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Jesus and The lawyer 

“Who is my neighbor”

Luke 10:25-37

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?

27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 

32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 

34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 

35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 

36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Introduction:

Jesus has been working in the community as an activist teaching and preaching, healing and feeding, changing hearts and minds, exposing the ills of the Roman occupation and the flaws in the Jewish religious Laws.

He has done nothing wrong, but developed a following and in his following he has created some haters….

In this text today one of those haters …whom the Bible calls a “certain lawyer,”

Questions Jesus while he is on mission for the Kingdom of God.

He tries to trick him into saying something that might expose him into being a false teacher.

His question was … “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?The lawyer then said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

Jesus said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

But the Lawyer wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Observation:

There is something very diabolical about this interaction… He doesn’t really want to inherit eternal life… He doesn’t really want to know what the Master thinks… 

He wants to expose Jesus, do harm to his ministry and movement… He wants to see him fall because he is a hater!

He hates Jesus for what he has been doing; helping the poor, giving a voice to the voiceless, lifting up those who were looked over and stepped on. 

Jesus was defeating devils in the temple and outside of the temple… and there was a satanic system at work to keep men oppressed, in slaved to their vices and trapped in a system of air-tight suppression.

You could say people were living with a system on their necks… and they couldn’t breathe.

Jesus had come to liberate man, but here this lawyer was trying to defeat the liberator… That’s when Jesus exposes the lawyers understanding of the law, through the use of a modern day parable… 

Jesus lifts the veil on the true meaning of the text, opens up the answer for social injustice, and reveals the heart of the gospel through the acts of compassion for the least and the lost.

There are three things I would like to look at in this verse, a certain man’s problem, a certain man’s paradox and a certain man’s passion.

  1. A Certain Mans Problem

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 

Note:

When we arrive at the parable we see Jesus introduce to us a traveler with a destination… he has a journey, he is a member of the human race and he is on his way some where in life.

Secondly, he is traveling on a dangerous road. This road from Jerusalem to Jericho was known to be a road where devilish things could happen to you. [It was called the Jericho pass]

Some believe that it is a picture of the fast lane in life. The lane where you never know what’s gonna happen to you, and you never know who’s going to be the one to harm you, hinder you, hold you up or hold you down…The fast lane is the lane where every thing that comes to you, comes with a price, and it comes with a problem…

I find it interesting that there is always a fast lane conveniently available when you are trying to do what’s right by God, or living in the community with God. Its a lane filled with temptations…

Let me explain….

This road was in between Jerusalem and Jericho…

Jerusalem was known for being the city of God, religious activity, feast days, Holy-days and the place where the religious traveller came to do business with God.

Jericho on the other hand, was known for being the place where you could go to have a good time…Jericho was known for being the place where you could let your hair down….

Jericho had a reputation….What happens in Jericho usually stayed in Jericho. [it was the Vegas of northern Palestine]

In fact …it is said that when you went to visit Jerusalem you went up in geographical direction, but when you went to visit Jericho you went down geographically.

Metaphorically speaking…going up describes the process of getting before the Lord…but going down describes the process of getting away from God….

Isn’t that what we say about the house of God… Im going up to worship…and I go down from there to do other things…

Here it is…

We don't know much about this man, but what we do know is that he left the Holy City [Jerusalem] to go down to the place where trouble could be found.

Thirdly, on his way, the Bible says that he fell among thieves… This road to Jericho was known for caravans of robbers who hung out to commit robbery along the Jericho pass…

This certain man was caught slipping on his way to Jericho, he was beaten, robbed and left on the side of the road half dead.

Application:

When I look at this text, I can’t help but draw a picture of humanity today… 

Somebody you and I know today have left their place of safety to travel on the fast lane of life… and on their way they have fell into the hands of thieves…

Thieves who have robbed them of their looks, their health, their self esteem, their resources, their talents, their visions and dreams, their sobriety, their virginity, their common since,  their youth, their heritage and beat them, robbed them and left them for dead…

  • Isn’t the wicked one just like this?
  • Won’t the devil rob you of your godly wealth and heritage?
  • Won’t he strip you of what’s valuable?
  • Won’t he attempt to kill you?
  • Won’t he attempt to wipe you out?
  • Isn’t he known as a robber, thief, killer and more?

This certain man in the text had a problem! This certain man in the text had his life altered! The certain man in the text is about to die a horrific death… He has become a Jericho statistic… another innocent life snuffed out at the systemic danger along the Jericho road.

He didn’t asked to be robbed, he wasn’t  looking to be robbed…he wasn’t looking to be a victim…he was robbed while walking, he was robbed while living… he was robbed while trying to do life…

This left him at a deficit…he couldn’t help himself, he couldn’t fight off the system that had oppressed so many by himself for himself…

This man needed help. This man needed protection. This man needed a doctor. This man needed resources. This man needed a savior. This man needed Justice, but none of these things could be found….This certain man, just like so many other people in life has a problem that he can’t solve…and my heart is wounded for his despicable plight in a wicked situation…

We have looked at a certain mans problem, let's look now at a certain man’s paradox. 

II. A Certain man’s Paradox

31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 

32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 

Note:

When we come to this portion of the narrative, we see a twist in the parable. Jesus introduces us to two new characters…. They are on the same road, on the same journey, going down to Jericho to do only what God knows…

They have also left Jerusalem and jumped in the fast lane of life. We know a little more about them than we do the first man…

First of all… These two men are professional men. They are men who serve in the field of religion. One of them is a priest, and the other is a levite.

They have power, position, privilege, prominence, pride, persuasive points and perspectives and most of all people who depend on them to point them in the right way in life…Yet here they are, going down to the place, where perhaps no one knows who they are or why they are in Jericho!

Can I say some more?

Secondly, the Paradox of this passage is that they had a professional career of saving people who were hurting… they worked for God, to bandage up the wounds of the soul from the vices of sin…Yet when they get alone on the dangerous road of the fast lane … they refuse to use their professional credentials and get involved with the brokenness of humanity…

The first Man [the priest] comes upon the scene of the crime… he is alone, he is able to make a difference, he is aware of the Law of God… yet instead, because he thinks no one is looking …he does what a priest should never do…

he saw him, he passed by on the other side…”

Here it is…

The preacher was derelict in his calling to help somebody who was dying…

  • The preacher was derelict in his ministry to minister to the one who needed his ministry…
  • The preacher was derelict to serve the one whom evil people had harmed and left to heal himself…

The preacher could've done something…he could’ve been neighborly and got involved like the Law of God commanded him to….

But instead he kept silent…

  • The preacher saw him, but he kept silent… 
  • The preacher saw him but he wouldn’t open his mouth or extend his hand…
  • The preacher saw him but he wouldn’t get involved, he didn’t want to be neighborly…
  • The preacher saw his humanity, but he didn’t think that his life mattered…
  • The preacher was willing to let him die on the unjust road to Jericho…

Application

When I look at this text beloved… I see a parallel to the crisis in our country today…

To many people of color have been robbed, victimized, mistreated, by systems that oppress them and thieves who have abused them, and they have been left on the unjust road of life to die without support, service and salvation

I can’t help but see how people who say that they love God, has seen their plight, has looked on them, has been made aware of their victimization… but has chosen to remain silent…

While they die in agony, die alone, die in unbelieving circumstances, die a victim at the hands of brutal thieves who came to steal, kill and destroy…

I got a problem with this paradox

I got a problem because people who claim to work for God ought to help you if your life has been destroyed by a system that opposes God… 

They ought not leave you lying there and watch you die … when they have the means and the resources to help pick you up and make life better for you on your road to death and dying…

People who claim to work for God and who lead religious movements ought to be the first ones who are willing to be your neighbor in the face of persecution and suffering.

What a paradox….. Can I say some more…?

The other man in this verse was a religious teacher… he study the law of God, interpreted it and wrote books about it…

He knew what it said and was responsible for others doing what it said and applying it to their lives…

Yet, when he got on the Jericho-pass… he left his commitment to living out the law back in Jerusalem…

The bible says that he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 

This levite did more than the priest did… he came over to where the man was… and examined him

Here it is…

He came to see if he knew him… He came to see if he had him in his “Torah classes”… and when he didn’t recognize him, he kept on going down to Jericho to take care of his own business…

Here it is….

The levite is not innocent…. He could’ve done something…he could’ve been neighborly and got involved like the Law of God commanded him to….

But instead he kept silent

  • He examined him, but he kept silent… 
  • He examined him but he wouldn’t open his mouth or extend his hand…
  • He examined him but he wouldn’t get involved, he didn’t want to be neighborly…
  • He too saw his humanity, but he didn’t think that his life mattered…
  • He too was willing to let him die on the unjust road to Jericho…

Application:

Once again let me say this….

I got a problem with this paradox…I got a problem because people who say they work for God, or that they know God ought to help you if your life has been destroyed by thieves and robbers… They ought not leave you lying there and watch you die …People who are God fearing and who teach the words of God ought to be the first ones who are willing to be your neighbor in the face of persecution and suffering.

What a horrible thing to do to people…if you have been endowed with resources, and training, calling and professional credentials…you ought to be on the first line of defense…

You ought to be a first responder for the victims on the road down to Jericho…

You ought not be so quick to get your business done in Jericho, that you can’t stop and help somebody who has been attacked, ambushed, robbed, violated, victimized by thieves who have come to steal, kill and destroy…

These two men, forgot that they too were on the same road… they forgot that the same misfortune that happen to this man, could also happen to them…

They forgot that they were just as vulnerable … just because they claimed to work for God and had credentials that said so, didn’t think that they same criminals who hurt this man, could also be laying in the ‘cutt’ to hurt them too….

Can I get a witness?

We have looked at the problems of a certain man, and we have examined the paradox of two other men. Let's look now at the passion of a certain man. 

III. A Certain Man’s Passion

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 

34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 

35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 

Note:

When we come to this portion of the parable, Jesus introduces us to a certain Samaritan man who had compassion.

He was a man who displayed his love and concern for the stranger. He was a good neighbor in the time of need.

The first thing we see is as an outsider… he is a rejected man of color from another neighborhood. 

The Jews didn’t like samaritans… He was not a member of the clergy or the religious community that claimed to work for God.

He was just a brother on the same road heading to the same place to do whatever a brother did going down to Jericho

  • The difference between him and the others he was awoke… 
  • He could see suffering when he came upon it… 
  • He could get involved in spite of it inconveniencing him… 
  • He could stop what he was doing to help somebody that didn’t look like him… 

He didn’t have the credentials or the calling, but he had the compassion to help in spite of not knowing the full story….

Here it is…

  • He could get involved even though he hadn't experienced the robbery personally…. 
  • He could get involved because he cared… 
  • He could get involved because he understood that suffering at he hands of others was wrong for any culture, and any people at any place and any time…
  • He didn’t take a look and keep going… 
  • He didn’t see it but keep silent… 
  • He stepped up and stepped in and gave a hand at the injustice that was done to his neighbor…

Can I say some more

This brother took his resources… and attempted to heal the wounds of the victim…Look at the text…

He gave him some wine, to take the edge off of his pain… He wanted him to be comforted while he bandaged the wounds and the painful parts of his flesh that was in need of healing…

He then poured oil on the places that needed to be cared for…

Oil and wine were both used for medicinal purposes… and both used for the ointment of love to help recover a life that was almost destroyed on the Jericho pass…

He bandaged him…ministered to him, cared for him… looked after him, right in the place of the crime….

Secondly, he picked him and carried him to town… in other words he used his own transportation… didn’t wait to somebody else arrived to help him…

He used his own stuff…his own stash, his own spending money for Jericho to help a stranger who had nothing to give and nothing to offer.

 

Thirdly, when he got to Jericho, he took him to an inn… and the bible said he took care of him there…

Here it is… 

He postponed his Jericho activities so he could care for the one who had nobody… this brother was neighborly because he felt the pain of the victim…

Lastly, he said to the inn keeper, here is the money for “my brother” to stay a few more nights… can you feed him for me?

… And when I return I will take care of you for what other expenses he may have incurred…

In other words, he recruits and rewards others in his ministry of compassion and concern… He solicited help for his friend…and then he funded the ministry out of his own pocket…

This brother models what it looks like to love your neighbor, as you love your self….

Application:

We can learn a lot from him today…we could learn that it matters how we see people in life… it matters that we engage with those who have been unjustly mistreated…

It matters that we invest, serve, engage, and resource ministry for those who are hurting, hated and devastated by the enemies of our souls…

Well I got to leave you now, but Jesus tells this story to this arrogant Lawyer, who was a hater on a mission to discredit his ministry…

He tells it to teach him a lesson about compassion for others, the law and what it means to truly love God, and love man like yourself….Conclusion:

36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Note:

 As we come to the close of this text… the Master questions the Lawyer again, now that he has been introduced to a picture of what it means to be neighborly…

The lawyer answers correctly “he who shows mercy on him”… 

Jesus then says now if you still want to know who is your neighbor… go and show mercy to every one you come in contact with…

This beloved was a powerful demonstration and teaching moment… the Masters story revealed the true motif and heart of the lawyer…

But he also revealed the picture of a savior…

 You see the Samaritan man in this story was also a type of Christ…

He came out of a lowly city, was a stranger and a outcast, travelled the dangerous roads of life, looking to save and rescue people left for dead by the thieves and robbers of this old world…

When he finds them, he pours out his resources into their lives, restores, rescues, revives and then reconcile them to others and returns to reward those who minister for him while he is away….Jesus was the Savior in this story… he had come down from Heaven to suffer, bleed and die to rescue all of humanity…

Out on the cross he paid the price for our sins… He was buried, and raised again on the first day of the week.He is the good samaritan … he is the one who loves all men, and who calls all men, and who desires to save all men.

Didn’t he save you one day, found you wounded on the highway of life…

Half dead, broken in pieces, inebriated, incarcerated, lonely, bleeding, with a broken heart…

Didn’t he find you all alone, and in need of a savior? Did he pour his Spirit in you? Didn’t he give you the joy [wine] of the lord for your wounds…

Didn’t he lead you to a church and ask the servant to feed you and take care of you until he returns…

He is mighty good God and he is mighty to Save! 

 

   

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