July 10, 2016.
Bible reference is Luke 10: 25-37 'The Good Samaritan' story.
So this morning we heard a familiar story, that’s for sure,
but the tale of the Good Samaritan really tells us much more.
Much more than just to be nice to our fellow man,
or to try to do as many good deeds as best as we can.
So let’s dissect this parable that’s so often told,
and see how what Jesus says to us is actually very bold.
You see, between Samaritans and Jews there was no love lost,
they would never say anything good about the other at any cost.
So the lawyer who asks Jesus the original question this day,
would for a Samaritan person have nothing but bad things to say.
But he is being the student to Jesus the teacher extraordinaire,
to find out if God and His judgment will really be fair.
The lawyer wants to be right with the man up above,
but wants to base his merit more on ‘keeping rules’ than of ‘love’.
So as he puts the question to Jesus about his salvation,
thinking already his good behavior has him on the way to that station.
By trying to do all the Commandments as he thinks that he should,
he has judged himself already to be…..well,….pretty darn good!
But Jesus, although lauding the lawyers good deeds,
says being right with God is more than just what the law needs.
So Jesus tells this story, and just for emphasis to support his case,
Jesus insults two religious experts and gets right in the lawyer’s face.
See the lawyer would have thought that the pious were pure,
and that anything they did would help them enter heaven’s door.
But Jesus, when talking about the man who was beaten and robbed,
made the holy Levite and priest who passed by both look like a slob.
Because instead of helping the beaten man who was left in the ditch,
the ‘holy’ ones just treated him like some dirty poor son of a ..…witch.
They didn’t avoid him out of hatred or meanness they felt on that date,
they just thought that his condition would their holiness contaminate.
A priest was forbidden for any bloodied person to touch,
and for a Levite to do so;…same thing,…that was just too much.
Thus, on their way they continued to wherever they went,
acting indifferent and avoiding their possible defilement.
So Jesus starts off the lawyer with a profound suggestion,
that the pious ones were wrong for their non-compassionate rejection.
Rejection of what Jesus says God wants all of us to do,
which is show kindness and mercy to more than just the few.
That means a ‘neighbor’ is more than just family and friend,
it’s the stranger, the outcast, or anyone to whom a hand we can lend.
To make his point about what God’s grace looks like when its seen,
Jesus’ hero in the story is one his listeners would’ve never dreamed.
Jesus says the Samaritan, turns out, was the only one who dared,
to show the love of God by exhibiting how much he cared.
It was not the supposed religious ones who did what was right,
but the one who Jesus’ listeners considered abhorrent in their sight.
A “loser” they’d have called Samaritan in their harsh biased judgment,
but turns out his behavior was (more than theirs) quite heaven sent.
Jesus tells them (and us) that God’s love can be often shown and felt,
by a Spirit-led person more than holy ones whose hearts cannot melt.
It’s a concept that says everyone matters regardless of who they are,
that we show the same love to all in places both near as well as far.
So the point of Jesus’ story was not just to be nice and kind,
but that a “neighbor” who we’re to help can be anyone you might find.
They might be of a different religion, country, orientation, or race,
as they enter our lives; at work, on vacation, and all over the place.
When we draw lines or make categories of who we’ll be serving,
Jesus reminds us that God’s love thru us sees everyone as deserving.
The Christian, the Muslim, the Buddhist and the Jew,
The one who never goes to church along with the one in the pew.
Out neighbor is a Trump fan or the one who sees Hilary as great,
its the cop, the black protestor, the criminal and the magistrate.
Its the one who is rich or owns a luxury house at the shore,
as well as the homeless or hungry person who just wants a little more.
Jesus’ dictate was that God wants us to love not just me and you,
but that His commandment of love includes all our neighbors too.
So we don’t differentiate who on earth gets our compassion and love,
just like God (thankfully) doesn’t qualify who gets it from above.