Heathdale flower 09th June 2022

State of the Heart

Our reactions can be very revealing about what's going on in our hearts; someone who never fails to blow us away with their heart full of love and compassion is Jesus.

Heathdale flower

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with a friend whom I hadn’t seen for some time. As we sat down to chat, I started with the predictable: ‘How are you going?’ Most times the automatic response is ‘good’ or ‘fine’ and then the conversation moves on. But not this time! For the next little while, my friend spoke at length about his health issues and the challenging journey he had been on for the past little while and I’d have to say, he’s had some significant challenges.

As I was listening to him, I initially found myself thinking about how I only asked him how he had been to get our conversation started. I didn’t expect this! My response caught me by surprise. It occurred to me that my reaction was in fact quite revealing about my heart at that very moment. Here I was on the surface asking a friend how he was travelling, but deep down not really wanting to know. After feeling appropriately chastised for this short coming, I re-entered the conversation with a desire to be present, responding with a sense of compassion and a desire to support my mate.

Sometimes our reactions tell a far greater story than whatever we have to say. Such was the case when Jesus faced the teacher of the law.

"A religious scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. "Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?" He answered, "What's written in God's Law? How do you interpret it?"

He said, "That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence and that you love your neighbour as well as you do yourself."

"Good answer!" said Jesus. "Do it and you'll live."

Looking for a loophole, he asked, "And just how would you define 'neighbour'?"

Jesus answered by telling a story. "There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.

"A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man's condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable.

In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill, I'll pay you on my way back.'

"What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbour to the man attacked by robbers?" "The one who treated him kindly," the religion scholar responded. Jesus said, "Go and do the same."

(Luke 10:25-37, The Message Translation)

You can picture the scene, can’t you? Just like a courtroom scene from a movie, an expert in the Old Testament stands up and fires a question at Jesus to test His knowledge, to test His ‘theology’ and to try and trick him! It’s a question that is intentional. There’s no sense of the expert asking to deepen his learning, but rather a devious question with the sole purpose to catch Jesus out.

Though it appeared to be an innocent question on the surface, the legal expert’s intention was to discredit Jesus. However, Jesus was able to take this question about the Law and to reveal to this expert, as well as to everyone else who was hanging off Jesus’ words; that there is something beyond the Law of the Old Testament and that is the ‘law of love’. Jesus answered religious law expert in words that have lived through the centuries in the form of the story known as ‘The Good Samaritan.’

I’m sure that if I was being asked a question, and I knew it to be a trick question, one that was testing me, I probably would have answered with a certain amount of enmity, but not Jesus, He responded to this situation as He did for every other situation: with a heart full of love and compassion. His reaction when the religious leaders of His day complained that He received ‘sinners’ and ate with them, was to tell those within earshot a group of stories that revealed God’s heart. A heart that seeks people back into relationship with Him. What an amazing response to such a pointed accusation!

When Jesus was nailed to the cross, paying the debt we owe to God, it seemed that everyone was against Him: He had been betrayed, denied, humiliated, spat upon, afflicted, forsaken and being crucified. How did Jesus respond? With the words: “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34) – in a manner never seen before or since and could be described as the highest reaction ever witnessed on this planet. One Bible commentator noted, ‘all of Jesus’s reactions were revelations of His heart.’ May His reactions continue to impact us and teach us about how we should react as we have hearts that are also full of love and compassion.

We are a blessed people because we are able to search the scriptures each day in Homegroup, as we start each school day. As we search the scriptures, we come to see how Jesus’ loving responses reveal not only His character, but they also serve to encourage us and model for us how we should respond with a heart full of love and compassion towards each other.

As we live in such a manner, we live out our desire to ensure every person at Heathdale can feel safe, be treated with dignity and have a deep sense of belonging.

Bless you as you endeavour to live in such a manner this week.

Ross Grace
Executive Principal