“Do this and you will live.” Luke 10:28
“If it’s important to God, it’s clear in His word!” My theme for the Bible; my confidence in His word; my method for dealing with what I don’t understand in His word; IF it’s important—it’s clear! So today’s “command” is pretty clear—do THIS and you will live. Now, all I have to do this morning is figure out what the “this” is and—I’ll live!! Pretty simple yea!?
“A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and he fell among thieves who beat him and left him by the side of the road half dead….” The story is quite familiar and I enjoyed my personal encounter with the story in a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho a few years ago (actually, we went from Jericho to Jerusalem so we went “UP” but it was the same road!) There’s even a “Samaritan’s Inn” along the way which is NOT the same inn that the good Samaritan took the man to (because this one looks like it was built in the 20th century) but it was a good reminder as I traveled that road that THIS was the place Jesus talked about in His answer to the “expert in the law,” who wanted to know how to gain eternal life. Jesus first answered the question with a question (He was good at that- not giving answers before He asked people to think!)
“How do I inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the law?”
“Love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. And love my neighbor like I do myself.”
“You’re right—DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.”
“And, who is my neighbor?”
And then the story from Jesus of the good Samaritan. One beat up man; three illustrations of “who is my neighbor?”
1. A priest- a leader in the church
2. A Levite- a worker in the church
3. A Samaritan- a person of a different “religious” persuasion who was despised by those who thought they “owned” the true religion of God.
The first two passed the victim by, “on the other side of the road,” for various possible reasons:
1. They were too busy with their work for God that they didn’t have time
2. They were controlled by their laws that said they would be defiled and unable to do their “work” for the church if the guy was dead and they touched him.
3. He might be a gentile whom they despised and hated- (what a great attitude to have as I work and demonstrate God’s love- to hate people who are not like me!)
4. I’m sure there are more excuses!
So two passed by a need and a chance to show kindness SO THAT they could keep “working for and serving their god.” (and I intentionally did NOT capitalized god because I don’t think this attitude illustrates the true God!)
Then along comes a Samaritan, despised and hated by the Jews because “those people” believed something different about God than they did. And he showed mercy and kindness to the man, taking care of him and even going so far as to take him to the Inn and pay for his extended care!
And now, in answer to your question, “And who is my neighbor? You tell me,” said Jesus.
“The one who showed mercy.” The “expert in the law” couldn’t even say Samaritan for fear that it might sound like swearing to the Jews! “The ONE who showed mercy.” To which Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”
So, do WHAT and I will live?
1. Love God supremely
2. Love my neighbor like you do myself
And who is my neighbor? ANYONE who needs my help that I can help. And by “doing likewise,” I can “inherit eternal life.” Any questions?
Have a great day “going and doing likewise” with the clarity of God’s word in that which is important,
Quote for the day: “Caring is NOT a spectator sport.” Lilya Wagner
PS Wednesdays @ 7 Prayer meeting in the church with Pastor Ron Halvorsen Jr. Heritage Room in the basement of the church.
PPS Wednesdays @ 8 “Laboring Youth for Christ.” Student Center.