Summary: Jesus has no cheerful words for the legalist. Is your faith in your strength? Is your trust in your keeping of the law; the rules? Go and do it. That’s all He can say to you.(Lk 10:37)
(Part 1 of 2 in a study of the Parable of the Good Samaritan)
“And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” 27 And he answered, “YOU SHALL 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 YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.” 29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 “And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 “Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 “On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
What a striking contrast we have set before us in this 10th chapter of Luke’s gospel!
Jesus is rejoicing. The 35 teams of missionaries He has sent out ahead, have returned with reports of even demons obeying them when the name of Jesus was invoked. Jesus does not rebuke them for their exuberance but teaches them that having their names recorded in Heaven – in other words, that there is a place for them there – is a far greater cause for rejoicing than the temporary successes they have ministering on earth; even in the realm of miracles and exorcisms.
Then He praises the wisdom of the Father in choosing the ‘babes’ to whom to reveal Himself and His glory in this way rather than those the world deems wise and great.
And hasn’t God worked this way throughout history to make His truth and His glory known? Think of the patriarchs of the faith and their stories. You won’t have to do much digging; just go to the eleventh chapter of the letter to the Hebrews and find the names there of people who were the weak, the confused, the downtrodden, the dregs, the fumbling, the discontented, and see what mighty things God wrought through them.
And go to the first chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, and count yourself in their number when he admonishes:
26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”
Now here is the contrast I referred to in beginning. In verse 24 of Luke 10, speaking to His disciples and pointing out to them that they are especially blessed to be the ones in the historical context of seeing all these things take place in their generation, Jesus calls to their attention the fact that past prophets and kings, looking forward into a misty future, wished to see and hear these very things but were required to wait.
These are words repeated by Peter later in his first epistle:
“As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.” 1 Pet 1:10-12