December 28, 2014
*Intro* – A traveler just outside Taos, NM, found an Indian lying in the middle of the road, ear pressed to the blacktop.
“What are you tracking?”
The Indian replied, “Man and woman, late 30’s, 3 kids, one barking dog, SUV traveling 65 MPH.”
The guy said, “Amazing.
You can tell all that just by listening?”
The Indian replied, “No.
They just ran over me 5 minutes ago.”
So here’s our challenge.
Who are we running over that we ought to be loving to Christ?
We saw last week the main message of this parable is the law can’t save you.
Jesus shows this law expert the perfection demanded is too high for any of us to meet.
The parable is primarily to demonstrate the impossibility of loving God and loving our neighbor with all our heart.
Our sins can’t be paid for by us; they must be forgiven by God based on the cross.
The parable teaches, “Here is perfect love, and you know very well you don’t meet it, so accept me as your Lord and Savior.”
The law can’t save; it shows we need to be saved.
But once we accept Jesus, we get a changed heart.
We begin a process called “sanctification” which means we become more and more like Jesus.
That’s the second purpose of the law – to show how the family lives.
The parable isn’t saying get saved by doing loving others; it is saying, because you are loved by Jesus, love others, too!
Even a believer won’t be perfect.
But it’s our goal -- to love like Jesus loved?
So, how does perfect love act?
What Love Doesn’t Do*
V. 30: “Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
(A desolate 17-mile road descends 3,000 feet in elevation from Jerusalem to Jericho.
Its rocky wilderness provided perfect shelter for robbers.
Even going by bus today, you would be hoping bus didn’t break down), and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.”
Here are 2 opposite responses to human need.
Unfortunately, the negative reaction is represented by the religionists – a priest and Levite.
Sometimes religion can be the very thing that prevents love.
Love is an action word.
We can feel for someone emotionally, but never roll up our sleeves and help.
That is not love – not until and unless we take positive action.
The Bible knows nothing of love that does not act.
And when religious prejudice, or any bias, keeps us from acting, we have not loved, we have merely emoted.
So, from these two negative examples, we learn two things love does not do.
It does not pass by, and it does not pacify.
The lawyer and Jesus concurred that the law requires us to love God and love our neighbor.
But then the lawyer asks a question that reveals more of his heart than he intended.
“Who is my neighbor?”
But think a moment.
That question implies there are some who are not my neighbor; therefore there are some whom I have no obligation to love.
There are some I can pass by.
Jesus’ parable quickly and convincingly puts the lie to that inference, doesn’t it?
The parable teaches your neighbor is anyone in need that you can help.
The principle is that love doesn’t pass by anyone.
The lawyer should have known this.
The law itself taught this.
Lev 19:33, “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong.
34 You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” That’s what the parable teaches.
Who is my neighbor?
Anyone who needs help I can give.
Who can I pass by?
The lawyer asks, “Who can I pass by?”
The answer: No one!
Love doesn’t pass by anyone in need!
Yet, we find a lot of reasons to pass by, don’t we?
Fear of Contamination – The Bible doesn’t say why the priest and Levite passed by.
They clearly saw the need and purposely distanced themselves.
Perhaps they feared contamination.
Touching a dead body would have rendered them ceremonially unclean and required a 7-day cleansing process.
Perhaps they feared that.
We don’t fear ceremonial contamination, but we fear other things.
Perhaps we avoid sick people for fear of contamination – maybe AIDS victims.
Perhaps we guard our carefully presented home and will not host groups or individuals who need our love for fear they might mess up the carpet.
Beloved, love doesn’t think that way.
It trusts God.
Too Busy – Some suggest these guys were scheduled at the temple and too busy to help.
But they were going down.
Remember the queen in Alice in Wonderland.
When told that her people had to run very fast to get anyplace she told Alice, “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.
If you want to get somewhere else you must run at least twice as fast as that.”
That probably sounds very familiar to us.
But it’s time to ask, who am I missing what God has put in my way to love because I’m too busy?
Fear of Repercussions – Perhaps those men feared if they stopped, they, too would be robbed.
No use having 2 victims!
It’s a common rationalization.
Refuse to love because someone might take advantage.
If I give that person a meal now, they’ll be back again tomorrow.
Others may find out I’m an easy touch.
Or, what if the Mexican drug cartel in Guatemala shows up while I’m there on a mission trip?
Beloved, I’m not advocating carelessness, but we must seriously ask if fear of repercussion is slowing us down.
The Person is Undeserving – Perhaps they thought that guy didn’t deserve help.
He’d been careless and was a Samaritan to boot.
He didn’t deserve help.
Ever let that thought keep you from loving someone?
That person is homeless through their own negligence or addiction or whatever.
They will only spend my help on drugs or alcohol anyway.
My dear wife solved that problem in NYC where you don’t have to walk the streets long before someone will accost you for help.
She didn’t want the help to go to the wrong places so she bought a bunch of Wendy’s food coupons to hand out!
We don’t love people because they deserve it; we love them because God deserves it.