Summary: The story of the Good Samaritan turned inside out. God calls all of us to go into the ditch to help others who have fallen into the ditch.
We’ve talked about two major things concerning you and me. One is God’s unconditional love. In Luke, Jesus tells the story of the Prodigal Son which is His most famous story about the unconditional love of God. He came to demonstrate that and did so clearly. Another thing we’ve talked about and touched on is how Christians are to live, about why we’re here. To that end, Jesus’ second most famous story seems to touch on that.
Now at first glance, it looks as though you’re looking at last Sunday’s sermon as far as sermon title and Scripture is concerned. This is not deja vu all over again. There was a preacher who came to a new church, and for the first several weeks he preached the same sermon on tithing, morning and night ... word for word. The church got up a committee, and they came to him and said, "Sir, we like your sermon, but do you have another one?" He replied, "When you do everything I say in this one, then I’ll give you another one."
Well, that’s not what this sermon is about. It is a different one about the same subject. We talked about this "expert in the law" (Luke 10:25). He was one who had his doctoral degree in Scriptural jurisprudence, and he didn’t come to learn from Christ or with a teachable attitude.
Rather, he came to test Him, to check Him out. The implication is that he came either to make Jesus look bad or to make himself look good. So he asked a question he thought would start a theological debate for which there was no real answer. Then he planned to impale Jesus on the horns of a dilemma, make himself look good in the argument, and discredit Christ.
He learned very quickly that was not the way this debate was going to go.
He found himself trapped in a trap of his own making. He was like a schoolboy who worked up his own examination and flunked it. Jesus said to him, in essence, "Knowing Me is not about studying the doctrines of grace and works. Knowing me is a matter of relationship. Having eternal life is a matter of how you relate to the Lord God, to My Father and to Me."
So Jesus answered the question with a question: "What do you read in the Scripture? What do you think?"
The expert had to say it because he had never seen it before. He’s like a lot of us. He had read Scripture all of his life. He had memorized and quoted this,
but he had never truly grasped it before: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ’Love your neighbor as yourself.’"
Trying to justify himself and keep this argument going so he would look like he was justified in asking, he asked, "And who is my neighbor?"
That’s a good question, but Jesus had an even better question in mind, and He set him up for it by telling him this story:
Luk 10:30 Jesus replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.
Luk 10:31 "And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
Luk 10:32 "Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
Luk 10:33 "But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,
Luk 10:34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
Luk 10:35 "On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ’Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’
Luk 10:36 "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?"
The question was: "And who is my neighbor?" (10:29) Jesus asked him, "Whose neighbor are you?" That’s the question for you and me.
There are a lot of things about this story that I’d like to know, wouldn’t you? As we picture this event, wouldn’t you really like to know how deep the ditch was? How hard was it to get that man out of there? Then, was this a big man?
Was he heavy? What about the Samaritan’s donkey? Was he able to carry such a load? Was it an old donkey ... a young one, a strong one, a weak one? And how old was the Good Samaritan? At what age are you to start doing ditch patrol for the glory of God? When can it end?