Friday, June 07, 2013

Saved by the Good Samaritan

How many times have we all heard the story of the Good Samaritan? It's so familiar that the phrase has entered our general cultural vocabulary, even for non-Christians. But I'll bet you haven't heard the story like my husband told it last Sunday.

It was Steve's turn to give the New Testament reading at church, and he was assigned a section of Luke that included this familiar parable. After initially figuring he'd focus on one of the other parts, he started to see the story in a new light, so on Sunday, he offered the following meditation. It blew me away. Best Good Samaritan sermon I've ever heard, and he accomplished it in less than five minutes. The rest of this post (after the Scripture) is all Steve's words.
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)
In this section, the lawyer asks Jesus what he must do to be saved. However, Jesus doesn’t answer that question directly--it seems He rarely does. Instead, Jesus answers by describing the actions of one who is part of the kingdom of Heaven. Jesus describes the fruit of the man, not the law that he is following.

Yet in a roundabout way, Jesus does answer the question of how one must be saved. In this parable, the Righteous Outcast must come and collect those who are wounded beyond hope. He must clean and wrap the wounds of the broken, at great cost to Himself. He must pay the full price for making men whole, from the beginning of the process to the end.

We are the Jew in the ditch, and Jesus is our Good Samaritan.

And notice, when the Samaritan leaves, the Jew has not yet fully recovered. Yet there is a promise of a return, when the healing will be complete.

Let us rejoice today, for our wounds have been cleansed and wrapped by Jesus, and though we are still broken, we have the promise of full, unimaginable healing when He returns.

1 comment:

Zoanna said...

Wow, that's powerful. How insightful! I remember wondering, as a little girl, why the good man would do all that but then leave the man's side with only a promise he'd be back. But even as an adult, I have never seen the Samaritan as anyone but a perceived human enemy doing good . Till just now.