Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity – Pr. Anderson sermon
St. Luke 10:23-37 “Since Jesus is Your Good Samaritan, You Will Live”
September 3, 2023 | Christ Lutheran Church
In Nomine Iesu
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O Lord Jesus Christ, our Good Samaritan and only Mediator, who, seeing us in our guilt and blood, had pity upon us and of Your infinite mercy gave Your innocent blood in payment for our sins that we might live, we humbly thank and praise You that You have saved us from destruction and by Your holy Word have brought us to the saving knowledge of You, our Redeemer; and we humbly ask You, enable us by Your Holy Spirit to love You, the true God, with our whole heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves, that we may show mercy on all men in their need, bind up their wounds with tender care, and ever in this evil world follow Your example of love and service, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, now and forever. Amen. (The Lutheran Liturgy, companion altar book for The Lutheran Hymnal, p. 156)
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. (Rom. 1:7, etc.)
The sermon text for today is taken from the 10th chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke. We read selected verses in Jesus’ name:
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
“Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”
He said, “The one who showed him mercy.”
And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
These are Your words, heavenly Father. Sanctify us by Your truth, Your Word is truth. Amen. (Joh. 17:17)
In Christ Jesus, who sees you in your guilt and blood and sheds His blood so that you might live, dear fellow redeemed:
Jesus begins our text telling the disciples, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” For thousands of years, the children of Adam and Eve were hanging onto a promise. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). This is the first promise. From Adam to Noah, Abraham to Moses, everyone is holding onto this one promise. God is going to send a Savior, a great helper. Did God keep His promise? Jesus tells His disciples, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!” David and Isaiah wrote some of the most vivid details about the suffering servant. They never got to see Jesus and here He is the promise of God. The disciples get to witness something great. Jesus teaches this with the parable. Jesus is the Good Samaritan, you will live.
After telling the disciples what they are seeing is the promise that has been long awaited for, Jesus gives a lawyer a hard lesson. Now this lawyer is not like our lawyer. He knows Jewish law and tradition. As the text says, we see that he is trying to test Jesus. He comes swinging with a question to test Jesus’ knowledge of the law. “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” We see time and time again how it goes when Jesus’ enemies try to trap Him. If the devil couldn’t do it, these guys aren’t going to be able to do it either. Jesus counters the lawyer with a question of His own. “You’re the lawyer, you tell me.” This is exactly what the lawyer does. He tells Jesus that in order to have eternal life, he is supposed to love God and love his neighbor.
Now that shouldn’t be too hard, showing love to God and showing love toward his neighbor. It says so right in God’s law. The lawyer is quoting the Old Testament. Everything that God wants fits right into these two commands. The lawyer knows them as his job is to know them. He answered the question correctly. So, why do we see the lawyer getting rattled in our text? He answered right, Jesus tells him so. The lawyer gets worked up with what Jesus adds, or what Jesus includes that is also part of God’s law. “And He said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.'” The lawyer has realized his test has backfired. Jesus has pointed out to the lawyer that it’s not as easy as it sounds. The lawyer should know that right before the two commands the law says, “You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 18:4-5). Being bested by Jesus and the lawyer realizing the difficulty in keeping the law, he then looks to justify himself. If Jesus is so smart then He should be able to tell the lawyer who his neighbor is.
Jesus does tell the lawyer who his neighbor is, and it is not someone who he is thinking about. The lawyer tries to justify himself and like anyone who tries to justify themselves before the Lord we fail miserably. That is what we try to do. We want to justify ourselves before God. Jesus is using this parable to point this out. We should love Him with all of our hearts, souls and minds and we should love our neighbors as ourselves. As this sounds so easy, Jesus Words of “do this and you will live” echo in our ears. Like the lawyer, there can be times that we want to earn our own salvation. We think that we are good people. Are we truly good though? We want the law rewritten for our sins. One day we will tell God how much we love Him, and the next day we are engaged in a sin of habit. When we are caught with our hands in the cookie jar, we try to point out to God why we are good.
God tells us that we will never be good enough. We can’t justify anything we do as the lawyer tries to. Is God fair? Is He being mean? It is easy to listen to the world about what looks good and fair. God however will judge us according to what we have done and He has the final say. The law is two-fold. Even if we do love God, well do we love our neighbor as ourselves? Do we help the one who is lying bloodied in the street? It’s not the fact that our neighbor is bloodied, this also is us determining what is good. If we think that we are good, then we think someone else is bad. We can decide that we are the judge. As we ignore people and compare ourselves to others like the priest and the Levite who walked past, God tells us that because of our sins we are the ones lying bloodied in the road. Our sins are going to cause us to die.
Does the man who has been robbed and left for dead die? As the men of God walk past, here comes another man, an enemy. “But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.” The Jews and Samaritans have deep hatred for each other. This Samaritan could have been just like the priest and the Levite. He could have walked right by, not giving this man a second glance. Jesus wants the people to see that their neighbor is not only those who are like minded. The priest and the Levite maybe had what we would think as a good excuse to not help the man. Jesus says there is no excuse; you have to obey the law and live. The Samaritan sees the man, has compassion on him, and then takes care of him. He had mercy on him.
The mercy that the Samaritan has on the man is Jesus showing the mercy that He has on the people. God’s plan is taking place before the disciple’s eyes. Prophets and kings desire to see and as the parable states, Jesus has come to take care of His people. “He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’” Jesus is the Good Samaritan, and as He picks up the broken man and takes care of his wounds He is the reason that you will live.
Without Jesus you will die. You would die a spiritual death forever. As your sins have you bloodied, lying on the ground, and near death, Jesus comes to you. He binds up your wounds and He washes away your hurt. How does He wash you? You are not the only one who ended up bloody, beaten, and broken. You find your comfort and healing in the bloody wounds of your crucified Savior. He took your sins, and wiped them away. You will live and have eternal life in Christ because of His love for you and He doesn’t stop there. He continues to provide for you and pays for the inn for the rest of your life on earth. As Christ rose from the dead, you can also confess like St. Paul, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Christ has loved God perfectly and loved you perfectly, so you will live forever, even when your physical body falls asleep.
The lawyer now sees who his neighbor is and how he can have eternal life. He admits that it is, “The one who showed him mercy.” It was that Good Samaritan, his enemy. Jesus teaches that the Gospel is not for one group. The Gospel message is for everyone. He is the only way to eternal life. The world seeks ways to earn it, yet the identity of the Good Samaritan is clear. Jesus is the One who helps, comforts, and strengthens those who believe in Him. And as people believe in Him, they will live. As the lawyer realizes who his neighbor is, “Jesus said to him, ‘You go, and do likewise.'” Here is the second part. Believing in Christ, you will want to help those in need. These works spring forth as you have compassion. Will there be times that you walk past them, that you compare yourself to them? It will happen. As you “go and do likewise”, you will not do it perfectly. In your bloody weakness, Christ will once again come and pick you up, wiping the sins off of you, when you return to His bloody wounds shed for you.
Jesus death on the cross was the fulfillment of God’s great promise. The disciples were blessed because they saw the
fulfillment of the promise coming to completion before their eyes. This is what the prophets and kings were looking forward to. They were looking to the coming Savior to take away the sins of the world. They trusted in the promise that they couldn’t see. We also trust in the promise of God. That He loved us to send His one and only Son. We were His enemies. But He has mercy. He sees us lying in the road near dead, the death that we deserved because we can’t love God perfectly or our neighbor. He is perfect. Jesus is the Good Samaritan and in His death and resurrection, you will live. Amen.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, forevermore. Amen.
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