“Do not greet anyone on the road.” (Luke 10:4)

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“Do not greet anyone on the road.” (Luke 10:4)

By Fr. Dr. Rif'at Bader

I never imagined that a day would come when I read this verse, Lord Jesus said, in a new way.

The real implication of this verse is that Lord Jesus Christ recommended that His disciples never stop spreading the Holy Gospel. This came in the context of His last instructions and recommendations before sending the 72 apostles at the outset of Christianity, so He said to them, “Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.” This implies never to worry about compliments on the way because there is a message that has to be conveyed soon.

This is the intention of Lord Jesus, and this is the unanimous interpretation of the scholars of the Holy Bible, for how come Lord Jesus Christ, who revealed to us God’s love, neither wants people to greet one another nor to maintain good social relations? Yet, Lord Jesus Christ, who is familiar with the environs, knows that the eastern people in general have a proclivity to compliments, as people have to greet others which consequently could lead to staying in the host's house for several days.

In the Corona era, I read this verse and listen to the directives of the Ministry of Health and the competent authorities which state, “Do not shake hands with anyone! This neither stems from lack of love for others nor from attempting to sever social ties; it is rather designed to preserve health. The indication is that glorified Lord Jesus Christ wants us to love one another and to demonstrate solidarity with one another in compliance with the instructions that would alleviate the pain in our world which is regrettably caused by disseminating virus.

Viewing Lord Jesus Christ’s words we say, “Indeed we need to love one other in a new way; to love your brethren and to wish them well as you do to yourself for none of us wishes to have the infection transmitted to him, in the same way as one has a responsibility not to transmit the infection to others.

This "fierce" virus really wants to damage the sparkle of social relationships, as if it has explicitly separated people. We need to change behaviors in our societies in order to maintain our safety, as well as the safety of others. We need not embroil some of the verses in our life nowadays. I regard Lord Jesus Christ’ verse to imply: We have to keep in mind the directives and instructions; we have to further love other and wish them well but by not shaking hands with them.

We wish everyone well. Let us remember that if you want to further love others do not shake hands with them on the road or anywhere else. Peace be with you.

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