Here’s a tip: If you’re going to test Jesus, do it sitting down. You won’t have as far to fall when you fail! That’s a lesson an insincere lawyer learned the hard way in Luke 10:25-37 when he approached the Son of God thinking he could play games with the most important question in the universe. Standing up to test Jesus he asked, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” That’s a very important question. And Jesus points the man to the Scriptures for the answer, a summary of the whole law: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” “Do this and you will live”, says Jesus. Just obey God’s commands perfectly, and you will have eternal life. I believe the lawyer felt very guilty in that moment. The text says that he immediately began looking for an excuse. He was guilty and wanted to justify himself, to find a way to be right in his own sight. He couldn’t do that by obeying God perfectly. None of us can. He had to do something to lower the requirements of God to a point where he might have some hope of entering heaven. So, he asked, “Who is my neighbour?”
What follows is the story of the good Samaritan. A story as relevant today as it was then. The story:
- features the brokenness of this sinful world,
- exposes the emptiness of religion without love,
- challenges the racism and prejudice we can all feel, and
- requires sacrifice and risk.
The lawyer never in his wildest dreams thought that God would define his neighbour as a hurting man in a rough part of town from a different ethnic group who needed his compassion. He had no theological category for that kind of love. Which means he had no theological category for the gospel. God the Son came into the world to be this kind of neighbour to us. Jesus is the True Neighbour that the good Samaritan only symbolized. Jesus rescued us from our hopeless situation by obeying God perfectly for us, taking the penalty for our sin, and granting us his unblemished righteousness. He rescues us, heals us, and pays for our needs by his grace.
This text motivates our Christian living and witness in our city. Come join us on Sunday, June 9 for The Gathering at Grace Point Church (137 Euclid Ave), WEFC’s inner-city ministry in North Point Douglas. We are a church that is present in this community, for this community, so we might be a blessing to this community. We do this to make the mercy and love of God known to our neighbourhood by being Christ-like neighbours ourselves.
Be in prayer that God will use this event to draw many of our neighbours in North Point Douglas to put their faith in the True Neighbour who crossed every class and racial divide to make us one people in Him.
Thanks be to God!
Interim Pastor at Grace Point Church