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Orpheus42
03-19-02, 11:01 AM
This is the message I'm going to give tonight at our campus praise and worship meeting.

The parable of the Good Samaritan – this is a passage with which every Christian is familiar. However… I’m not convinced it’s a passage every Christian understands to the fullest extent. The parable of the Good Samaritan is perhaps the most famous of all Jesus’ parables. We learn about it in Sunday school, we hear about it in sermons, countless books and articles have been written about its meaning. However, one thing that is rarely mentioned is the missionary aspect of this particular message from the Lord. Before I continue, first let us have a look at the passage itself.
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?" Jesus 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 the man 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 fell into the hands of 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, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins 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." (Luke 10:25-37)
The “expert” in the law asked Jesus… “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus’ answer was simple and yet incredibly profound- even someone who is considered to be your most vile enemy, the scum of the earth, as the Samaritans were to the Jews in ancient Palestine, is my neighbor whom I am obligated to love and serve- and that is obligation that is not supposed to be because of a feeling of duty, but because of love for the person and joy at the prospect of serving him. “Who is my neighbor?” A tougher question to answer would be “Who is not my neighbor.” This is consistent with the whole Biblical picture of Jesus’ ministry. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even pagans do that?” Clearly, a most significant part of our mission is doing just that- loving our neighbors. What is the purpose for this? Countless times throughout both the Old Testament and the New, God states that he desires for his chosen people to have compassion, mercy, a sense of love and justice towards each other. These qualities are innate attributes of God, and we are told to “be perfect just as the Father is perfect”.

But there clearly is another reason for this. In John 13:35 Jesus says, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” One of the main aspects of Matthew’s Gospel is the command given to disciples of Jesus to evangelize, to bring others into the faith. I, as a disciple, am commanded to love my neighbor as myself, to do unto him as I would ask him to do unto me. If our love for each other, as brothers and sisters in Christ, will bring attention to Jesus as mentioned in John, how much more attention will it bring to the Lord if we have unconditional, agape love for everyone around us- even those we are expected by the world to hate? There’s an old song called “They’ll Know We are Christians by Our Love”. That sums it all up right there. The unconditional love the father has shown us is to be shown by us to those with whom we come in contact.

A good friend of mine who is not a Christian once made a statement that I will never forget. She had just attended a praise and worship session with me and some of my other friends. I thought things went pretty well that evening, I thought God had told me some real, solid stuff. However, God didn’t tell me anything over the course of the evening that even compared to what he revealed to me through my friend. She did not think things had gone well that evening. Very few, if any, people had bothered to talk to her before or after the session. She did not know any of the songs we sang, and no one made an effort to include her. She did not know any of the people there, except for having met a few of them once before- but very few of them even bothered to say hello. A newcomer to the assembly, not a member of the Body of Christ, was not shown any of this wonderful love we had all come together to celebrate. She was NOT in any way attracted to Christ through her experience with his disciples- and she said to me perhaps the most painful words I have ever heard come out of a person’s mouth. She said, “Why would I want to be like you all when it looks to me like you’re no different from anyone else?” Why indeed… Why would anyone who has only experienced abuse and pain for her whole life wish to conform to the likeness of a Savior who only inspires people to behave in a way that is no different from anyone else she has ever met? Is this what Christ is like? Is this the image of the Father who has saved us from the depths of hell? There is a world out there and not even out there- there is a world IN HERE on this campus full of people who are desperately in need of a Savior. They need what we have, but we do not show them what we have. And while we sit on our laurels, and retreat within our own little groups, and shut out the outside world that outside world slips away into eternal death.

Who is my neighbor? You are all my neighbors. The British studies professor I love to hate- he is my neighbor. The lady who serves that delicious food in the dining hall, the young lady who scrubs our toilets and cleans our sink… they are my neighbors. The drunk people who stumble down our hallway talking loudly and banging into things making one heck of a racket at 4 am when I’m trying to sleep- they are my neighbors. And they need Jesus just as much as I do. Father God, I pray you show me how to love my neighbors and to see them with the eyes through which you see them. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Peace, Love, and Jesus Christ,

Jason

Nicole
03-19-02, 11:11 AM
since I've already given you most of my comments, I'll just say:


wow


quite convicting, quite needed

Michele
03-19-02, 11:37 AM
that was awesome....

Thank you God for giving Jason that message. Please give him strength and courage as he gives your words to others tonight.

Vinnie
03-19-02, 11:50 AM
Sweet!

Scholarcs
03-23-02, 09:42 PM
Excellent post Jason.

I think what God is trying to tell you is that you need to act differently from eveyone else.

I know I am not perfect at this. No one is. But we should all try to be different, to appear different to everyone else.