There was a certain lawyer who stood up, and tested Jesus, saying, Sir, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
Jesus said unto him, What is written in the law? how do you interpret it?
And the lawyer 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 love your neighbour as yourself.
And Jesus said unto him, Thou have answered right: do just that, and you shall live.
But the lawyer, wanted to justify himself, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
And Jesus answered him saying, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his clothes, and wounded him, and ran off, leaving him half dead.
By chance there was a certain priest going that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, saw the naked man, and passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan, on his journey, came where the naked man was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him and went to him, and covered his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own donkey, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
At daybreak when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said to him, Take care of him; and if you spend any more on him, when I come again, I will repay you.
Now which of these three, do you think, was neighbour to him that fell among the thieves?
And he said, He that showed mercy and kindness towards him. Then Jesus said to the lawyer, ‘Now you go, and do the same.’ Luke 10 25 – 37
The story of the Good Samaritan starts by introducing us to a ‘certain lawyer’ and this guy is an expert in the Law of Moses and the Religious laws Jewish people lived by. So the story commences by telling us what the story is all about, it’s about interpreting the law, or I suppose you could say interpreting the scriptures.
The lawyer asks Jesus a question and being an expert this guy thinks he’s being clever, because he believes he already knows the answer. Being Spirit led Jesus is cleverer than the lawyer and bats the question back, and so gets the lawyer to answer his own question.
‘What’s in the law’ Jesus says… ‘how do you interpret the scriptures?’
The lawyer answers exactly as he’s been taught in law school, “‘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, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”
‘Marvellous’ Jesus says, ‘Perfect answer, now then, if you just go and do that then you’ve cracked it’
What Jesus was really saying was, that if you do that, then you’ve kept the whole law, and achieved the perfection that the law demands. But that’s not what they taught in law school. Oh no, law school taught something quite different. You see the law had been in existence for hundreds of years and the Jews were experts in it, one thing they’d found out though, it was impossible to keep.
So what they did is to find a way around it. It’s what lawyers are good at, just as today accountants are good at tax avoidance, and these lawyers were good at law avoidance.
They had a motive, they had an agenda, the motive and agenda was quite simply this, they had to justify themselves.
The scriptures told them they were not good enough for the standard God had set. Law school existed for the very purpose of finding ways to justify themselves. Law school produced lawyers with this one agenda to vindicate themselves, defend their position, maintain their opinions and uphold their beliefs.
And so the lawyer asks Jesus another question ‘Who Is My Neighbour?’ The lawyer already knows the answer because he learnt the answer at law school. The answer he learnt at law school, was based upon a watered down version of the law, that gave them the hope, at least, of keeping this rule.
Based upon Le 19:15-18, the law school taught ‘Every Jew is your neighbour and only the Jew’. This is the answer he wanted from Jesus but didn’t get it. Instead Jesus told a parable about a guy travelling from Jerusalem down to Jericho who gets mugged. The thieves take everything this poor guy has, even his clothes. The guy’s left there half dead and starkers.
Jesus says that two religious guys walk past without helping and Jesus makes that important point to the religious lawyer. Then Jesus knowingly chooses a man that the Jewish lawyer despised, a Samaritan. Now the Jews called Gentiles dogs, but Samaritans were even worse than that, this Samaritan guy was rejected as a none person.
Yet the Samaritan helps the naked man and pours oil and wine on his injuries and covers his wounds. He puts the poor guy on his own donkey and takes him to an inn and looks after him that night. The Samaritan pays the inn keeper for lodgings and tells him, ‘I’ll be back; if I owe you anymore I’ll pay you.’
Jesus then turns to the Jewish lawyer and asks him ‘Which of these three, the priest, the Levite, or, the Samaritan treated the injured and naked man as his neighbour?’ It must have stuck in the throat of the lawyer, but he had to admit, it was the Samaritan.
Jesus said ‘Marvellous, now push off and do the same.’ This all left the lawyer speechless. Jesus as they say had stuffed him. Jesus had no need to justify Himself, He didn’t need to argue the letter of the law. He used a story to highlight the spirit of the law and the lawyer couldn’t argue with that.
What’s the moral of the story for us, what can we learn from it, obviously more than one lesson. Lets look at it first from the law angle. Here’s a Jewish lawyer arguing the scriptures from his stand point. According to his agenda, with his motive being, to justify himself.
But Jesus didn’t take the lawyer on at his own game, though He could have done so. Instead of arguing the intricacies of interpreting the scriptures, arguing the letter of the law, Jesus highlights the spirit of the law, the spirit of the scriptures, by a parable.
Love knows no bounds, love is unconditional, love has no agenda, love does not need to justify its actions.
When one looks a little deeper into the story of the ‘Good Samaritan’, the despised and rejected Samaritan symbolises Jesus Himself, who came to save us, but was also despised and rejected by the religious and self righteous Jews.
So if you’ve been despised and rejected by religion you’re in good company, but let’s learn from Jesus’ example. Jesus was motivated, Jesus had an agenda, and that was to do the will of His Father. And his Father’s will was not to have Jesus arguing intricacies of the scriptures, but to have Jesus putting His faith in God and total reliance upon the Holy Spirit.
There’s a saying, ‘Engage your brain before opening your mouth’. Here’s a better saying, ‘Engage the Spirit before engaging your brain’. Jesus did not try to justify Himself, so why should we. ‘It is God who justifies,’ (Ro 8:33). We don’t have to justify our position on LGBT issues by arguing scriptures and putting ‘our take’ on them.
But, the Lord knows that before we fully understand Grace. Arguing the scriptures can help us with our self esteem when other Christians attack us and reject us because of their interpretation of scripture.
Jesus totally understands rejection, but, arguing the scriptures with other Christians who are against us is not the way to get them to accept us, I know, I’ve tried it. The shutters come down and people won’t move from the opinion they have dug themselves into. In fact the more I’ve argued with them the deeper the divisions have become.
Let the Lord deal with the problem of how some other Christians see us. Let’s focus upon how God sees us. Our focus should be upon Jesus, for this is the will of God.
Jesus said ‘If you lift me up I’ll draw people to me.’ Our motive here at Liberty is simple, it’s knowing Jesus. Our agenda is responding to Jesus. Our worth is from Jesus and our justification is in Jesus
Ro 8:33 Who will bring any charge against those who God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who are they who condemn you? It’s not Jesus, who died for you—more than that, who was raised to life for you—and now, Jesus is at the right hand of God representing you.
God has called each one of us individually to Himself. He doesn’t deal in job lots, he calls named people. And God doesn’t want us to be like the religious lawyer. Liberty is not a law school it is a Grace university were we all can possess a 1st class honours degree in Grace.
Jesus knows you have a need to defend yourselves, but Jesus is our fortress, Jesus is our victory. While LGBT Christians play the lawyer and argue with the hypocrites, each side are only motivated by their own self righteousness.
Jesus will do nothing but wait for your failure. Jesus alone is the lawyer, God alone is the Judge, accept the fact that you are only a witness.
Galatians 5:4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by scripture; you have fallen from grace.
Jesus pours His love out generously, like the Samaritan pouring out oil and wine to cleanse the wounds of the naked man. Jesus sees what we are really like under all the layers that we hide behind. Seeing our real self He responds with love and compassion and healing, pouring the oil and wine of his Holy Spirit into us, to spiritually heal us.
Then like the Samaritan covering the naked man Jesus then covers us with His robe of righteousness and His love.