Summary: Is it is always right to give to those who ask without asking questions? Is there ever a time when it is right to pass by on the other side? Do we have the courage to be honest with ourselves when our beliefs and practise are in conflict with each other
GOOD SAMARITAN Lk 10:25-37
Recently we heard the story of how Private Martin Bell, 24, of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, was fatally wounded as he attempted to reach a comrade who had been injured in an explosion.
He was killed in a separate blast from an improvised explosive device (IED) as he tried to help his stricken colleague.
What was notable about the story is that he was strictly ordered NOT to go to his friends' rescue because of the danger of being targeted and killed himself. Whether or not the second IED was remotely detonated the news reports do not say; but I understand it is a tactic of the Taliban to target people who seek to rescue others who have been injured.
What would you have done in such circumstances?
We once lived in Nigeria and at one time we passed a body lying at the side of the road. We had been advised to 'pass by on the other side'. We did so! To stop would mean that villagers would assume we had been responsible and could lead to a lynching.
A SOFT TOUCH
Often Ministers and Christians are seen as a soft touch by beggars whose real need is to feed an addiction. They will come to me from time to time with the most convoluted fabricated stories. I wait for the punchline -- they want some money from me. If I think they are not telling me the truth I refuse to pretend to believe them. It may shock some of you, but in circumstances like this I prefer to address the real issue and I refuse to pretend to believe the lie and collude with the deception. I ask myself, what is in this person's best interests. Rarely is it met with a financial gift.
What is the parable of the Good Samaritan about?
In response to a question he is asked, Jesus tells a story about VICTIMS, CHOICES AND ACTIONS
READING Lk 10:25-37
Are we ever justified in passing by on the other side?
Reading the parable I'm reminded of times when I have passed by on the other side and justified myself for doing so, but still don't know whether I was justified or not.
THE QUESTION What must I do to inherit eternal life? was asked by an expert in the Law.
Jesus began by questioning him about the commandments.
He knew the commandments -- to love God will your heart and with all our soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;
And, Love your neighbour as yourself.
His question 'Who is my neighbour?' was a popular point of discussion
-- Was it my neighbour the Jew?
- Or my neighbour the Pharisee?
- And should I not love my neighbour and hate my enemy?
He wanted to justify himself
What he didn't realize is that we cannot be justified by ourselves. We can only be justified by faith.
It's not a good idea to argue with Jesus.
And it's not a good idea to try to justify ourselves.
For all his learning this man had not understood is that God's laws were never meant to be the way to get to heaven.
God's laws were originally given to the Hebrews with whom God had entered into a covenant relationship -- that they would be his people and he would be their God.
The laws were largely their moral duty
But it was through sacrifice, not law that the problem of sin was dealt with.
APPLIC Like all of us, this man had first to see his faults before he could learn his need of grace and forgiveness from God.
As the Apostle Paul said:
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23
How did Jesus get through to him?
He told the story of a man (presumably a Jew), who was robbed.
The road from Jerusalem to Jericho has always been a notoriously dangerous one. It is a journey of about 17 miles and the road rises to about 3,000 feet.
Even so, it was a busy commuter route which many had to travel.
The man who had been attacked was one of the unfortunate ones who had lost everything; and nearly his own life.
What went through the priest's mind we can only imagine. He would have been very startled and afraid by what he saw.
- The priest was heading home after 1 month's duty in Jerusalem.
- He probably had some payment with him for his services.
- What if he was a decoy.
- What if the robbers were still around somewhere.
- Maybe the man is already dead -- or nearly dead, and I'll get covered in blood for nothing.