Thesis: Love is action.
1. This AM we want to explore the parable of "The Good Samaritan" (Luke 10).
a. Along with "Prodigal Son" (Luke 15)--Jesus' most famous stories.
b. Deceptively simple. Someone has described this story as "a highly scientific piece of instruction clothed in a deceptively popular style."
2. Some preliminaries:
a. The story takes place on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho.
1) Only 17 miles; Jerusalem = 2300 asl, Jericho = 1100 bsl; rough, winding road; plenty of places for robbers to hide.
2) Illust. Dangerous journey. Like going into SE part of the District after dark or driving into a Florida rest area with an out-of-state plate before those places received 24-hour police protection. It was a risk!
b. The story assumes Jewish-Samaritan prejudice.
1) Both had a Temple to Yahweh. Both kept the Law.
2) Jews looked down on Samaritans because they were "half-breeds"; Samaritans looked down on Jews because they were Jews.
c. The story is part of a religious dialogue (before/after).
1) A Caution: Familiar stories like the Good Samaritan are easy to trivialize. For example, you know how Bible classes on this story usually end up? With discussions over whether or not Christians ought to pick up hitchhikers. Or help out people who hang out on corners with "Will Work for Food" signs.
2) The key to understanding this familiar parable is to pay attention to the religious dialogue that takes place before/after the story.
I. READING THE STORY. < Pausing to comment after ... >
A. After Verse 25.
1. "Stood up" (respect) "to test" (disrespect).
2. "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Only legal heirs inherit).
B. After Verse 27.
1. Recited Deut. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18.
2. Interestingly, this was Jesus' answer to another lawyer who asked him "What is greatest commandment?" (I think this lawyer knew!)
C. After Verse 28: "Correctly" = orthos ("orthodox").
D. After Verse 29: Define terms: good way to make a religious discussion irrelevant! (Jesus is not going to let that happen!)
E. After Verse 32:
1. Why didn't the Priest & Levite help?
a. Didn't know who he was? Unconscious & w/o clothes. No! Is that the sort of question you'd ask if you saw accident
b. On their way to church? No! "Going down" After church!
c. Didn't want to defile themselves? After church!
2. Why didn't the Priest & Levite help? They just didn't!
F. After Verse 33:
1. Priest came and saw, passed on ... Levite came and saw, passed on ... Samaritan came and saw, took pity on him.
2. The word for "took pity" is esplanchna = literally "bowels." The Samaritan had a "gut feeling" for this guy. Then he did something about it!
3. What did he do? Let's read on ...
A. What's the difference between the Priest & Levite and the Samaritan?
1. It's in what they did and didn't do.
2. Look at the verbs! (v. 33ff.)
B. This story is not about what you believe, talk about, think about, pray about, sing about. It's about what you DO.
1. Remember the lawyer's original question? (v. 25; cf. v. 28, 37).
2. Religion is about DOING.
a. Illust. Some people would have had Jesus answering the lawyer's question: "Do? Do? There is nothing you can do to gain eternal life! You need only receive it. Once you receive it you can never lose it. You're not trying to earn salvation, are you?"
b. Illust. James is often misunderstood as saying someone earns salvation by works. NOT SO! James is making the same point as Jesus: You can talk all you want, but what really counts is what you do! Read James 2:14-18, 24.
3. Feelings are dime-a-dozen. What really counts is what you do with them!
C. Why is it so difficult to put our faith into action sometimes?
< two reasons >
1. We can't see the forest for the trees.
Illust. (Scene: Sunday AM assembly; silent prayer)
Max: God, I want to do great things!
God: You do?
Max: You bet! I want to teach millions! I want to fill the Rose Bowl! I want all of the world to know your saving power! I dream of the day ...
God: That's great, Max. In fact, I can use you today after church.
Max: Super! How about some radio and TV work, or .. or .. or an engagement to speak to Congress?
God: Well, that's not exactly what I had in mind. See that fellow sitting next to you?
God: He needs a ride home.
Max: (quietly): What?
God: He needs a ride home. And while you're at it, one of the older ladies sitting near you is worried about getting a refrigerator moved. Why don't you drop by this afternoon and ...