If you are a pastor or lay person who wants to use this to preach in church – that is why I posted it. I don’t care about credit, I only care that God’s word is preached and Christ is glorified. I pray He uses this sermon in a mighty way through you. You have my permission to alter it (it’s longer than usual) and use it however God leads you. God bless you in your ministry. You can bookmark this to check out the other free written sermons on my blog.
Other possible titles? (from studyandobey.com)
An Opportunity Disguised as an Interruption
Loving Your Neighbor
A Lesson on Love
Walk Your Talk
Compassion in Action
Who was Jesus speaking to when He gave this parable?
17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”
25 And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
He was speaking to the seventy as He responded to a lawyer’s question about what to do to obtain eternal life. It is unclear if lawyer was one of the seventy or not.
L: What must I do to inherit eternal life…
J: What is written in the law?
L: Love God and love your neighbor.
J: Good answer. Do this.
Luke 10:29 – The lawyer, wishing to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” The lawyer asked it to excuse himself from the answer he himself gave about loving God and loving neighbor.
Don’t we do this? We hear something we like or agree with is a sin, and we say, What about that sin? That’s nothing more than wishing to justify our preferable sin.
Or we hear that unless you call upon the name of Jesus and believe he died for your sins and you must confess to him to be forgiven and saved, and what is our excuse? What about people who never hear the name of Jesus?
It is interesting Jesus doesn’t say, “Sell everything you have and give it to the poor” like he did to the rich young ruler.
Also interesting is the context of those to whom Jesus is speaking. Context in the Bible is everything. The 70 who have just returned, whom Jesus is speaking to, have to be wondering how the “love God/love your neighbor” was displayed by Jesus’ instructions when he sent them out: Luke 10:10-11 -When you come upon a town and they do not welcome you, go out in to the streets and say, “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this, the kingdom of God has come near.” Is that loving your neighbor as yourself? We rarely consider tough love when we hear Jesus say love. What kind of love was it to shake the dust off their feet? Jesus said both things. I submit that warning them that they were rejecting the kingdom of God was love.
The “shake the dust off your feet” can be summed up: “The kingdom of God has come near and you have rejected it, therefore, God accepts your rejection and we are out of here.”
A lawyer comes to Jesus asking Jesus a question that the lawyer already knows the answer to.
What must I do to inherit eternal life?
Jesus says, what does the law say?
The law commands me to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love my neighbor as I love myself.
Jesus says well, done. That’s the right answer, thinking the conversation was over, case closed. No really new information, no revelation, it was a textbook answer.
The problem is, it’s impossible to live up to this. It was the theme of Jesus’ teaching. Here’s what’s required, it’s beyond what we can achieve, so we’re in a dilemma.
The lawyer recognized this. So instead of considering the case closed, the lawyer presses Jesus. Perhaps hoping the definition of neighbor would be qualified or confined, the lawyer asks, who is my neighbor? In other words, how far must I go in my concern for others?
This is a different question. This one is not answered with the law. The law might even lead one to believe that you only have to help people like you. Jews would only have to help Jews. This is a question the man didn’t have the answer for.
Today, if we asked the question, we would be thinking, what about those kids they show on those TV commercials when we can’t bear to watch and we turn the channel?
What about the homeless? What about those in the Sudan? What about those in Nigeria? Who is my neighbor? Jesus, as He usually did, tells a story.
Some of the things you need to know about the story:
While Jesus doesn’t say it, most scholars believe the man who was beaten and robbed was a Jew. This adds to the shock of the priest and the levite passing by and the Samaritan stopping. A priest was a priest, you know what a priest is, a levite was a religious person dedicated to temple ministry. So these religious people go by and the Samaritan stops. Jews really looked down on Samaritans. The least likely person to help was the one who helped.
Secondly, the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was not a safe road. It was one of the most dangerous roads in that time. You can see why people would NOT want to stop in a dangerous place. Or why people would not want to go to a dangerous place in the first place.
Here are a few things that I draw from this story of the Good Samaritan.
None of us is too rich or too poor to help and love others, none of us is too young or too old, too talented or too unskilled, or too good or too bad. We’ve discussed the fact that the Samaritan was basically the scourge of the earth to a Jew.
And there is nobody too distant or different for us to be concerned about. We are all people created by God and loved by God, who loved us enough to send His only Son.
God sent Jesus for you, but not exclusively for you. Jesus came for even the person the most unlike you in the world. Sometimes when we meet people unlike ourselves, we find they are not what we expected, and they’re not so much unlike us as we thought.
There is no doubt there can be danger in doing the Lord’s work. For the Samaritan stopping to help the man who had been beaten, there was danger in stopping on the most famous dangerous road there was. There’s danger from the elements, but there’s even danger from the very people we went to show Christ’s love to. There is danger in Haiti when we take teams. There is danger in proclaiming the gospel in Nigeria – Christians are being persecuted badly there today.
And thus ends the standard “Good Samaritan” sermon.
And now that I think I have exegeted this Scripture –
Let me throw something at you that we discussed in a Sunday School class in Florida two weeks ago.
Why did the priest and Levite pass by and why did the Samaritan stop?
Jesus said it was an example of loving your neighbor, but why would a Samaritan stop when the religious folks wouldn’t?
I submit that the reason is the Samaritan knew what it was like to be looked down upon. He knew what it was like to be neglected. The Samaritan could relate to the plight of the man down and out.
The Priest and Levite could not. They remind me of the apostle Paul when he was Saul – Paul says in Philippians chapter 3 –
If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings…
Paul had to experience the loss of everything to be able to know Christ. And only then could Paul tell of God’s mercy through Jesus.
It is like people in recovery being so honest. People at the mission will tell you anything. They have no pride. They have been on the bottom. They know what it is like to be looked down upon.
Brennan Manning story – alcoholic laying on the street, unkept, unclean – a mother and a child walk by – the child walks over to Manning as kids will. The mother comes over, pulls the child away, and says something to the effect of, “get away from that filthy bum.” he knew what it was like to be down and out.
And Jesus himself, likewise lowered himself to be able to relate with His creation:
Hebrews 2:9 – But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Hebrews 4:14:16 – Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Jesus himself was on His knees crying out to God –
Matthew 26:38-39 – “Then He said to them, “My soul is consumed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with Me.” Going a little farther, He fell facedown and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”
Whatever we go through, Jesus understands.
Are you tired? Jesus understands.
Are you hurting? Jesus understands.
Are you lonely? Jesus understands.
Are you full of sorrow? Jesus understands.
Are you worried about loved ones? Jesus understands.
Do you wish things were different? Jesus understands.
Are you tempted? Jesus understands.
Whatever you are going through, Jesus understands.
He loves you, and like the Samaritan, he will stoop down and lift you up. He has paid the price. And one day, you will be made well. One day, every tear will be wiped from your eyes.