Saturday, July 13, 2019

Pentecost 5 - Proper 10

July 14, 2019
Pentecost 5 -Proper 10
Luke 10:25–37
“You are loved”

Lord Jesus Christ, in Your deep compassion You rescue us from whatever may hurt us. Teach us to love You above all things and to love our neighbors as ourselves; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. [2] 

Two questions. Stand as bookends for us today. The first. Is asked by an expert in the Law. The second. Is asked by Jesus. Jesus responds in both instances with a mandate. “This do.” 

The one proficient in the Law asked, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Oh yes, he was skillful in the Law of God. He interpreted it correctly. “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.”   To which Jesus replies, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

Now it is Jesus’ turn to ask a question. “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” And the response, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

The righteous requirements of the Law - still remain a mandate. Jesus did not come to eliminate the law but to fulfill it. 

Says the Savior, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”   -Matthew 5:17-20 “Do all this and you will live.”

The popular phrase, "Be a Good Samaritan" is meant to motivate you to help someone you do not want to bother with. It sounds clever. But, more times than not, it is a burden. Most times, you help the person you do not always desire or want to. Their lack of appreciation and demand for more can be defeating and exhausting. It can leave you feeling you were right after all. That you shouldn't have even tried. More than exhausting. It leads many to give up. [3]  Sadly, in this American culture, most are motivated to serve only to impress the people they really cannot stand! 

So it is with any motivation from the Law. It reveals our sin. “But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” The path into hell is always paved with good intentions. The Old Adam in us is still trying self-justification.

Jesus, though. Did not come teaching lessons like the Good Samaritan to inspire you on how to live a better life but to reveal that we simply can't. But once you realize that. Your Savior then desires to show your repentant heart what He has done to free you and forgive you.

Jesus truly helped all. Only He was the "Good Samaritan." As the Son of God. He was the only one who could be. His greatest act of love proves it to be the case. Jesus offered His life in exchange for yours. He took all your sins as His own. He paid their full price on His cross. In exchange. He gives you everything.  The forgiveness of sins. And eternal life. He then gives you opportunities to help and serve your neighbor in love. 

The Christian life is not mere theory. It is faith always active in love toward the neighbor. God does not need your good works. Your neighbor, however, always will. Thus, the Savior gives you opportunities to love and serve your neighbor. As Jesus says in our Gospel today – “To show mercy!”  Not motivated for some righteous reward. Rather. He gives you a servant’s heart. And places opportunities before you. To be salt and light in this world. 

Dr. King put it best when he said,

Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.” [4]

Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” It is, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

[1.]   Google Image, “The Good Samaritan” by Aime Morot LeBon
[2.]  Collect for Proper 10 Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis 
[3]  Pr. Tim Daub, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Hecla, South Dakota
[4.] Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 'The Drum Major Instinct' delivered at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, February 4, 1968
Words – 910
Passive Sentences –3% 
Readability – 82.3%
Reading Level- 4.2

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