.  As he wrote to the church in Philippi, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. We can always trust Him to meet our true needs.

And he ends this by stating when they go out and work, they are to share with those who are in need.  They are not just to think of themselves, but also think of others who need help in making ends meet.  I like the way the theologian Albert Barnes puts it.  Paraphrasing, he says “a considerable number of people cannot labor to support themselves due to being either too old or young, or they are crippled, sick or laid up in bed.  If those who are working do not share with them what they have, they very well could perish.  Based on this, we should desire, in our labors, to provide for their needs.” 

We, as Christians need to follow this verse.  We must not steal, in any form.  This means in regard to things, ideas, dignity, or any other way.  We should work to get what we need and want, not take with no remuneration.  And when we do work, let is take the opportunity to help those who are truly unable to work to address their needs.  This will help by not allowing them to fall into temptation to steal in order to take care of themselves and their family.  Meeting the needs of the needy is often more important than purchasing a new unnecessary item.  We would like help if we were in need. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Psalm 19:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: Psalm 19:1  

“The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” – Psalm 19:1     

One of the most beautiful things I enjoy looking at is a starry sky on a cloudless night.  I look up and see the many lights that fill the night sky and ponder just how many are there.  The vast majority of these ‘lights’ are stars that are relatively close to our planet.  Let us look at a few things.  Light travels at approximately 186,000 miles per second.  Our sun is approximately 93 million miles away.  It is so far, it takes approximately 499 seconds, or 8.32 minutes for its light to reach earth.  Whatever happens at the sun takes 8 minutes for us to see it. 

Now, our closest star, aside from the sun, is Proxima Centauri.  In contrast to the sun where the light takes 8.32 minutes to reach the earth, it takes approximately 4.23 years for light from the nearest star to reach the earth.  And according to, there are at most 8,479 stars visible from earth.  Going even farther, there are around 10,000 galaxies visible, each with millions of stars in each,  in just one image, using the Hubble Ultra Deep Field telescope.  According to NASA on the website, the closest galaxy to our milky way is some 25,000 light years away.  These are astonishing numbers.  It takes light approximately 25,000 years to reach earth. And this is the closest galaxy.   Just this alone shows the vastness of the universe.  And it is understood that the universe extends far beyond our ability to even view the outer regions of its existence. 

Many scientists believe that all matter has either existed eternally, or that it came into existence from  nothing.  These are the only possibilities aside from being a creation of God.  For nothing to create something does not make sense since change only happens based on an outside event.  And this event would have required something to trigger it, therefore it had to exist prior to what was the cause of its creation.   And, if it has always existed, it would have run out of energy and it would have died at some point, also in eternity past.

Therefore, this universe had to have been created by something that existed prior to the universe.  And it was, by an eternal God who created it for us.  And when we examine this universe, and we see  the immense size of it, the incredible order of this amazing universe, and the beauty as we look out into it from this single planet called earth.  As His word says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” Genesis 1:1-2.  And after having created the heavens and the earth, He brought order and life on the earth, and finally, at the end, man.  (Read Genesis chapters 1-2.)  How can we look at this, His creation, and not see God and His glory in it? 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.