The Parable of the Good Samaritan
Key Verse: Luke 10:37 “The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’”
Good afternoon everyone,
It is good to see you all here in Chicago. Thank you for coming from near and far for this Annual North America UBF Representative Members meeting. Years ago, I asked late missionary Jacob Lee, “What is the members’ meeting? “ He said, “It is a kind of owners’ meeting of UBF ministry.” I thought that was cool that those members were owners of UBF ministry. Well, truth be told, nobody owns a church. So more accurately speaking we are trustworthy servants. You are the people of God and the Representative Members of the North America UBF. You are important people in God’s sight and I welcome you in his name.
Nowadays, we study the Luke’s gospel at Chicago UBF. The passage I chose for this meeting is the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
First, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Look at verse 25. On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus, “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” This was really a challenging question as the expert in the law asked this question to test Jesus. Jesus did not argue with him about the way of inheriting eternal life. He simply responded his question with a question, “What is written in the law?” he replied, “How do you read it?” Now Jesus was testing him with a question. “What is written in the law and how do you apply them?” The man said, “’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.’”
As a Jewish man, the expert in the Law knew what it was to love God with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength and with all his mind and to love his neighbor as himself. Look at verse 29. But the expert in the law wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” It is a simple question. But he wanted to justify himself. He probably would like to tell Jesus that he already loved his neighbor. This man was like most us, the faithful UBF people who love God and who take care of the sheep at campuses and family members. What else do we need to do? Who are our neighbors?
Second, “But a Samaritan…”
In reply Jesus said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.” Robbers are those who force others to get something from others. The man was attacked and beaten and was half dead. He was innocent. He truly was a victim of a violent crime. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. Look at verse 32, “So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.” The author did not explain why the priest and Levite did not help out the man and passed by the other side. They might have been too busy to help this man. They might have had important business to take care of. Or they also might have been scared and tried to get out of the dangerous situation as soon as they could to avoid another possible attack now to themselves.
Look at verses 33. “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, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii 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.’
The Samaritan might have been scared, too. But he thought about the victim more than his own comfort and safety. He had pity on him. He loved the victim. It is not always bad to have pity on others. We sometimes worry that we may spoil others by loving them and helping them. We want to make sure that the people we help may become strong and maybe able to help others. It is truly wholesome idea and the Bible encourage us to make others strong. But sometimes people need pity and mercy. Some people need more help than others. And even strong person could be a victim of an accident, attack or a disabling disease and become temporarily or permanently helpless. The Samaritan was brave and he had mercy on him. He risked his own safety to help the helpless. He not only took care of him at the spot but also later took him to a inn to give more appropriate care. He recruited the inn keeper to help the victim until he came back from his business.
Jesus asked the expert a question, “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.”
Who are our neighbors? Our neighbor is people who live next to us. My neighbors are Jose and Nancy, they are a retired couple. The other side of my house lives Alda. When her husband was sick, I visited him regularly and took care of his need and sang two songs per his request. Later he passed away. Our neighbors, according to Jesus, are those who are in need of help. The reason we visit campuses to serve the students is mainly because they are in need of help from God through the word of God. It is good to visit and help out who are in need. Many of us regularly visit campuses to help out needy students with the word of God and encouragement. Pastor Mark and his wife Kathy Vucekovich did a lot of visiting in 2015 especially among NA UBF chapters which need encouragement and help. They visited and studied the Bible with them and encourage them to be faithful in campus ministry and prayers. Pastor Abraham and missionary Sarah Kim visited many UBF chapters throughout the globe encouraging and supporting the needy chapters: especially small chapters. He made an effort to visit missionary Esther Kim in Latvia, who lost her husband recently.
Globally speaking, Syrian refugees are those who need help. It will be a good idea to help the victims of the civil war when they need our help. We Christians are good Samaritans in the eyes of God. God wants to use us as his hands and feet to serve the needy and pray for those who cannot stand on their own feet. May God help us help the helpless with what we have, the word of God, treasure and talents.
We need courage, compassion and boldness to help the needy among us: most of all we need the heart of Jesus, the Good Samaritan himself.
One word: Our neighbor are those in our community who are in need of our help.