ODJ: bold bridges

July 8, 2015 

READ: Luke 10:25-37 

Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him (v.33).

Dale’s neighbourhood is home to many newcomers to his country. He loves the cultural richness but has felt a disconnection from it. So recently he prayed: “Lord, please use me to reach my neighbourhood.” And he felt God’s simple, gentle nudge: be a friend.

While biking one day, Dale saw a new neighbour, so he stopped and said hello to the man. The surprised individual invited him into his home. During a lengthy conversation, Dale learned of his new friend’s discomfort. The man felt that the citizens of his new country didn’t like him or didn’t want him living near them. It was as if people held him responsible for global events far beyond his control, simply because of his origins.

“You’re my neighbour!” Dale assured him. “You’re welcome here! If you need anything, here’s my number.” The man visibly relaxed. Then he smiled. A small but bold bridge had been built.

The story of the Good Samaritan is often interpreted to emphasise the kindness of the Samaritan. But Jesus was actually expanding God’s command to “love your neighbour as yourself” (Luke 10:27). The religious leader wanted to know, “Who is my neighbour?” because he wanted to follow the letter of the law. Jesus pointed to the spirit of the law and in the process built a bold new bridge across an ethnic divide. The unlikely hero of His parable was “a despised Samaritan” (v.33).

Jesus built all kinds of bold bridges—bridges over long-standing racial barriers, between religious zealots and serial sinners, rich and poor, male and female. And when He redeemed us from our self-centred defiance against God, He built the boldest bridge of all—the one that spanned the chasm between God and His fallen creation.

—Tim Gustafson

365-day-plan: Matthew 12:22-50

What did God mean when He promised to bless the whole world through Abraham and Isaac? (See Genesis 18:18, 22:18, 26:4.) 
In what small way can God use you to build a bold bridge today? How have you been personally affected by the bridge Jesus built?