GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, OUR SAVIOR
TEXT: Luke 10: 25-37
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
I woke up on Friday morning to the awful news from Dallas about how police were targeted and gunned down by an evil man. It left me cold and very sad. I also thought: “Perhaps this Sunday I should free text it, or pick another lesson from the Bible which is pertinent to the moment at hand, and preach on that lesson. After all, God’s people need to be comforted and our balkanized nation needs to be healed by Godly truth.”
To be sure, the farther we creep away from the Christian influence upon our nation’s populace, the more evil, grotesque, and divided we become. However, Christianity doesn’t divide people, it unites them under God. It says that we’re all sinners who all need to repent, believe, and be saved. It says that no one escapes God’s judgment for their evil, and we’re all answerable to Him. It says that Godly order and sober judgement are far preferable to chaos and death. It says that although humans may look at the outward appearance, God always sees the heart. Because of all this, I decided we didn’t need a free text today; we as Americans need one of those “meat and potatoes” texts, like the one before us, to reorder our own hearts and thus help calm our nation. So, I challenge you and all your fellow citizens to heed Christ’s words here and to GO AND DO LIKEWISE.
The story of the Good Samaritan is known by all, or should be—especially today. It’s not a story of division, of playing favorites, of prejudice. It’s a tale of mercy and compassion. It’s a story of basic respect for all human beings regardless of race, creed, color, or socio-economic status. We all know that Jews and Samaritans didn’t get along. They basically hated each other, so much so that orthodox Jews would not even walk through the region of Samaria because they felt thereby they would be dirtied and made unclean before God. It was an ancient religious dispute, an ethnic dispute that had hardened over the centuries.
The road between Jerusalem and Jericho was notorious for bandits and outlaws. No one was surprised when Christ picked it for the background of His parable. This Jewish merchant is set upon by thieves on the road. No surprise there. They leave him in sorry shape—stripped, bleeding, penniless, and hurting. Next, two “Godly” men come along separately. One is a priest, one is a Levite, or a temple worker. Both ignore his plight and “pass by on the other side” of the road. They don’t want to get involved. They don’t want to take the time to help another in need. Finally, a Samaritan merchant also plods into view. He stops, helps, takes a day or two away from his job, and even foots the bill of providing lodging for this hurting soul. He knows the fellow he is helping is a Jew. He knows crossing this ethnic line is a no-no in that society. But, he does it anyway. Christ’s question to those in attendance, especially the “expert” in the law is quite poignant: “Which of these three was a neighbor to this man?”
Our nation needs to hear this story and take it to heart. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, Asian, rich or poor—everyone needs to take this lesson to heart. I submit to you that one of the main reasons Americans are tearing themselves apart today is that they have forgotten lessons like this one. They have forgotten that their neighbor is “everyone” under God’s definition. Put into context, police are your neighbors too who serve under God’s warrant.
Prejudice is hard to kill. We see that in this religious leader’s answer to Christ’s query. He could not bring himself to say: “The Samaritan.” That was too bitter a pill to swallow. Instead, he says: “The one who had mercy on him.” But now our Savior pins his attitude on the spear of these final words: “Go and do likewise.”
Those would be very hollow words if Christ hadn’t kept them Himself. But, He wasn’t like the modern rabble-rousers who go from confrontation to confrontation around our nation and whip up to the crowds to more violence. He wasn’t like the politicians who pander and use tragedies for political gain after giving a speech laced with crocodile tears. No, Jesus went and did likewise. God’s Son willingly went to the cross, suffered and died to pay for the sins of all humans. He died, He did “likewise,” thereby showing mercy upon even His enemies by paying for their sins. Christ forgave the unforgiveable, us, instead of passing by on the other side of the road, or getting in a few kicks of His own when we were down and bleeding.
America, that’s us, needs to heed this parable of the Good Samaritan. We need to take it to heart. So, “Go and do likewise.” Yes, Godly truth is the only thing that will ever heal our nation and heal our souls. Amen