Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The Good Samaritan - Part One of Three

Luke 10:25-37

Our church has been using a Bible Reading Plan this year called E 100. We read two scripture passages each week that are key in the Word of God. Pastor preaches on the passages on Wednesday evenings and at Sunday morning service. It has been a real blessing and has encouraged the body to dig into the Word of God.

This week I have been reading the story of "The Good Samaritan". As I reflected upon the scripture and sought what the Lord was teaching me, it seemed the Lord continually brought me back to one theme...this story brings to light the dangers of the religious spirit.

The story is presented when a lawyer, who was likely a scribe and very familiar with the law, asked Jesus, "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him with another question, "What is written in the Law?" The lawyer 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." The lawyer was not satisfied and asked, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied as He often would, with a story.

The story presents a person who was injured on the dangerous road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Robbers left the man for dead. A priest passed him by offering no assistance, a Levite passed him by offering no assistance, and then a Samaritan arrived who not only gave him immediate care for his wounds but took him to an inn and provided the necessary funds (2 days wages) for his continued care. Amazing, God used a Samaritan to teach this learned lawyer who was likely a Pharisee or Sadducee.

Now the Jewish people did not associate with Samaritans. Samaritans were a mixed race of people. The King of Assyria brought people from Babylon, Kuthah, Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim and settled them in the towns of Samaria to replace the Israelites. The people took over Samaria and lived in its towns. While living in Samaria the people did not worship the LORD but rather the gods of their home nation. The King of Assyria sent a priest from the Israelites to go and teach them to worship the Lord. They did so but they continued to also worship their gods in the high places and offer sacrifices to them. Some Jews inter-married with the foreigners who were living in Samaria. To learn more about Samaritans read 2 Kings 17:24-41.

The Priests and Levites surely did not associate with Samaritans. They would never think of a Samaritan as following the Scripture more correctly then they. In addition, although the Bible does not tell us anything about the man who was injured, it is fair to say that the Priest and Levite who passed him by must have presumed that the injured man was not their "neighbor". You see, they viewed a neighbor was anyone they considered "righteous". The Samaritans therefore did not qualify. Sadly, the Priests and Levites, the Pharisees and the Sadducees did not know the truth that we are all sinners and not even one person is righteous apart from Christ. The leadership of the Temple were sadly a people who believed anyone who was "wicked" was hated by God. They did not know that although God does hate sin, He loves the sinner. Trapped in their religious system, they were not open to the revelation that Messiah was standing with them. Messiah who physically lived among them loved the sinner so much He would die on the cross. They were so stuck in "religion" they did not have eyes to see their salvation standing in front of them. That is how "religion" works. It causes us to be critical and closed to what the Holy Spirit is telling us.

Perhaps there are places you are stuck because of a spirit of religion. Please keep an eye out for part 2 of this message for more understanding and help with getting free of the spirit of religion.

Patricia L. Wenzel
WOC Graduate

James 4:7-9
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.

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