REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S.F., is an updated version of his blog originally posted on March 17, 2013. Mark is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“The Newest Spiritual Vacuum Cleaner”
1 Tim. 1:14a
The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly.
To the horror of on looking homemaker, the confident vacuum cleaner salesperson peppers the carpet with muddy dirt. After telling her not to worry, the salesperson quickly vacuums the carpet to show how effective his machine is.
A similar motive drove Jesus to share the parable of the Good Samaritan in response to the self-righteous lawyer in Luke 10, who, confident that he had kept all the laws asked, “Who is my neighbor?” This parable, therefore, is intended to show how this man’s pride kept him from seeing his heart full of dirt. Jesus does that by forcing him to admit that the true neighbor to the Jewish man, left for dead by the robbers and ignored by the priest and the Levite, is a Samaritan, a social and religious outcast whom the Jews (i.e., he) would not help. Jesus, knowing that the lawyer would not recognize his need for a Savior unless he becomes aware of his baseless sense of self-righteousness, exposes his incorrect assumption by pointing out his sin.
Of course, the lawyers of today and the experts in the Law in Jesus’ days are not the same. The latter were public secretaries whose reading and writing skills garnered them the title of “legal experts,” and because most of them were Pharisees, common people heeded their teachings. Moreover, people simply assumed that these legal experts diligently kept the commandments, all 623 of them. In such social and religious context, it would have been extremely hard for any expert in the Law to believe in Jesus because of its intimation that they too were sinners. To be told that, as Jesus insinuated to this lawyer, would be like an off-duty police officer being ticketed for drunken driving. Nevertheless, Jesus does that, offending him during the process, to show him that he needs the newest spiritual vacuum cleaner that can clean out sin: Jesus Christ.
Sometimes, we need a reminder, like what happened to me during my recent transcontinental flight, to not rely on our own righteousness. As I waited for some time to enter the bathroom while brushing my teeth, suddenly this “funny-looking” middle-aged woman came out of nowhere and began motioning that I should let her go before me. Rolling my eyes, I just went in the bathroom without responding. A few days later, a thought occurred during my prayer: if that had that been an attractive woman, would I have done the same thing? Probably not. That would place me right next to this lawyer, being reminded once again of my own inadequacy, but also marveling at how God continues to embrace me despite of me. Because of such amazing grace, I may be more loving to others regardless of who is asking me for a favor the next time.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for Your grace through which arrogant sinners like me are forgiven. Strengthen me by the Spirit, therefore, to live a life of humility and love to honor You and what You did for me. I praise You, Lord. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 62