Summary: The story of love coming from an unexpected source.
The Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37
We’ll read the passage a little later but turn to Luke 10:25-27.
Do you like rules? For the most part I think rules are good for keeping other people in line but most of us only like them when they work to our advantage. Douglas Bader said, “Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of wise men." And Douglas MacArthur said, “Rules are mostly made to be broken and are too often for the lazy to hide behind.” The problem is, sometimes rules and the people who make them can get out of control.
Here are some rules that were posted in a drive-in restaurant. “Do not back in. Restrooms are for customer use only. On a trash can there was a note that said, “Not for diaper disposal or auto trash.” Inside there was one that said, “Local checks for amount of purchase only.” And another said, “Vanilla frosties dipped one size only.” And another was, “Please order by number.” And another said, “Observe all signs.” These guys had rules for their rules.
It seems that the worst offenders with rules aren’t restaurants but churches. Here’s a list of laws that are still on the books that relate to churches in the United States. “Young girls are never allowed to walk a tightrope in Wheeler, Mississippi, unless it’s in a church. In Blackwater, Kentucky, tickling a woman under her chin with a feather duster while she’s in a church service carries a penalty of $10.00 and one day in jail. No one is allowed to eat unshelled, roasted peanuts while attending church in Idanha, Oregon. In Honey Creek, Iowa, no one is permitted to carry a slingshot to church except a policeman. No citizen in Leecreek, Arkansas, is allowed to attend church in any red-colored garment. (I guess that leaves Santa Claus out.) Swinging a yo-yo in church or anywhere in public on the Sabbath is prohibited in Studley, Virginia. And turtle races are not permitted within 100 yards of a local church at any time in Slaughter, Louisiana.” I read that and thought, maybe they we’re afraid the turtle will move faster than their service.
The whole thing about rules is that some of them might sound pretty good when they were made, but later on, the same rule won’t seem to make any sense to those come after them. The problem is, conditions change and so do people and rules that were good at one time might not be applicable later on or even in a different place.
And what we have here in the story of the good Samaritan is a man who asked Jesus a question and he’s the type of person who thinks the Bible is a book of rules and all he has to do is keep a few and God will think he’s alright. And when he compares himself to all the heathen in the world he thinks he’s doing a pretty good job. So, in this passage he stands up in a crowd and acts like he’s going to put Jesus on the spot and show everybody how smart he is and how dumb Jesus is.
This parable of the Good Samaritan is so well known that it’s actually become a phrase we use to describe an unusual act of kindness. Today we call people good Samaritans who find people in need and help them. And not only Christians are familiar with this idea but so are many non-Christians. And there are many ‘good Samaritans’ who spend their time helping those who are the less fortunate in society. And the problem we have is, the way the term is used today obscures the message of the scripture. There are those who think they know what this story is really all about, but the truth is, they miss the point all together. You see, people think it’s a story about helping other people who are in need but it’s really a story that pushes people up against the shallow nature of their religion.