Summary: Jesus calls us to the border lands of our society 1. We are to reach out to the broken hearted, the disenfranchised and the marginalized 2. We are to bring them deliverance and freedom in the name of Jesus We are to be Christ to our world!
Theme: Borderland Ministries
Proposition: Jesus calls us to the borders of our society - 1. We are to reach out to the broken hearted, the disenfranchised and the marginalized 2. We are to bring them deliverance and freedom in the name of Jesus
Grace and peace from God our Father and from Jesus Christ His Only Begotten Son who came to take away the Sin of the World.
We all remember those special things that happened to us during our early school years. One of those things I remember was learning about the American Poet Robert Frost. I don't remember a great deal about him but I do remember that he was highly regarded for two things that spoke to my heart growing up in hills of Eastern Kentucky:
1. His realistic depictions of rural life in America.
2. His command of common speech.
And I remember this little poem that we studied. It's words have spoken to me over and over in my life. It's called THE ROAD NOT TAKEN.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
Many of us here this morning understand perfectly the meaning of those words. We have lived them. We have taken both the roads that have been well traveled and the roads less traveled. Each of them has made their own unique impression on our lives.
In our Lukan passage this morning we find Jesus traveling down one of those roads less traveled. We find Jesus walking along the valleys of Beth Shan and Jezreel. He is walking along the border between the territories of Samaria and Galilee. It is here on this borderland that I would like for us to focus our attention on this morning.
Over the years I have taught and preached the story of the 10 lepers many times. Each time it has been usually focused on the subjects of faith, obedience and of course gratitude. Many times wondering and contemplating on what made this one leper amongst the 10 come back and give Jesus praise and adoration. Why was he the only one to come back and fall at the feet of Jesus?
However, today I would like for us to focus on the place where Jesus and his disciples were walking. They were on the border between Samaria and Galilee. They were in the in-between land. I do not think it is by accident that Luke provides for us this little piece of information. I believe He did on purpose. I believe Luke wanted his readers to focus on Jesus' location and from that understand that some of the greatest ministry of all time occurs on the border lands. Some of the greatest ministry happens in those in-between places where we are most likely to find the disenfranchised, the broken and marginalized.
On both sides of that border lived a group of people who were racial, politically, economically, culturally, linguistically and religiously far different from one another1. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find two groups more diverse. At one time that had not been the case. At one time the area of Galilee had been the home of the tribes of Issachar and Naphtali while the majority of the land of Samaria had been the home of the tribe of Manasseh. While there were some differences back then they were minor in comparison to those in Jesus' day. Now each territory was inhabited by people who did not care for one another nor did they trust one another. It could be said that they literally loathed each other.
In verse 11 Jesus is walking between two worlds - the world of the Galileans and the world of the Samaritans. No doubt his disciples were feeling a little uneasy. They particularly didn't want to be right there walking on the edge of Samaria. Most of them were Galileans. They didn't trust Samaritans. All their lives they had been taught that Samarians were inferior in race, culture and especially in faith. They had been taught that Samaritans were heretics and no better than Gentiles. Jesus' disciples had to be wondering why Jesus was walking on the border between these two peoples. There was a lot that could go wrong in just a few minutes coming from either side.