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Are You a Good Neighbor?

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In being a Good Neighbor, the most important thing we can do is to share the reality of eternal life. This must be grasped through understanding how to: 1) Relate to our Neighbor’s Needs (Luke 10:25), 2) Recommend to our Neighbor’s about their Need (Luke 10:26–28), without succumbing to the danger to 3) Reject our Neighbor’s Need (Luke 10:29-37)

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Luke 10:25-37. “Are You a Good Neighbor?” Safe Haven Worship Centre. Sunday April 7th, 2019. Luke 10:25–37 25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 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.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 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. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 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. 35 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.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (ESV) Battling ever-rising levels of distrust of Canada’s legal class, the Ontario Bar Association is mounting what may be the largest effort yet to defend the reputations of the country’s lawyers: A campaign that emphasizes the idealistic reasons they went to law school in the first place. A recent survey of Canada’s most trusted professions by Ipsos Reid found lawyers were considered less trustworthy than airport security guards, plumbers and even journalists — and only slightly ahead of auto mechanics and taxi drivers. Bruce Marcus, a Connecticut-based law-firm marketer, argued that “image” campaigns are an expensive mirage. “As long as we believe there really is such a concept as image, and we work toward enhancing it, we absolve ourselves of the need to nurture reputation and perception by improving reality,” he wrote. (http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/07/31/campaign-aims-to-boost-canadians-plummeting-trust-in-lawyers-but-is-that-even-possible/) In Luke 10, we see a personal conversation between Jesus and a lawyer. He was a member of the religious establishment, the highly educated, prominent, powerful, and influential people who made up Judaistic apostate religion, hostile to Jesus. This unnamed scribe had a rare privilege whose value is beyond estimation—having a conversation about eternal life with the One who is Himself eternal life (1 John 5:20). In a tragic example of missed opportunity that rivals Judas, the scribe, despite asking the right question of the right person and receiving the right answer, he turned away to face eternal death. As this story unfolds, Jesus was in the final months of His earthly ministry, journeying slowly to Jerusalem and blanketing Judea’s towns and villages with the message of eternal life while calling people to be His true disciples (cf. Luke 9:23). But despite His powerful preaching and miraculous signs, only a very small number of people savingly believed and embraced the gospel. Most rejected His call to humble themselves, repent of their sin and self-righteousness, receive complete forgiveness, and in faith enter the kingdom of God. They would not accept Christ’s message because they would not acknowledge themselves to be wretched sinners on their way to eternal destruction. Having rejected the diagnosis, they denied themselves the only cure. Despite its outcome, this incident provides a valuable lesson on doing personal evangelism the way Jesus did it. In being a Good Neighbor, the most important thing we can do is to share the reality of eternal life. This must be grasped through understanding how to: 1) Relate to our Neighbor’s Needs (Luke 10:25), 2) Recommend to our Neighbor’s about their Need (Luke 10:26–28), without succumbing to the danger to 3) Reject our Neighbor’s Need (Luke 10:29-37) In relating to our Neighbor’s about their Need for eternal life, Jesus shows us how to: 1) Relate to our Neighbor’s Needs (Luke 10:25) Luke 10:25 [25] And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (ESV) The particle idou (“behold”), indicates that the question asked by the lawyer was a surprising development. But he was motivated to ask this question by concern that he not miss out on eternal life. A lawyer (nomikos), or scribe, was an expert in the interpretation and application of the Mosaic Law and the rabbinical traditions that had been formed over the centuries. Scribes are frequently seen in the Gospels accompanying the Pharisees and seeking ways to discredit Jesus (Matt. 12:38; 15:1; Mark 2:16; Luke 5:21; 6:7; 11:53; 15:2; John 8:3). Please turn to John 6 This teacher of the law, was apparently asking questions on his own, since he wanted to know what he, not people in general, needed to do to inherit eternal life. His question indicates that the emphasis on corporate salvation in Judaism had not negated the concepts of individual salvation and human responsibility. Jesus explained this need: John 6:27-29 [27] Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal." [28] Then they said to him, "What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" [29] Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent." (ESV) • Relating to our neighbors needs starts with helping them ask the right questions. People think that their most important need is for food, shelter and clothing obtained by working. Our task is to show how all those things pass away, but eternal life is the ultimate need that shadows all other needs. That he stood up and interrupted Jesus was not a sign of disrespect, since he addressed the Lord courteously as teacher. While the phrase put Him to the test could often imply evil intent on the questioner’s part (cf. Mark 10:2), for this lawyer it may have been merely an effort to determine whether Jesus knew the answer for which he felt a great need. The lawyer seemed to understand that his greatest need is about how to inherit eternal life. The man does not ask how he may obtain life eternal as if he were at a loss as to the way and the means. On the contrary, he thinks that he knows how quite well, it must be by doing something (Lenski, R. C. H. (1961). The Interpretation of St. Luke’s Gospel (p. 596). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.), • In relating the issue of eternal life to our neighbors, we must be mindful of not just speaking theologically, in abstract or technically. Jesus personalized any general discussion. He spoke specifically about the need before Him. Eternal life, as described here, denotes the life that will never end, but, … the more important thing is that it is life of a particular quality, that life that is the gift of God (Morris, L. (1988). Luke: an introduction and commentary. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Vol. 3, p. 206). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.). • 2 key concepts come forth here in sharing the gospel. First, the opportunity to share the gospel will often seem like an interruption. If we are always in a hurry or unprepared, we will miss these opportunities. Second, determine if a question is asked of us is a sincere one or one that mocks. If it is a mocking one, then challenge the basis of the question. What are the presuppositions of the question? People will test us to determine our Christianity is just a religion or a personal faith that is reflective in our thoughts, words and lives. Yet, we must realize that particular people tend to ask questions that are particular to their situations. One of the most difficult aspects of sharing the gospel is to speak the language and way the hearer hears. We should respond differently to a question about suffering from someone who is suffering, someone referring to someone else’s suffering or about the topic of suffering intellectually. Illustration: Many times well-meaning Christians, including evangelists, fail to communicate the Good News to non-believers because they use terms that the non-believer doesn’t use, or uses in a different way. Think of a typical conversation: Evangelist: Are you a member of the Christian family? Store clerk: No, they live two miles down the road, the white house on the left. Evangelist: Let me try again. Are you lost? Store clerk: No, I’ve lived in this town for over thirty years now. I know right where I am. Evangelist: Let me put it this way—are you ready for the Judgment Day? Store clerk: When will it be? Evangelist: Could be today, could be tomorrow! Store clerk: Well, when you know exactly, be sure to let me know (Michael P. Green. (2000). 1500 illustrations for biblical preaching (pp. 123–124). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.) • Unless we speak to someone’s individual needs in a way they will understand, we’re not really being a good neighbour in dealing with their eternal life. In relating to our Neighbor’s about their Need for eternal life, Jesus shows us how to: 2) Recommend to our Neighbor’s about their Need (Luke 10:26–28) Luke 10:26-28 [26] He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" [27] 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." [28] And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live." (ESV) The Master responded to the lawyer’s question by asking one of His own: “What is written in the Law?” Christ’s question affirms His commitment to the Law (cf. Matt. 5:18–19)—the very thing the scribes and Pharisees accused Him of violating (cf.Matt. 15:2).The Law to which Jesus referred was the law of God given to Moses, which the Jews had embellished, but not forgotten. The Lord’s second question, “How do you read it/how does it read to you?” could mean, “How do you understand it?” But you can also translate the Lord’s question, “How do you recite it?” Jesus was referring to the Jewish profession of faith known as the Shema (Deut. 6:4–5), which was recited twice daily. • When we engage in theological discussion, we tend to be on the defensive: replying to defend actions or answer questions. Jesus here shows a seldom used insight in explaining eternal life. He turns the tables and gets the questioner to show his source of authority and how he applies it. This eliminates distractions and gets to the key issue and application of every worldview. The first part of the lawyer’s answer in verse 27: “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,” comes from the Shema. The additional clause, “and your neighbor as yourself” is quoted from Leviticus 19:18. For most Jews a neighbor was another Jew, not a Samaritan or a Gentile. The Pharisees (John 7:49) and the Essenes did not even include all Jews. The Essenes taught that one was to love all the children of light who are part of the community but to hate the children of darkness who stand outside the community (Stein, R. H. (1992). Luke. The New American Commentary (Vol. 24, p. 316). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.). Imagine, if you will, that someone did actually succeed in loving God with all his heart, strength, soul and mind. Even then, such a person would still be only half-way home, because they would still have to fulfill the second part of the Great Commandment: Love your neighbour as yourself. That, at times, is even more difficult than to love God, for God is altogether lovely. There is no just reason for us not to love God, but there are plenty of reasons why we would find it difficult to love all of our neighbours as much as we love ourselves (Sproul, R. C. (1999). A Walk with God: An Exposition of Luke (p. 226). Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications.) The lawyer quoted Scripture. Interestingly, in Matthew 22:37–40 and Mark 12:29–31, Jesus quotes the same Scriptures (Deut. 6:4–5; Lev. 19:18). Thus, both from the Jewish leaders’ viewpoint and from Jesus’ unique teaching, these Scriptures stand at the top of all other Old Testament teaching. Love God. Love neighbor. Then you will be and do what God expects in the Old Testament. These two commands sum up the Ten Commandments, the first half of which describes how to love God, while the second half describes how to love one’s neighbor. Only those who practice such self-denying love (cf. Luke 9:23) (Exhibit that they truly have) eternal life. Such love is not marked by the presence of great feeling but is objectively manifested in considerate responsiveness (Bock, D. L. (1996). Luke Volume 2: 9:51–24:53. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (pp. 1024–1025). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.). The command of the Law calls for total commitment to selfless love (agapaō; the highest kind of love) involving all human faculties, including the heart, soul, strength, and mind. The heart (kardia) is the center of emotions, desires, and affections; the soul (psuche) is a person’s “being” and uniqueness; the strength (ischus) refers to the drive or will; and finally, the mind (dianoia) is the center of the intellect. These words are not used to divide up the human personality, but to show that love must be complete—the whole person must do the loving (Barton, B. B., Veerman, D., Taylor, L. C., & Osborne, G. R. (1997). Luke. Life Application Bible Commentary (p. 279). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.) Please turn to Romans 3 Because the lawyer’s answer was the right one, Jesus said to him, in verse 28: “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live” (cf. Lev. 18:5; Deut. 6:25; Neh. 9:29; Ezek. 20:11, 13, 21). The verb “do this” is in a present imperative, and Luke emphasized by this the continual nature of the Christian commitment (cf. Luke 9:23) (Stein, R. H. (1992). Luke. The New American Commentary (Vol. 24, p. 316). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.). Since he knew the answer, the lawyer was accountable. But like everyone who has ever lived, he was not able to keep the law by perfectly loving God and other people. To do so is impossible, As Paul explained to the Romans and to us: Romans 3:10-23 [10] as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; [11]no one understands; no one seeks for God. [12] All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." [13]"Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips."[14]"Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." [15]"Their feet are swift to shed blood; [16]in their paths are ruin and misery, [17]and the way of peace they have not known." [18]"There is no fear of God before their eyes." [19] Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. [20] For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. [21] But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- [22] the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: [23] for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (ESV) • If you were to ask people if they think they are a good person, just about all will answer in the affirmative. They will talk about their ambition to be good or how they are not as bad as some. Unfortunately, this is the wrong standard. God doesn’t hold us accountable to our ambitions or judge on a curve. God is perfectly holy, and all have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God. The law points to our need for Christ. • If our presentation is about Christianity is just a moralistic one, how Christ will give you a more fulfilled life, and better relationships etc. then we miss the greatest need and the only solution. Christianity is seen as irrelevant because we have lost touch in being able to show peoples greatest need and the only solution. Getting back to presenting the standards of God through the law, solves that problem. Illustration: Law, Function of Many people are physiologically sensitive to chocolate. Certain of the larger benzene compounds present in chocolate are resisted by their bodies through an allergic reaction. Depending on the individual, this reaction may range from very mild, producing a minor skin rash, to very severe, producing medical shock and death. Chocolate is fatal for some persons not because chocolate is poisonous in and of itself but because of the biochemical makeup of their bodies. In a similar way, the power of sin in humanity reacts to the law and brings death. As Paul says in Romans 7:7–12, this happens not because the law is evil but because of sin within us (Michael P. Green. (2000). 1500 illustrations for biblical preaching (p. 211). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.). • When a society loses touch with the nature of God and His expectations that were rooted in law, then we do what is right in our own eyes. Explaining the proper functioning of conscience and why certain standards exist, helps bring us back to look at a standard beyond individual whims, and to the one who alone who provides eternal life. In relating to our Neighbor’s about their Need for eternal life, Jesus warns about how one can: 3) Reject our Neighbor’s Need (Luke 10:29-37) Luke 10:29-37 [29] But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" [30] 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. [31] Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. [32] So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. [33] But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. [34] 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. [35] 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.' [36] Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" [37] He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise." (ESV) At this point in the discussion, the scribe should have acknowledged his inability to love as God required and cried out for mercy like the tax collector in Luke 18:13 did. But backed into a corner from which there was no escape, his wretched pride and self-righteousness took over, like the Pharisee’s had (vv 11–12). By desiring to justify himself, he failed to deny himself. He refused to confess the reality of his sinful heart, but disdaining the conviction of sin that he surely felt rising internally, he adamantly reaffirmed his external self-righteousness and worthiness. The only way he (or any person) can “justify himself” is to limit the extent of the law’s demand and consequently limit his own responsibility. This maneuver not only fails but has an opposite effect. Jesus will change the man’s very words “who is my neighbor?” from a passive to an active sense (v. 36). (Leifeld, W. L. (1984). Luke. (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.)The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke (p. 942). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.) • When we present the truth of the need for divine righteousness for eternal life, people will often attempt to lower the standard or evade the question. If we just show how neither of these approaches answer the problem at hand, we are better able to move toward a solution. In his attempt to justify himself, the scribe ignored the issue of loving God perfectly, thus implying that he believed he did. He also believed that he was loving his neighbors perfectly, unless Jesus had a different definition of neighbor. Seeking to clarify the Lord’s definition he asked Him, “And who is my neighbor?” The Lord replied with one of His most memorable and powerful illustrations, the story of the Good Samaritan. This dramatic tale is widely used to teach the importance of helping those in need. In fact, the term “Good Samaritan” has become an idiom for those who demonstrate unusual, sacrificial kindness toward others. But while it is important to help the needy, that is not the primary point of the story. It is in reality a story about how one inherits eternal life, because that is the question that initiated the conversation to which this story is the answer. The Lord offered this story in answer to the scribe’s question, with its somewhat cynical implication that he did love all those whom he considered to be his neighbors. Jesus graciously gave him one more unforgettable, inescapably clear insight into the scribe’s wretchedness; one more opportunity to acknowledge his sinfulness and cry for mercy. • This is the answer what to do when someone says that they are basically a good person, and does`t need God. As the story opens in verse 30 a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. This parable is peculiar to Luke. There are parallels to the conversation with the lawyer that introduced it, especially the summary of the law in the command to love (Matt. 22:34–40; Mark 12:28–31). But there are differences, notably in timing and in the fact that in the others the summary is given by Jesus, here by the lawyer (Morris, L. (1988). Luke: an introduction and commentary. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Vol. 3, pp. 205–206). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.). Although it is less than fifteen miles from Jerusalem, Jericho, at about nine hundred feet below sea level, is nearly 3, 500 feet lower in elevation. Herod had built New Testament Jericho as his winter palace on the same spot Hasmonean rulers had earlier built their palace. Herod included three palaces, a swimming pool, and a sunken garden. Thus, government officials frequently made the trip going down from Jerusalem to Jericho as did Jewish religious and political leaders. Criminals took advantage of the upper class’s need to travel this winding, crooked road through dangerous passes. They hid behind the large rocks above the narrow passes and preyed on travelers (Butler, T. C. (2000). Luke. Holman New Testament Commentary (Vol. 3, p. 172). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.) Unfortunately for this man the predictable happened, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him, repeatedly beat him, and departed/went away leaving him half dead. The man’s situation was desperate. He was stranded on a lonely road in critical condition and in need of immediate medical attention. Yet there was no guarantee when or if anyone would care to help him. Having described the man’s dire situation, Jesus immediately introduced a ray of hope, noting in verse 31 that by chance a priest was going down that road. This would appear to have been the best possible news. Please turn to Leviticus 19 A priest was a servant of God by definition, one who offered sacrifices for the people’s sins, expected to be a paragon of spiritual virtue and the best, godliest, and most righteous of men. He would be intimately familiar with the Old Testament law and committed to living out its principles, one of which was the requirement to show mercy. In Leviticus 19:33 God commanded the people of Israel: Leviticus 19:33-37 [33]"When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. [34] You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. [35]"You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. [36] You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. [37] And you shall observe all my statutes and all my rules, and do them: I am the LORD." (ESV) • Since the Israelites had been strangers in Egypt and knew what it was like, they ought to treat the strangers living among them just like themselves. • Each one of us should remember when we were dominated by selfish ambition and pride. The proclamation of the Gospel in word and deed should never be done out of arrogance. We received God`s grace and it is to the giving of grace to others that we are called. The hope the Lord introduced from the introduction of the Priest in Luke 10, was short-lived, however. Instead of stopping to assist the wounded and helpless man, the priest passed by on the other side. The point Jesus was making is that because he knew the law’s requirements, he would have been expected to stop and aid the injured man. Nor is this an indictment on Israel’s priesthood for lacking compassion, though that was often true; the priest in this story merely functions as someone who would have been expected to help, but did not. Israelites were required to show mercy even to strangers (Lev. 19:34) and enemies (Exod. 23:4, 5; 2 Kings 6:8–23), then surely to fellow Israelites! For the priest’s sinful neglect there was no justification whatever. The man just did not want to “get involved.” Does that phrase have a modern ring? (Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke. New Testament Commentary (Vol. 11, p. 594). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.) • A common expectation is society is the right to be just left alone. We are told to mind our own business. But implicit the concept of a society itself is that the welfare of others in our society is our own business. There is no greater welfare than the eternal destiny of another. Fortunately for the desperate man in Luke 10, another traveler appeared on the stretch of road. This man according to verse 32 was a Levite, one of those who assisted the priests. He, too, would have been very familiar with the Old Testament law and its requirements to show mercy to those in need. But incredibly when he came to the place and saw the injured man, the Levite also refused to stop and help him, but like the priest had, he passed by on the other side. Despite their circumcision, knowledge of God’s law, and involvement in the religious system, both he and the priest proved themselves unqualified for eternal life. They did not love God, since they did not keep His commandments. Nor did they love their neighbor, since both passed up an opportunity to demonstrate that love. • We will be judged by others around us on how we live up to what we say we believe. If we profess that Christ is transformative yet show no difference from the selfishness around us, we discredit what we profess to believe. The greatest proof to the claim that the gospel transforms people is a life that shows itself transformed by the gospel. At this point the story takes a surprising and unexpected twist. When all seemed lost, help arrived from the most unlikely of sources. In verse 33, a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came upon the wounded man. Given the hostility between Jews and Samaritans, this man would seem to be the most indifferent to the injured man. As noted in 9:52, the hatred between Jews and Gentiles had existed for centuries. The Samaritan could hardly have been expected to help this man; in fact, he may even have finished what the robbers had started. But amazingly, when he saw the beaten, helpless man, he had/felt compassion for him. The Samaritan had compassion—a Greek expression built on the word for a person’s inner parts, the seat of emotions and feelings. It expresses Jesus’ feeling for those in need (Matt. 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 20:34; Mark 1:41; 6:34; 8:2; Luke 7:13). It is the feeling and attitude of a master who cancels a servant’s massive debt (Matt. 18:27). This is true neighborly love—a love that goes beyond anything society or religious law expects and acts simply because of the extreme need of another (Butler, T. C. (2000). Luke. Holman New Testament Commentary (Vol. 3, p. 173). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.). • The world at large expects Christians to be self-righteous, condemning people. When we forgive wrongs done to us, show kindness to those we are hostile and point to God as the source of all this ability, then remove ourselves as barriers to gospel realization, let the Gospel itself transform as it can. • The issue here in Luke 10, is not who we may or may not serve, but serving where need exists. We are not to seek to limit who our neighbors might be. Rather, we are to be a neighbor to those whose needs we can meet (Bock, D. L. (1996). Luke Volume 2: 9:51–24:53. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (p. 1035). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.). Instead of passing him by as the other two men had, verse 34 records that the Samaritan went/came to him and assessed the situation. Noting his traumatic injuries, he bound/bandaged up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Since the robbers had stripped their victim, the Samaritan would have had to tear up some of his own spare clothes to make the bandages. He also used some of his own provisions to treat the wounds before bandaging them. Pouring on oil and wine on the wounds served to sanitize them and soften them, thus relieving the pain and helping them to heal. This was generous, lavish care, certainly unexpected for one who was his enemy. • Kindness costs. We can’t expect to be God’s gospel instruments without willing to spend our time, use our talents and resources as He directs. Perhaps we see stingy results in gospel transformation, because we are stingy in the work of this transformation. In our story in in Luke 10, , we see that the Samaritan was not through. Instead of being content to treat the man’s wounds and then leaving, he set him/put him on his own animal (perhaps a donkey or a mule) and brought him to an inn and took care of him. Inns offered meager fare at best, and at worst were places of prostitution and robbery. Innkeepers were often unscrupulous, evil, and without compassion. But in this case there was no choice; the wounded man needed shelter, food, water, and rest. Having negotiated a place to stay, the Samaritan took the man in and continued to care for him throughout the night, since he did not leave, according to verse 35, until the next day. What distinguishes this traveler from the other two is not fundamentally that they are Jews and he is a Samaritan, nor is it that they had high status as religious functionaries and he does not. What individualizes him is his compassion, leading to action, in the face of their inaction (Green, J. B. (1997). The Gospel of Luke. The New International Commentary on the New Testament (p. 431). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.). • Are there times when you haven’t acted because you felt that it’s not your job. If God has brought a situation to your awareness, He expects you to be instrumental in its solution. It may be a task that is too big to handle alone, but that doesn’t excuse your involvement. A problem may continue to linger because you are just waiting for someone else to act. Be the one who starts the healing, begin to tackle the need or reach out. Your action may be the beginning of the solution. When he left the next morning, the Samaritan took out two denarii (which was a about two day`s wages for a laborer) and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, “Take care of him.” Depending on the quality of the inn, that amount would have paid for the injured man’s room and board for anywhere from three weeks to two months. Here was still another example of the Samaritan’s generous, compassionate love. But he still was not finished. He promised the innkeeper, “Whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back/return.” In effect, he gave him a blank check. His generosity knew no bounds. He cared for the injured stranger the way most people care for themselves. Love should not be limited by its object; its extent and quality are in the control of its subject. Furthermore, love is demonstrated in action, in this case in an act of mercy. It may be costly: cloth, wine, oil, transportation, money, and sacrifice of time (Leifeld, W. L. (1984). Luke. (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.)The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8: Matthew, Mark, Luke (p. 943). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.). Jesus then asked the scribe in verse 36, “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers?” The scribe replied with the obvious answer in verse 37, “The one who showed him mercy.” The lawyer knows, but he cannot even bring himself to mention the man’s race. The lawyer is choosy about his neighbors. He does not understand the call of God (Bock, D. L. (1994). Luke. The IVP New Testament Commentary Series (Lk 10:25). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.). • There are a lot of things we can choose in this life. But things like the family we are born into or those around us that need the gospel, are divine placements for us to share the Gospel. Start with those closest to you. Don’t wait for an ideal time or person. We often miss great blessings of experiencing the life transformation of the gospel when we don’t take advantage of what is right in front of us. Although the lawyer asked, ‘Who is my neighbour (i.e. the person whom I should help)?’ Jesus suggests that the real question is rather ‘Do I behave as a neighbour (i.e. a person who helps others)?’ Jesus does not supply information as to whom one should help; failure to keep the commandment springs not from lack of information but from lack of love. It was not fresh knowledge that the lawyer needed, but a new heart—in plain English, conversion. (Carson, D. A., France, R. T., Motyer, J. A., & Wenham, G. J. (Eds.). (1994). New Bible commentary: 21st century edition (4th ed., Lk 10:25–37). Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press.) Driving home the point of the story, Jesus said to him, “You go and do likewise/the same.” The idea is that only by continuously, perfectly loving God and every neighbor on every occasion—even his worst enemy—could the scribe satisfy the first and second commandments and obtain eternal life. Obviously, Christ’s point is that neither the scribe nor anyone else is capable of such love. This is an indictment of the whole of fallen humanity, and the only proper response was for him (and for us) to acknowledge our inability to save ourselves, and plead with God for mercy and forgiveness. Jesus, God incarnate, stood before him, and before us ready to extend forgiveness, grace, and mercy. But there is no indication that the lawyer did so; his pride and self-righteousness held him captive and he likely forfeited eternal life. Showing love and compassion to our neighbors illustrates the unmerited love of God that He extends. None of us deserve God`s love and require Christ to forgive us our sins when we fail to extend the love and compassion to our neighbors. Pride and self-righteousness may prevent others from repenting of sin but our charge is to explain God`s self-sacrificial love in words and deeds. The lawyer looked foolish, having been made to answer his own question and then being kindly told to practice the answer he had just preached (Hughes, R. K. (1998). Luke: that you may know the truth. Preaching the Word (p. 389). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.) • For us who are redeemed, we know that we are to love our neighbors and that the greatest love is sharing eternal life. We know our neighbors need this love. Our challenge is to figure out and eliminate what is standing in the way of doing this. This is what God call for every one of us. (Format note: some base commentary from MacArthur, John F (2011-02-21). Luke 6-10 MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Macarthur New Testament Commentary Series) (p. 350-360). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.
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