We Can't Look Away
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Take a moment to pray and ask God to open up your heart and mind to be attentive to what He would like to teach you in this time.
We are going to be learning about how God wants us to be working for His glory in this world. In a place that can be so dark and confusing, He has called us to be His light. We are called to help the people who need it and put our own desires to the side to do His will.
We are going to begin by reading Luke 10:29-37.
The Good Samaritan
"29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31“And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32“Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33“But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35“On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
So let's start with some context of this parable. The Priest and the Levite were two important religious leaders who taught the Old Testament laws. Some of these laws instructed people to avoid blood and dead bodies to remain clean. If they touched these things, they would be unclean and have to remove themselves from others for a period of time. Because of this, helping this man would be a larger inconvenience, not only would they stop and spend time helping the man on the road, but they would sacrifice their status and job. The people listening to this would have understood that and seen nothing wrong with their actions. They probably would have done the same thing. But we know that Jesus came to flip those thoughts on their head. He made it so that we don't have to follow a set of laws to be holy or close to God, because the God of the universe came down as Jesus Christ to break that divide. We can have a relationship with Him in our brokenness. That may be why he used the Samaritan for the next part of the story.
The Samaritans were hated by the Jewish people. They were seen as traitors and a lower race. This is because when the Northern Kingdom of Israel fell to the Assyrians, they broke the instructions they had been given by God, and intermarried with their captors and worshipped their gods. The race that came from these intermarriages was the Samaritans. Jesus knew this when he brought a Samaritan into the story, the crowd would have an already formed bias against this man. BUT Jesus used this man to teach the people what He would have them do, showing that not only was the beaten man their neighbor, but the Samaritan is as well, and they were being asked to love them unconditionally.
This would have been outrageous to the people listening and it should be confronting to us now as well. Jesus has shown us that there is no room for hate or bias in our faith. We must love EVERYONE as ourselves. Jesus demonstrated this over and over throughout His ministry, and we are to shape ourselves to be more like Him.
So what do we do with this information? How should we love everyone as Jesus loved? Jesus tells us more in John 14:12.
"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."
This is nuts. Jesus is telling us that not only can we do what He has done, which is miraculous, but even greater things? How can we do that?
Well, Jesus goes on to explain that when He goes to the Father He will give us the Holy Spirit, which is God in us. God can work through our lives despite our shortcomings and our brokenness because He is shining in us. We just have to get out of our own way and do the works He has for us to do. Jesus teaches about this as well in Matthew 5:14-16.
14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;15nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.16“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
He is instructing us to be the light in this dark world. He wants to shine through us. I wonder how many times we've hidden that light. Maybe because the problems we see seem too big or inconvenient. Maybe because we don't have a true understanding of the purpose God has given us.
Well, I want to challenge you that we cannot look away. We can't be like the priest and the Levite in the parable. We are called to be like the Good Samaritan, who saw a person in need and acted in love and empathy.
I believe that God has given each of us a purpose to fulfill for His glory on Earth. We need to seek it out, and stay focused on it. We can't do everything on our own but if the Church can grasp this and each play their part in God's bigger plan, we will see a much brighter world.
So I have a few questions for you to think about.
What passion has God put in your heart?
What are you doing to pursue that purpose in your life?
What verses reference a similar issue or shows how it aligns with God’s character?
My prayer for you is that God will show you His purpose for your life. That He will break your heart for what breaks His, and that He will provide all you need to shine His light in this dark world. Lord please open our hearts to be sensitive to You and Your guidance. We love you Lord, We surrender to Your will for our lives. In Jesus mighty name, Amen.