September 10, 2017
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
INI + AMEN.
“Blesséd are the eyes that see what you see. Many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see and hear what you hear,” and they did not.
((5. Oops!: We’re all lawyers.))
We don’t fully understand the joy of those words because we’re all lawyers. We may not ask the question “Who’s my neighbor,” but we all act as if some people are less our neighbor than others. “There are those whom [we] have failed to help.” There are those we don’t really want to help! We’d rather not. It’s too much of a bother. We’ve helped them enough, already. Oh, we may end up helping them in the end, but we don’t really like it. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just write off helping them and not have to worry about it?
We “strain out the gnat and swallow the camel.” We’re supposed to love our neighbor, if we don’t like somebody close to us (family, church members, friends), well then I’ll help somebody else. We’ll move someone else (maybe people we don’t know, people far away, the poor, the homeless)—we’ll move them up the neighbor list and push those closest to us down. We pick and choose our love, but love should flow outward from us, like when a stone creates ripples in a pond—first those closest, then those farther away.
((4. Ugh!: “Go and do likewise.”))
Yet, we still think: “What must I do?” We want a Law answer. That’s just the human way. If you want a Law answer, Jesus has a Law answer. That’s what He gives the lawyer, what He gives to anyone who wants that sort of answer.
It’ll if we put modern characters into the parable. “A Lutheran pastor and Lutheran school teacher pass by the helpless fellow, but a Muslim helps him. Which do think was neighbor to that man?” “The one who showed him mercy.” “Go and do likewise,” Jesus commands.
Be the good Samaritan. Be the merciful Muslim. Be that way for people who probably hate you. Be that way to those closest to you. (It’s actually harder to love them.) “Go and do,” Jesus says. Not just outward action, either. A love from your heart for one and all. True love. Fervent love.
This “Go and do likewise” Law, the Law we should do from free and generous heart, this Law damns us.
((3. Aha!: JESUS IS YOUR MERCIFUL GOOD SAMARITAN.))
But what if Jesus’ Law answer isn’t the whole story? What if it’s not a Law parable at all! What if Jesus has something else in mind, has someone else in mind, has Himself in mind?
JESUS IS YOUR MERCIFUL GOOD SAMARITAN.
((2. Whee!: He “bears your burdens and binds your wounds.”))
The problem is that we’re in the ditch. Sin and devil did their worst. We don’t want to believe it. We’d rather make up for our failings in some way, and Jesus has to tell us, “If you want to be that way, well, be like Me. Perfect. Love the unloveable. Help those who hate you.” And we should be that way!
But for those beaten down, who want to love their neighbor but struggle day in and day out to actually do it, and who end up barely doing it, certainly not perfectly. Well, Jesus “bears your burdens and binds your wounds.” He dies and rises for our not having “fervent love toward one another.” Where our love for others fails and comes up short, His love for you does not fail. He has real, heartfelt, gut-wrenching love for you and for all. Only Jesus has that sort of compassion.
((1. Yeah!: Your ears and eyes are blessed.)) (23–24)
Your ears and eyes are truly blessed today! Jesus “pours on oil and wine.” He poured it on Korben today. Jesus anointed Korben with His own righteousness. He delivers His wine: His body to eat, His blood to drink for the forgiveness of sins. He gives newness of life, rescue from the ditch in His Baptism and His Supper. It’s not just a one time thing, it’s continual rescuing, daily rescuing, weekly rescuing, life-long rescuing in the inn of His Church. That’s the sort of compassion Jesus has.
He will return for you, too. As the Samaritan only gave two-days worth of money and would return on the third, so also Jesus rose on the third day, and because He did that, He will fulfill His promise to come back to take you to Himself.
“Blesséd are the eyes that see what you see.” An infant saved by Jesus. Jesus’ body and blood given to sinners for their forgiveness and life. “Many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see and hear what you hear,” to hear Jesus Himself say that He IS YOUR MERCIFUL GOOD SAMARITAN now and forever.
INI + AMEN.