Full Message: gracesummit.org/Messages/20190512
The road from Jerusalem to Jericho was wilderness where there would be robbers on the road – think of stage coaches in the Old West.
The priest would have been the noble elite – having spiritual duties in the temple – and the Levites would have had the practical duties – like Elders and Deacons today. The problem today – people in privileged elite positions can develop an attitude of superiority. The two purposely passed by the one who was beaten and half-dead. But the Bible doesn’t give any clue into the motivation. I think – because – there is no proper reason or motivation that would allow one to ignore or neglect someone in this situation. The person is lying there half-dead – we have a responsibility and you can’t get out of it! In a typical story – following a pattern – 3 characters – and in a situation like this – think of Levites, priests, and the common man. Levites and priests might be despised by the common man. Like politicians today! In a typical story – to have the Levite or Priest be a bad person – and the common Jew to be the good guy. But…
33 But a Samaritan who was traveling came to where the injured man was, and when he saw him, he felt compassion for him. 34 He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever else you spend, I will repay you when I come back this way.’
Jesus flips the story by putting a despised and hated Samaritan as the hero of the story. He assaults their prejudices! I think we need our prejudices assaulted by God, in massive ways. In the time after Solomon, there was a huge civil war in Israel. In 722 BC – the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom – and what they would do – they would repopulate the land – and there was a mixing that took place – there was a mixing – following the Laws of Moses –
“We tend to hate the most those who are closest to us, but are not us!” Think of it this way… Pittsburgh and Cleveland – similar cities – ethnic, hard-working – but because of football, we hate them the most! The reason we hate those closest to us – they remind us of what is bad in us – or what is wrong with us.
The Samaritan demonstrates that not only does he know the law, he loves his neighbor – but he knows the rest of the narrative – the story of the Bible – getting down to his level. What did God do when Adam and Eve sinned? He came down.
The earth was wicked at the time of Noah – God comes down.
The tower of Babel – God comes down to humanity in need.
Then of course – the story of Jesus – Jesus coming down – the Good Samaritan – the despised one.
36 Which of these three do you think became a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 The expert in religious law said, “The one who showed mercy to him.” So Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
Jesus rephrases the lawyer’s question and asks – are you a neighbor – and what kind of neighbor are you? Jesus adds a fourth to the narrative – but what does he do with the common Jew? He is the beaten man – when you are in that situation – what kind of neighbor do you want? The one that will be compassionate and merciful.
Does it matter their race? No. Gender? No. Religion? No.
When you are laying there half-dead, you don’t care anything about the background of the EMS worker who shows up.
6 things –
There is no such thing as a non-neighbor. There are zero.
The person who needs you in this moment and whose need you can meet – is your neighbor. The question we should ask ourselves – who is in need of a neighbor now?
The Samaritan loved God and was faithful to God.
You cannot divorce holiness and righteousness from compassion.
Finally – the Good Samaritan is an awful title for this parable – and we should never use it again! Why? What does the title imply? That most Samaritans are bad! That is how we think! Have you ever been in a situation where someone of a different persuasion – of a different group or kind – acts more like God than the people who are supposed to act like God? And we think this way – that’s a good Samaritan – as opposed to the rest, who are not!
We had the National Day of Prayer at Lion’s Park – with 8 or 9 pastors from different circumstances or conditions – Everyone led in one area of prayer – and you know what their tradition is – and you wonder what THEY are going to say.
The Charismatic – the fundamentalist kind of guy – got up and led us in the Lord’s Prayer. The Millennial Pastor – with tattoos and a church into social justice – talked about how God was saving people all over the world – and that is His plan.
And with each one – I went – WOW! You get these 8 or 9 diverse people speaking about what God is doing – and I was a little convicted.
Full Message: gracesummit.org/Messages/20190512