Summary: Sermon #5 in a 13 sermon series on the Preaching of Jesus. This one from Luke 10:25-37 focuses on the Good Samaritan asking the question, "To whom are you a neighbor?"
Who is my Neighbor? (The Good Samaritan)
CHCC: February 5, 2012
Video – Mr. Roger’s neighborhood song through the years (Youtube video)
Did you ever wonder why that song was popular for so many years? There’s something in human nature that loves the idea of having a good neighbor! The subject of neighbors came up one day when Jesus was having a discussion with some of the Jewish religious leaders.
One of them tried to trip Jesus up by asking, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus turned the question back at him and said, “What is written in the Law?”
The religious leader quoted two verses … from Deuteronomy and from Leviticus: “‘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.’”
Jesus said, “Good answer.”
Then the religious leader, wanting to justify himself, asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:25-29)
Once again, Jesus turned the question right back at him. The religious leader was basically saying, “Well, sure I should love my neighbor as myself … but who is actually worthy to be counted as my neighbor?”
This set Jesus off on one of the most well-known sermons ever preached. Instead of answering the question,“Who IS my neighbor?” Jesus asked the question, “Are YOU a neighbor?” Are you a neighbor to …
1. The undeserving
Luke 10:30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. …
The man in this parable had traveled what is called the “Bloody Way.” They called the road from Jerusalem to Jericho by that name because of all the robberies and murders committed on that desolate stretch of highway. Perhaps it was night, and it looks as though he was traveling that dangerous road alone. If all that was true, then … he was an idiot.
You could say he brought all his troubles down on his own head. You could say he made his bed, now he has to lie in it. You could say, You have only yourself to blame. You could get Biblical and say, well, you reap what you sow…
You could say all kinds of things we tend to say when we don’t want to help someone! Does God call us to love even the undeserving … even the ones who brought trouble on themselves by their own bad choices? The answer is an obvious “YES!”
And aren’t you glad? Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t require an I.Q. test for those HE helps? The Lord is gracious. He extends mercy to the wise and the foolish alike. Like our Lord, we need to be grace-givers, even to those who created their own troubles by their own bad choices and even the ones who are OVERLOOKED.
2. The overlooked
A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. Luke 10:31-32
The victim was overlooked by two religious men who saw his wounded body … cringed … lifted up their priestly robes … and walked away. Now, keep in mind that these weren’t evil men. They were well respected leaders … probably known for their wisdom and their compassion. If those two guys could step out of the story and explain themselves, they could probably sound pretty convincing.
Maybe they had religious duties and knew that if they touched a corpse they would have been excluded from temple duties. Maybe they didn’t think they would know how to help someone in that condition. Maybe they knew this could be a trap. Sometimes robbers would pretend injury so they could lure people to the side of the road then ambush them. Whatever their reasons, the response of these leaders leads to this question:
Am I a neighbor to people when others have turned away from them? It’s a temptation to follow the lead of the people around us instead of following the lead of the Holy Spirit. It’s possible that God may call you to help someone that everyone else has overlooked. You may be chosen by God to be the conduit for His love and help someone that no one else can or will help. Sometimes that’s why God has you walking on that particular road on that particular day. God may place it on your heart to help when others won’t.
And that even applies to YOUR ENEMIES.
3. Your enemies