The Good Samaritan
I worked on a sermon yesterday and my wife asked me to preach it to her when I finished it. I thought I might as well share it with Facebook in a compact version. My text is Luke 10: 25-37, "The Good Samaritan."
This is one of my favorite parables that Jesus taught. A Jewish man was taking a trip alone and was attacked by robbers. They beat him, robbed him of everything he had, and left him nearly dead beside the road. After a while, a Jewish priest came along and saw the poor man lying beside the road. As a religious man, you would expect him to stop and do what he could to help. But, instead, he kept going and pretended he did not see. Later, a Levite came along. Levites were assistants to the priests, so you would expect him to stop and help, too. But, he did just like the priest and kept on going.
Finally, a Samaritan man came by. Even though they both lived in the land of Palestine and shared a similar religion, the Jews and the Samaritans definitely did not think of each other as "neighbors." In fact, they hated each other. The Samaritans came from a different race of people than the Jews. They had considered each other enemies for hundreds of years and refused to even talk to each other!
You would expect the Samaritan man to be the one who just passed by without helping. Instead, this Samaritan man took pity on the injured Jewish man. He bandaged his wounds. He put him on his own donkey and took him to an inn where he could be safe and recover. Since the injured man had been robbed of everything he had, the Samaritan man even paid his bill at the inn and paid the innkeeper to take good care of him!
Notice how the Priest and the Levite saw the wounded man but passed him by without helping him. Those were religious representatives of Judaism who would have been expected to be models of “neighbor” to the victim who they passed by. Notice I used the word religious. That is exactly what we have in so many of our churches today disguised as Christianity.
There were many lessons Jesus was teaching in this parable but the main one was that we should count no human being a stranger. This should be the difference between Christianity and Judaism, between Christianity and Islam, Christianity and Buddhism, or Hinduism, or Confucianism or RELIGION.
Several years ago I preached a sermon on this and used a story told of a man who fell into a pit and could not get out. Buddha passed by. “Poor fellow,” he said. “You must have been very foolish to get into a mess like that.” And he went on his way.
Confucius passed by and saw the poor man in the pit and said, “I’m no sorry to see you down there. Why don’t you think of a way to get out.”
Mohammed passed by. He said, “I am very sorry that I cannot get you out of the pit, but if you ever do get out I may be able to give you some good advice and rules which will keep you from falling in again.”
And then Jesus of Nazareth passed by and saw the poor man. He said nothing, but got down into the pit with the man and lifted him out.
We Christians pat ourselves on the back when we come together as a church to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless but what about those in our own midst who are wounded, broken, robbed and left alone? We're quick to give advice but don't ask us to take pity, bandage your wounds, put you on our donkey and to get personally involved in taking care of you until you recover. We're too busy and besides we do great works through the church.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:22-23
I close with Matthew 25:31-46:
31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
It's great that we the church help the down and out on the outside but many times we're guilty of shutting our eyes and hearts to the down and out on the inside. There is a great difference between Religions good works and Christianity's love!
Lord, I pray that this will mark a change in our hearts to reach out and help those who have been wounded, robbed and left for dead in our own midst. I pray Father that you raise up men and women in the churches who will give of themselves to help nourish Brothers and Sisters who have been wounded and robbed. May we have hearts of compassion that will show pity and love, to help those who have fallen into a deep, dark, damp pit. Father, I pray for those who are now in that pit of despair, that they will cry out and some good Samaritan will hear their cry and come to their aid. Lord open our eyes and ears because the need is all around us. We love you Lord and may this mini sermon touch someone's heart today! Love you all!