Prepare – Luke 10:25-37
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life? “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘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 neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
This passage is one of my favorite childhood Bible stories. If you were brought up in the church, no doubt, you have heard it a hundred times.
As you read through the verses, who are you in the story? The expert who viewed the man as a point of discussion? The robber who viewed the man as someone to take advantage of? The religious man who saw the person as someone to avoid? The Samaritan who saw the man as someone who needed help?
Most likely, if you are like me, you have played all of the roles mentioned, at one time or another. Surrounded by lost people, we have at times, if we are to be brutally honest, viewed them as lost and hopeless, maybe even out of the reach of God. That is simply contrary to the grace and hope we read in scripture.
This passage brings to my mind a clear presentation of the gospel and a method for reaching the lost. Good works leads to good will which leads to good news. The good works we are called to do (Ephesians 2:10) – are not acts of righteousness, but rather our obedience to the Word and pursuit of Christ-likeness. Our good works leads to good will, or favor with others, and an open door to share the good news. Others will hear the good news because their hearts and minds have been open because of our good works and good will. The rest is up to the Holy Spirit and the person.
Who is on your Most Wanted List? Who have you identified as someone who desperately needs to know Jesus? Pray, asking God to give you opportunities to demonstrate good works that leads to favor and an openness of the gospel.
~ Pastor Andy Veith