Note: The devotionals for Feb. 2-6 are based on the Parable of the Good Samaritan; read the entire parable today.
Lk. 10:30-6 (ESV): Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.  Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.  He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.  And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’  Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Lk. 10:25 (NIV): “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,” he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’”
Matt. 11:28 (NASB): “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
While some teenagers may come to church to meet cute boys or girls, and some grownups for business opportunities, this lawyer came to Jesus for an entirely different reason. Here, the lawyer came “to test” Jesus, which the Greek word ekpeirazō is used; but the same Greek word is used when Jesus tells the devil, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matt. 4:7 KJV). While testing measures a student’s progress, tempting is to seek his downfall; this lawyer “tempted Jesus” (KJV). He probably belonged to a group of “Pharisees and Herodians” who tried “to catch [Jesus] in his words” (Mk. 12:13) to accuse him.
So, is there any unacceptable motive for going to church or reading the Bible? Absolutely none. Simon Greenleaf, Professor of Law at Harvard in the middle of 19th century, believed the resurrection of Christ to be a hoax. Ironically, after setting out to expose its “myth,” his research led to the exact opposite conclusion. Greenleaf, then, wrote a book, Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the Rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice, in which he said, “It was impossible that they could have persisted in affirming the truths they have narrated, had not Jesus actually risen from the dead.”
The first film to win 11 Oscars is “Ben-Hur,” based on the bestselling novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, by Lew Wallace in 1880. He began that project with “no convictions about God or Christ”; writing was only an outlet for his creativity. But, an unexpected thing happened. Wallace said, “I need to do the research; I need to learn the Bible. . . . Long before I was through with my book, I became a believer in God and Christ.”
This lawyer in the parable came with the worst motive possible, but Christ would soon place him where he would be a step away from salvation. So, what is keeping you from going to church or reading the Bible? For whatever reason, go to church and read the Bible; and if you’re intellectually honest, you will find that Christ makes sense—you will find rest in him.
No motive is hidden before you, Lord; for You know what is in a man. Regardless, You do not reject any person for coming to you, even one with the worst motive, like Judas and like this lawyer. Your love is so unfathomable; so unlike anything this world has to offer. I love and worship You! Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 37
Lunch Break Study
Read Is. 55:1-3 (ESV): “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live . . .”
Jn. 6:35 (ESV): “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.’”
Question to Consider
- What is the irony of this contrast? Give an example of what some people “buy” to be happy.
- Is God talking about a balanced diet of meat and vegetables, or is it something else?
- How is your spiritual diet? Are you eating healthy spiritually? What is lacking in your present eating habit?
- People don’t take advantage of the free things which are so good for them; rather, they pay for things of the world which are harmful for them. A good example is plastic surgery: it may improve the outside but without the change inside, nothing really changes.
- Bread refers to Jesus as well as the Word of God. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God’” (Matt. 4:4). Without eating for a long time, people die of hunger; without consuming spiritual food for a long, people die spiritually being alienated from God, others, and even self.
- Some people fill their spiritual diet with Christian music or books; those are good fillers but not the main staple—a biblical spiritual diet, consisting of a solid understanding of God’s Word (to be applied immediately) and a consistent prayer life that has depth and length.
Did anything you did today make you feel distant from God? Did you entertain some wrong motives in what you did or say? We learned today that nothing should keep us from coming to Him. Come to the Lord right now; buy from Him that which we can never buy from app stores or Amazon.