Summary: The story of The Good Samaritan is a perfect illustration of HIV/AIDS in our society today. God has given the Church the power to heal and He has equipped us to walk in the power of our calling and anointing.
Sermon Title: Who Left HIV/AIDS Lying in the Streets?
Scripture Framework: Read Luke 10:30-37 [The Good Samaritan]
Opening: Every year in March, thousands of communities celebrate the National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS. It is a time in which churches and other faith-based organizations pray for the Lord to heal people living with HIV/AIDS and demonstrate compassion toward those that are rejected and stigmatized in our society and churches.
Despite the love and goodwill that the Holy Spirit is pouring out to people living with this dreaded disease, there are those who have an immediate, negative response to people living with HIV/AIDS. Is AIDS a punishment from God for sin? Does the Church have a role in ministering to the needs of people living with this disease? Hopefully, the Word of God will shed some light on these questions and help Christians to understand God’s perspective on one of the most difficult questions facing society and the Church.
Point 1: Jesus Nailed Blame to the Cross!
A. In the story of The Good Samaritan, it tells of a man who fell among thieves. The details of the story do not reveal exactly what the man’s role or fault was in getting injured. Was he an innocent traveler who met up with the wrong people? Was he a thief himself who was turned on by his companions? Did he pay the price for doing the wrong thing?
1. It is no oversight that the Word left this question unanswered. The question of how the man became injured, lying bleeding and dying on the side of the road parallels the circumstances in which many people find themselves who are living with HIV/AIDS today.
2. Jesus spent considerable time in His ministry teaching the disciples to turn away from the old Jewish tradition of always looking for blame in the midst of a tragedy (John 9:1-3). As the people of God, we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. None of us is worthy to cast blame on another.
3. One of the biggest mistakes we can make as Christians is to categorize people as “innocent” or “guilty” victims of HIV/AIDS. We often call the following people “innocent” victims of HIV/AIDS:
a. A Doctor or nurse who contracts HIV from being pricked with a tainted needle.
b. A person who contracts HIV from a bad blood transfusion (rare now due to quality blood screenings).
c. A wife or husband who contracts HIV from a wayward spouse.
d. A child who contracts HIV from his/her mother in-utero, during birth, or from tainted breast milk.
4. We often call the following people “guilty” victims of HIV/AIDS:
a. A person who contracts HIV as a result of engaging in sex outside of marriage.
b. A man who contracts HIV as a result of engaging in sexual intimacy with another man.
c. A person who contracts HIV as a result of using intravenous drugs.
5. Jesus desires that we reject damaging and stigmatizing labels and concentrate on meeting the needs of anyone who is sick for any reason.
Point 2: The Church has Often Failed in its Responsibility to People Living with HIV/AIDS
A. In the story of The Good Samaritan, Jesus tells us that three people noticed the man lying in street bleeding and dying. A Priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan. If we were to translate these roles into modern language, we could call them “The Preacher”, “The Deacon”, and “A Regular Guy”!
B. The two people who had the greatest responsibility for assisting the dying man was the priest (The Preacher) and the Levite (The Deacon).
1. In Mark 16:18, one of the things Jesus told the Disciples they would have power to do is to “lay hands on the sick and they shall recover”.
2. However, rather than use the God-given power of healing, encouragement, and blessing, the priest and the Levite chose to ignore the holy calling on their lives and leave the man in the street.
3. Jesus stated that one of the things He admired in those who blessed the “least of these His brethren” was that they “visited the sick”. Jesus is heartbroken when the people of God ignore or worse, criticize the sick that we should be helping.
C. The one man (The Regular Guy) who was himself stigmatized and rejected as a result of being a Samaritan (a people of mixed Jewish/Gentile heritage), chose to do a series of holy things he was not even anointed by God to do:
1. Pour oil and wine on the injured man’s wounds (Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit; Wine is a symbol of the blood of Jesus, cleansing, salvation, etc.).
2. Bear the man’s burden on his own donkey (faith in action).