The Samaritan Affair.
MT 22:37 Jesus replied: " `Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: `Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
On Wednesday evening we formally announced our church vision
Our vision is to be a caring Church family who will do whatever it takes to help people to become wholehearted followers of Jesus Christ.
In many ways the Christian church has - particuarily in recent years as the church has concentrated on the work of the Holy Spirit as his activity affects ourselves in areas of inner healing and deliverance and also in our expressions of love to God in worship - perhaps lost sight a little of the importance of loving our neighbours as ourselves.
In a penetrating chapter of his work, "Awareness", famed Jesuit priest Anthony de Mello says that most good deeds people do are motivated by self-interest. They do things for others because of what they get out of it. Our acts of charity, writes De Mello are almost always self-interest disguised as self-sacrifice.
What then should epitimise the normal christian Life for us?
How do we love one another as we love ourselves?
LK 10:25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
LK 10:26 "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"
LK 10:27 He answered: " `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.’ "
LK 10:28 "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
LK 10:29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
LK 10:30 In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. `Look after him,’ he said, `and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
LK 10:36 "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?"
LK 10:37 The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
If we want to "how to" manual in this passage Jesus gives it in his normal succinct manner.
"Go and do likewise."
In Jesus’ words "Go and do likewise." There is incredible wisdom.
Let’s spend some time thinking about why it is so profound.
Firstly at the start of this passage we read:-
LK 10:25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
You see the expert in the law - the Pharisee if you like - was steeped in religious knowledge and worship - he was good at doing the learn about God and pray to God thing - but that had led him to not want to sit at Jesus’ feet and learn nor to follow Jesus’ feet and imitate, rather he preferred to test him to kinda crack test Jesus and try and find a leak. But the teacher got it the wrong way around because Jesus crack tests him - and then tells a story that exposes where his leak is - that leak is serious because what Jesus exposes is a lack of love - a lack of compassion a lack of practical charity and that lack it seems, is serious, given the teachers question:-
"What shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
It seems to me then, that a lack of Christian neighbourly love is a very serious matter.
It is serious for us because without it our salvation becomes dubious.
It is serious for our church for without it we become sterile.
It is serious for our community and nation for without it our nation will crumble.
Recent violent crime statistics show a marked increase.
What is more we are witnessing crimes of the most hideous nature.
Recently a Pizza delivery man called Michael Choy was mercifully bludgeoned to death by a group of very young people - One of these people the youngest killer ever to be convicted in new Zealand was Bailey Junior (’BJ’) Kurariki’s
Almost everything about Bailey Junior (’BJ’) Kurariki’s life to date is tragic. Coming from a broken home he was shoplifting at 9, banned from school by 10 and by 12 he’d helped kill Michael Choy. In his father’s custody for the last two years he exploited the lack of communication between his parents after their separation. His mother, Lorraine Hart, said she did her best to raise her children; "I made sure they had a shower every day and changed their clothes". But that is only the tip of the iceberg in this nation.
The Choy killing is the latest in a wave of youth crime. The day before the Choy verdicts were announced, 17 year-old Daniel Luff pleaded guilty to the murder of Feilding policeman Duncan Taylor, and a 14 year-old girl, Kararaina Te Rauna, admitted her part in the killing of Kenneth Pigott. According to Corrections Department figures, 428 under 20 year-olds were in jail in the week ending August 16, and of these, nineteen were under 17. This latter figure represents a massive 40 percent increase in one year.
’BJ’ needed more than a shower and clothes; he needed nurture, boundaries, love and to be accountable. Once again the failure of the family and incompetent parenting are to blame. But I believe there is an invisible question here for Christians. Daniel Luff, Bailey Junior (’BJ’) Kurariki’s Duncan Taylor, and , Kararaina Te Rauna’s parents possibly and even probably are generally guilty of some serious neglect but their remains a question
How much difference would have some sacrificial love by some caring Christians who were just passing by these lives have made to these young lives? (Maxim institute.)
A man from Tailand called Grant Clark from Thailand came to new Zealand last week he was supposed to have been met at the airport by a friend however, something went wrong. Confused and incapable of any English except basic phrases, he made his way to the Auckland Railway Station where he waited and waited.
Neither help nor his friend arrived.
Instead he was set upon by 11 men, one believed to be a taxi driver, who assaulted him, so viciously that four days later he was still limping and had chest pains.
"A mini van drove around him while he was kicked in the back by four men. Then eight more came along and attacked him and the driver of the van took his wallet." Said a thai speaking Tauranga friend, who did not wish to be named.
Mr Clark lost $800.00 during the attack - every cent he had. The most valuable possesion he had was a scrap of paper with a Tauranga address on it.
His plea to the Police fell on unsympathetic ears. They told him to go to immigration" the friend said.
Exhausted and injured mr Clark took to the southern Motorway - on foot. He says that was the advice of one motorway policeman, who told him it was going to be a 400km trip on foot.
A Thai-speaking man stopped for Mr Clark as he wandered down the motorway in the morning.
"He gave him $10 and taught him how to stick his thumb out for a ride,"Mr Clarks friend said.
Six different people picked up Mr Clark and delivered him to his friend in Tauranga where with his lips blue with cold, he fell through the door of their Tauranga home. Southland times Friday 30th August 2002.
How many Christians passed this man in his journey = how many Christians ignored him - this is the Good Samaritan story gone terribly wrong.
Love does make a difference.
I get the feeling that the situation in New Zealand is not dissimilar to the type of situation in Jesus’ day.
What is his answer.
Go and do likewise.
What then are we to do?
Lets explore the actions of the Good Samaritan and tick off some things that we can do here in our own lives.
LK 10:30 In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.
No 1. Is that the Samaritan had the ability to get outside of his saftey zone.
The two religious leaders who were stepped in the scriptures had not allowed the word of God to transform their heart.
The Samaritan may not have understood the scriptures as the teachers of the law did but what he did understand was God’s love for the man on the roadside. That love compelled him to stop - he could do nothing else.
He knew that he was the person to affect change - the persons future hung on his hands - he did not disappoint.
Ken Trivett Sermon Central:- The Wall Street Journal printed a little article called "How Important Are You?" .... "More than you think. A rooster minus a hen equals no baby chicks. Kellogg minus a farmer equals no corn flakes. If the nail factory closes what good is the hammer factory? Paderewski’s genius wouldn’t have amounted to much if the piano tuner hadn’t shown up. A cracker maker will do better if there’s a cheesemaker. The most skillful surgeon needs the ambulance driver who delivers the patient. Just as Rodgers needed Hammerstien, you need someone and some needs you."
· There is someone out there who has messed their life up big time that needs someone who will have compassion on them.
· There are parents out there whose hearts has been broken by a wayward and rebellious teenager that needs someone to have compassion on them.
· There is a wife out there with little children to care for, whose husband has left them for someone else, that needs someone to have compassion on them.
· There are teenagers out there who everybody has given up on and gives them no chance who needs someone that will have compassion on them.
· There is someone out there who has just recently said good-bye to a loved one ....
· There is someone out there who that recently was told that they had cancer ....
· There is someone out there who is lost and unprepared for eternity ....
In the story of the Good Samaritan Jesus does a shocking thing.
The Jews despised the Samaritans who were considered repropate half breeds. Prayers were offerred up in the synagogue asking God to not bless the Samaritans. Now here, to a very sharp perceptive Jew Jesus tells him to imitate the very person whom he despises.
Why? Because the heart of God is with the broken the lost and the oppressed.
So many people want God’s blessing today but they won’t receive it while they ignore the cry of the poor.
Jesus’ simple cry of "You go and do the same lacks complication. It can’t be easily misunderstood. If a Mother asks a child to fill the coal bucket then the child disobeys her if he fails to do it - he pleases her if he fills it.
Likewise we please God when we heed the cry of the hurting the suffering the lost of this world. You know Jesus doesn’t even discus motive here - he simply says you go and do the same.
Why is that? Because he knows that when you love like that you will change into the image of God -
MT 25:31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
MT 25:34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, `Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
MT 25:37 "Then the righteous will answer him, `Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
MT 25:40 "The King will reply, `I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
MT 25:41 "Then he will say to those on his left, `Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
Jesus said:- JN 13:34 "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
The way we are to love one another is in precisely the same way that Jesus loved us. Look how Jesus loves us - when he goes to a new town he doesn’t immediately love his friends or even go to the latest thing that is on but rather he makes a beeline to any need that God puts before him. Even things that are ugly and apparantly unsolveable like a lunatic living naked in a cave in a place called the Gerasenes Jesus doesn’t ignore but he goes and tends to the mans needs which reveal themselves to be spiritual.
The result of this incredible love is incredible for we read in John chapter 5 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
When Jesus loved like this it led to an explosion of publicity for him. What the world needs today is an explosion of publicity for what Jesus can do.
What the story of the Good Samaritan reveals is that you have the keys to this kind of love in your hands.
Next time you bathe the wounds of someone who no-one else cares for - visit someone who is lonely and lost - spend time listening to a story that you’ve heard a hundred times before. Understand this you are doing it - not to that person but to God Himself.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a man who died for opposing Nazi Germany said "Adherence to Jesus allows no free reign to desire unless it is accompanied by love. To follow Jesus means self renunciation and absolute adherence to him."
Some will say that - "I am too busy to practice sacrificial love like that" I looked up busy in the concordance and it appears only twice in the new testament but never once does it appear even as a possible reason to not obey God in this matter.
Friends if we want to see New Zealand and our area change for Christ, if we want to fulfill our vision which is Our vision is to be a caring Church family who will do whatever it takes to help people to become wholehearted followers of Jesus Christ. then we will need to reach out beyond our comfort zones into lives that we had previously avoided with the compassion and healing love of Christ.
Nothing else will do.
Someone has written:
To love the whole world
For me is no chore;
My only real problem’s
My neighbor next door.