Summary: Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan exposes how much we have failed to love our neighbors, but Jesus’ didn’t fail. Only his perfect love can cover our failures and save us.
Text: Luke 10:25-37
Theme: Have I Loved My Neighbor As Myself?
A. I’m unable to justify myself
B. I’ve failed to love my enemy, but Jesus didn’t fail
C. I’ve failed in sacrificial love, but Jesus didn’t fail
D. I’ve failed in tireless love, but Jesus didn’t fail
Season: Pentecost 8c
Date: July 18, 2010
Web page: http://hancocklutheran.org/sermons/Have-I-Loved-My-Neighbor-As-Myself_-Luke10_25-37.html
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit shows our need for Jesus is recorded in Luke 10
"And behold, a law expert stood up to test [Jesus], "Teacher, what can I do to inherit eternal life?"
"[Jesus] said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?"
"He answered, "Love the Lord your God from all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself."
"[Jesus] said to him, "You’ve answered correctly. Do this and you will live."
"Wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
"Jesus took up the question and said, "A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and he fell to robbers. After they stripped and beat him, they went away leaving him half dead.
""By chance a priest came down that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise also a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
""Now a Samaritan traveling along came to him, and when he saw him, his heart went out to him. Going to him, he dressed his wounds, pouring out oil and wine [on them]. After he had set him on his on own animal, he led him to an inn and cared for him. Heading out the next day, he gave the innkeeper two danarii and said, ’Take care of him, and whatever extra you spend, I certainly will repay you when I come back here.’
""Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the one who fell to the robbers?"
"He said, "The one who showed him mercy."
"Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."" (Luke 10:25-37)
Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:
On our first evening in Washington, D.C., we were struck by the number of homeless people. As we walked from our hotel to Union Station for supper, some were sitting in the park across the street. Some were lying on benches. Some had a cart load of stuff, probably all their earthly possessions. Some asked for money, but most just sat there. Were they our neighbor?
The faces of orphans flash across the TV screen. A former president asks us to help Haiti. Are they our neighbor?
That rundown house the police regularly visit, whose yard’s full of junk and whose occupants can make quite a raucous -- are they our neighbor?
"And who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10:29 NIV), the expert in the law asked. And then Jesus responded by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan. It’s one of the better known Bible stories. You all know it well. But so many miss the point Jesus wants to make.
Many imagine Jesus told it to show us how to be good, Christian people. And a lot go even farther claiming that if we try to live up to the example of the Good Samaritan, then we’re on our way to heaven. How contrary to the Gospel that is!
Take a look at the context. Jesus is not speaking these words to show the law expert how to be a good person. He already knows that. Jesus has a very different purpose in mind. He accomplishes this purpose in our hearts today as we rightly listen to his words and ask ourselves: Have I loved my neighbor as myself?
A. I’m unable to justify myself
What was Jesus aim as he spoke to this law expert? Let’s consider the situation. The law expert wants to test Jesus. Does he have some new laws to add to what God gave Moses at Mt. Sinai, some extra things to do to gain eternal life? "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 10:25 NIV), he asks.
Now if anyone insists on focusing on what they themselves do, then Jesus has nothing new. God had already revealed through Moses what must be done. So Jesus directs the expert to the Old Testament law.
This expert gives an excellent summary of the law. "’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’" (Luke 10:27 NIV).