Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday, September 6, 2009 Trinity 13

And look, a certain law-expert stood testing Him, saying, "Teacher, by doing what will I inherit eternal life?" And He said to him, "In the Law, what has been written? How do you read?" And answering, he said, "Love the Lord your God of the whole of your heart, and in the whole of your soul, and in the whole of your strength and in the whole of your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." And He said to him, "You have judged rightly; do this and you will live." But he, wanting to justify himself said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Taking it up, Jesus said, "A certain man was going down from Jerusalem into Jericho and fell among robbers, who both stripping him and striking blows went off, leaving him for dead. And according to coincidence, a certain priest was going down in that road and seeing him, went along the other side. And likewise, also a Levite having come down to the place and seeing, went along the other side. And a certain Samaritan travelling came down to him and seeing was gut-wrenched, and having come forward He bound his wounds, pouring oil and wine, and setting him upon His own beast, He brought him into an inn and cared for him. And upon the morrow, having taken out two denarii, He gave to the innkeeper and said, `Care for him, and whatever you may overspend, I Myself, in My returning I will give you.' Which of these three does it seem to you became a neighbor of him who fell among robbers?" And he said, "The one doing mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and you yourself keep doing likewise!"

The Good Samaritan parable is told to a single person, but its message is for all, including each of us. It's Law is clear: "Go and do likewise", but its Gospel is the Good Samaritan Himself.

The 1st problem the Law-expert had was his approach to Jesus. He wanted to test Jesus. Oh, he calls Jesus *teacher*, but he hardly acts like a student. He's a know-it-all, and assumes he's Jesus' teacher, and so gives the Lord a test. He wasn't even a nice teacher, since he was hoping Jesus would fail the test, and the law-expert could prove himself to be the superior teacher. Repent of those times you have thought that you knew so much that you didn't need to consult God as your Teacher.

Even though this man was not acting like a good student, Jesus took time to teach him anyway. Christ does the same for you, instructing you with His Word in Sunday School and in Bible Class. He comforts you with His Word in your daily devotions in the Scriptures. Jesus is such a kind Teacher that He even proclaims you forgiven for your poor attitudes toward learning, for He went to the cross to suffer for your rebellious attitudes, punished in your place there for your unwillingness to learn.

The second problem this expert-in-the-Law had was that he was all wrapped up in himself. His initial question reveals this, "What must I do..." As he read the scriptures, this man thought that they were all about him, so he searched God's Word thoroughly for all the Laws it contained. He forgot that this was not *his word*, but God's word. He failed to notice the merciful acts of God by which the LORD would save him. Repent of those times you too have thought everything was all about yourself.

Jesus answers the Law-expert's question...but with two questions of His Own. This man's response to Jesus is half-right. Only by loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and by loving your neighbor as yourself can everlasting life be merited. What he doesn't realize is the only One capable of living life with such perfect love is standing right before him! Jesus kept the Law perfectly for you, and then refused to keep the eternal life He earned, but gave it up at Calvary as a gift to you!

The third problem this Law-expert had was about neighborliness. He asked Jesus who his neighbor was. A 3 year old watching Sesame Street knows this–its the people that you meet each day. But this man wants to limit the # of those who receive his own love. God is perfect and deserves his love, but are sinners and unbelievers (like Samaritans) worthy to be loved? He doesn't think so. Jesus says love them anyway. Repent of those times you have withheld your love for others in need.

So Jesus tells the Good Samaritan story. You would expect the foreigner to be the one in urgent emergency at the side of the road (to test the Law-expert to see if he considers him help-worthy) but Jesus makes the Samaritan the hero. Jesus turns the tables on the Law-expert changing his question into "Who is most neighborly?". Jesus Himself is the Good Samaritan, Who, finding us left for dead in our sins, pays the full price to restore us to life again at the cost of His body given and His blood shed.

Hymns for today from LSB
#887 God, Who Made the Earth and Heaven
#683 Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me
#848 Lord, Whose Love through Humble Service

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