Daily Spirit & Word, 427: Who Do You Know That Needs A Neighbour?
The Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Praise the LORD for today is the day we gather together to worship Him. In my home country Scotland, we call it “The Lord’s Day”. When I was a boy no shops opened on a Sunday, no bars, pubs or restaurants, because Sunday was a day of rest and lots of people attended church. It meant planning for you couldn’t just pop along to a shop to buy things like; mild, bread, butter or sugar. If you did run out of those things on a Sunday, that’s when you needed to know your neighbours, so you could borrow them.
As I read through the Bible text today, a question struck me; “Who do you know Donald that is in desperate need of a good neighbour today?”
Let’s read it now;
Luke 10:25-37 25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered: ” ‘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 neighbour as yourself.’ ”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half-dead.
31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33 But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.
34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, 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. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
The Expert in the Law:
This ‘expert’ was not someone who knew all about Civil Law, but someone who was an ‘expert’ in God’s Law. Jewish Law was made up of the first five books of the Old Testament, often called the Torah; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Most times when they came to Jesus with a question they came with a question to try and test Jesus or trip him up to see if He’d make a foolish mistake in interpreting or applying the Law, then they’d have reason to either put Jesus to death or make him out to look like a fool in the eyes of everyone. This was such an occasion, for the ‘expert’ in the Law “Stood up to test Jesus”.
This indicated to me that he must have been sitting down with Jesus, probably in a group with others, because why would he try and test Jesus on his own? He’d want to show, in front of others that this man, who claimed to be the Son of God, the Messiah, the Son of Man, was an imposter and a fool. That’s the kind of test or trap he’d set for Jesus.
The Expert’s Question:
When the Expert in the Law asked, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He was not as we might imagine acknowledging Jesus as his teacher, but a ‘teacher of people’. For that is what Jesus did. The text says he was an expert in the law, therefore, he probably thought he knew the Law of God, better than this illiterate, unlearned (Jesus never attended any highly respected school of Rabbinical teaching) and unenlightened man.
He seemed to know the answer, before he ever asked Jesus the question. That’s what it means to try and trip someone up, knowing the ‘right’ answer, and trying and make him out to be a fool.
The LORD’S Response:
Jesus, as was His custom when confronted with a sneaky, tricky, twisted question asked another question in response, “What is written in the law?” “How do you read it?”
Jesus is asking a very important question here; “What is written in the law”: He saying to the expert, “What does God say is required to gain or merit eternal life?”
Jesus very often, when asked questions by people; even genuine questions, checked their understanding of God’s Law. You see Jesus knew the Old Testament was God’s Word and must be obeyed and applied to life, so he asked the ‘Expert’ a further question, “How do you read it?” He’s saying, “OK, ‘Expert in the Law’, What does the Law say and what does the Law mean?”
Jesus also knew something many Christians don’t know today; that a Jewish ‘Expert’ in the Law, would have attended one of the Rabbinical Schools of Thought (Rabbi was someone who taught the people and expounded upon God’s Law; it was his task to interpret the law and apply it to daily living). Each School of Thought had slightly different interpretations of God’s Law and this often led to very heated debates amongst rival Rabbis.
So when Jesus asked this question, He knew that when this so called expert responded, Jesus would know which school of thought he’d been trained in.
Clergymen: In the Church of England, there are different schools of thought too:
- Anglo-Catholic (Almost Roman Catholic, but not quite).
- Liberal: This is a group made up of partly Catholic orthodox in practice, but loose in belief or dogma.
- Evangelical: Made up of Reformed, Evangelical and Charismatic believers.
Each group normally attends a Theological School of Thought based upon their pre-determined convictions.
It’s weird when we gather together and try to figure each other out, sometimes we’ll get asked by another, “Where did you train for the Ministry?” Upon getting the answer they’ll know what our convictions are, and sometimes it’s rather sad. I was asked once and when I responded the man simply said “Oh” (As if he’d smelt rotten eggs) and he walked away from me.
“The Golden Rule”
So when Jesus asked this question, whatever the man responded with, Jesus would know if his question was a genuine one or not. His first response seemed to indicate he was on the right track towards Heaven and Eternal Life. He responded with what had come to be known as; “The Golden Rule”
He answered: ” ‘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 neighbour as yourself.’ “
We say this almost every week here in St Luke’s Church before we have a time of Confession.
What does it mean?
Where does it come from?
The Golden Rule: Love God: Love Neighbour.
“Do unto others, what you’d want them to do for you”…
The Way To Eternal Life:
The Expert Knew The Answer: But didn’t want to live by what he knew was right.
Luke 10:29. “But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?””
When we speak of eternal life, and the way to obtain it, in a careless manner as this Pharisee did, then we’re standing in judgement over God’s revealed will. It as if the man thought he knew better than God’s Word did.
You see my friends, no one will ever LOVE God completely as the Commandments Demand, neither will anyone be able to LOVE his neighbour as he loves himself. We can’t do these two things with any measure of pure, spiritual love in our own human strength, because it will always be tainted with sin.
It’s not until we’ve been born of God, by the Holy Spirit of God, that we can do it. We can only love God by the power and strength and renewal of Spirit of God. In order to LOVE God as the Scriptures Demand, we must first be changed into one of God’s Children. We need His Grace which is obtained by Faith.
The Proud of Heart: Will never see it.
But the proud heart of man strives hard against these convictions. They’ll always try to JUSTIFY THEMSELVES.
That’s why Jesus clarified the LAW for this Pharisee: This Expert in God’s Law. He knew it, but was self-righteously standing in judgement over it.
Why did Jesus use the LAW? Because the right understanding of the LAW of God, will reveal that we can never be justified in our own strength, because no one can wholeheartedly live according to God’s Holy LAW.
Acts 13:38-39 “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. 39 Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.“
We can NEVER be Justified or Earn a Place in Heaven, by trying to live according to God’s Law, Moses (first five books of the Bible). Why, because the LAW doesn’t take care of SIN. Sin still clings to the human heart, until it’s washed away by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In this Parable of the Good Samaritan: Jesus Christ gave an instance of a poor Jewish man in distress, who was given relief by a good Samaritan. This poor man fell among thieves, who left him about to die of his wounds.
He was ignored by those who should have been his friends, the Priest and the Levite (People who claimed to know God’s Law, just like this ‘Expert’ who was questioning Jesus) and was instead cared for by a stranger, a Samaritan, of the nation which the Jews most despised and detested, and would have no dealings with. They believed the Samaritans to be beyond hope of being brought into God’s Family of Believers.
Oh my friends, it is really distressing to discover how selfishness governs the hearts of most people today.
Just like this Pharisee, the Expert in God’s Law; how many excuses will we make to avoid our DUTY to CARE, Revealed in God’s Law of LOVE?
We avoid caring for others as the Bible and God’s Word and God wants, because it will mean; commitment, time, trouble and expense in helping others.
- However, the true Christian is one who has God’s law of love written in his heart.
- The Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ dwells within a true Christian.
- We’re being made into the likeness of Jesus Christ by the Holy Spirit, we’ll become more and more like Jesus Christ. That’s what RENEWAL means. That’s what REVIVAL means.
This Parable of the Good Samaritan is a BEAUTIFUL EXAMPLE of the GOLDEN RULE: How we should love others as ourselves. God’s LAW of loving Him first and loving our neighbour as ourselves.
A Christian will love someone without even thinking about;
- which Nation they come from,
- which Political Party they belong to,
- which Religious Affiliations they may have; Jew, Muslim, Jehovah’s Witness, Catholic, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist,
A truly CONVERTED and BORN AGAIN Christian will GIVE ASSISTANCE to ANYONE, REGARDLESS.
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, LIKE THE GOOD SAMARITAN:
Finally, the Parable of the Good Samaritan REVEALS the DEPTH of the kindness and love of God and of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ towards; sinful people like you and me.
How? Because, in our NATURAL STATE: Before we come to Christ, we were like this poor, distressed Jewish traveller. We were set upon and beaten up by our great enemy Satan. He had robbed us of the knowledge of the Saviour, Blinded us to the Gospel, and wounded us by tempting us to sin: That’s what SIN has done for mankind and Satan wants to keep us in that darkness too.
Then through His GRACE, MERCY, KINDNESS, LOVE AND FAITHFULNESS, Your beloved Lord Jesus Christ (Like the Good Samaritan) had compassion upon you.
How Did Jesus Show Compassion?
- He bound up your wounds; “By His stripes you have been healed” When Jesus died upon the Cross, your sins were forgiven and washed away when you TRUSTED Him as your SAVIOUR.
- His blood shed upon the CROSS Cleanses us from ALL SIN.
- Jesus Christ gives us a chance of NEW LIFE, rather than ETERNAL DEATH.
- Finally, like the Good Samaritan who paid the innkeeper for the wounded traveller, Jesus paid the price so that you can stay with God forever, being cared for and having every tear wiped away by Him in Heaven.
The believer considers that Jesus loved him, and gave his life for him, even whilst we were still his enemy and a rebel; and Jesus having shown us His mercy, encourages us by His Holy Spirit and by the Word of God, to go and do likewise.
Romans 5:6-8 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
THE BELIEVER IN CHRIST, LIKE THE GOOD SAMARITAN.
It is the duty of every Christian,
it is the impulse of every Christian,
it is the hearts desire of every true Christian to LOVE like Jesus loves us.
We’ll do it;
in our homes, being a good neighbour to our family.
in our places of work, being a good neighbour to our workmates,
in our neighbourhood, being a good neighbour to those who live around us,
in our country and nation and world, being a good neighbour to everybody, regardless of who they are.
How will we do it? We’ll want to help them, if we are able, to relieve their distress, bind up their wounds, heal the sick, drive out demons, give to the poor, be generous, welcoming, hospitable, kind, and show peace to everybody.
You can’t do that without first coming to Jesus Christ, to be forgiven, cleansed and renewed by His Holy Spirit, He’ll then pour into your hearts that same love that He has for everyone.
What’s Amazing About Jesus?
He used every challenge or trap set for Him by the Pharisees and Sadducees, Experts in the LAW; as an opportunity to open up the Law of God and reveal God’s way of understanding it and applying it to life. WOWzer! You can do that too my friends, when you face challenges, traps or tricks of men. When they question you about why you would trust in Jesus today. Open up God’s Law to reveal their heart’s condition and show them the way of Salvation.
My friends, you’ve hopefully seen the Parable of the Good Samaritan in a new light.
Let’s get RENEWED first, before we become religious.
We need to make certain that we’re saved, before we try to be saved or live like a Christian.
The Good Samaritan HEART is available from Jesus Christ, do you want to love others like Jesus did?
Who do you know who needs a Good Neighbour?
“Go and do thou likewise”
Have an awesome Sunday,
Trust in and Worship the LORD with all your heart, lean not upon your own understanding (of God’s Law), in all your ways acknowledge HIM and He will direct your paths through life.
Today’s reading can be found here: