Central Christian Church Lampasas
Parables: Meeting Needs
Pastor Nathan explores Parables Jesus told in Matthew and Luke.
Locations & Times
  • Central Christian Church
    204 S Broad St, Lampasas, TX 76550, USA
    Sunday 10:30 AM
Sunday, August 21st
Sept 7th -- Women's Wednesday 6PM

Sept 11th — Board Meeting 11:30 AM
Patriot’s Day Prayer Service 6 PM

Sept 17th -- Men's Breakfast 8 AM @ Country Kitchen

Sept 21st -- Women's Wednesday 6 PM

Sept 25th -- Operation Christmas Child Kickoff. Guest Speaker Kathy Dutton in Worship Service

Oct 24th — Women’s More Event

Oct 31st - Neighborhood Block party

We are told that this man is a lawyer; but he is not the kind of lawyer who goes to court in a civil or criminal case. This “lawyer” is an expert in Old Testament Law.

The question asked of Jesus by this lawyer is: “What do I have to do to have eternal life?” Basically, he is asking, “What must I do to be saved?” When he asked Jesus the question about eternal life, he was asking what Jesus saw as the essential requirements of the Law. Much like the rich young ruler of Matthew he seems to be saying,

Jesus asks the question; the man gives the answer and then Jesus responds by saying, “Good answer, now do it.” Some are troubled by this answer but we need to understand that Jesus is not saying that he could be saved by the law. He is reminding the man what the law says. The law requires not only that one keep the law, but that he keep it perfectly. The law must be kept without omissions or failures. To be justified under the law one must be perfect. Jesus wants the lawyer to see that law cannot save anyone because no one can keep the law perfectly.

The lawyer begin to look for loop holes.
Why did the lawyer ask this question? Luke says that he wanted to “justify himself,” or make himself seem right in his relationship with God. The lawyer measured himself against both commands and he figured that he met the first one well enough, but his keeping of the second one depending on how you defined “neighbor.” He was asking, “Who and how much do I have to love?” We are often like the lawyer in that we try to reduce God’s commands to something we can live with. We would like to believe that loving my neighbor means loving people who love me, or at least loving people who are lovable. Loving my neighbor thereby comes to mean; doing nice things for people who will probably do nice things back to me. That is probably what he lawyer thought too.

The lawyer’s original question was “What do I have to do to get in?” But Jesus’ answer is to tell him what someone who is already in looks like. Like many of us, the Lawyer knew the right answers. He was totally unprepared for Jesus’ story about what compassion looks like in real life.

Jesus defines neighbor with a story but notice that Jesus did not call this story a parable, so it could have been the report of a real incident. The journey from Jericho to Jerusalem was well known for its danger. It was very steep and treacherous because of the many places for robbers to hide. In fact it was so bad that the name of the road was “the way of blood.” So this is a very believable story to those who were listening.

Compassion is Based on Not Worth
Our compassion is to be driven, not by the “worth” of the recipient but by the need. Jesus just says, “A certain man…” Today we would probably just say, “Some guy…” The man is robbed and wounded and left for dead. He needs help in the worse way.

A priest came down the road, but when he saw the man he crossed to the other side and continued his journey. The priest has been excused by some down through the years, by saying that he didn’t want to touch the man because he might have been dead, and this would have made the priest ceremonially unclean and he would have been unable to carry out his duties. But I want you to notice it says that both he and the Levite who came along next are coming “down the road” thus they were leaving Jerusalem and had already performed their duties.

This is one of the most shocking aspects of this parable when Jesus told it. The priest was considered the holiest person there was among the Jews. He was taught the Scriptures. He was entrusted with offering sacrifices for the sin of the people. He was allowed to go further into the Temple than “regular” people were. If anyone was going to reflect the character of God, it would be the priest.
The Levite at least went over and looked at the man, but perhaps it was no more than the current practice of “rubber necking” at the scene of an accident to see what had happened. He too did not feel a need to do anything to help.

Like Kitty Genovese’s neighbors, the first two passersby probably just didn’t want to get involved. They didn’t want any trouble. They weren’t monsters. They were regular folks: nice, ordinary people who loved their kids and tried their best to get by in the world. Just like the witnesses in Kitty’s murder, they saw the need, did not do anything about it. Both men of these men, saw the man but ignored the need. These two religious professionals, were caught up in a life-less religion. They played at church, but it does not affect the way they live. Does yours?

Compassion is based on need not on the worth of the recipient. Compassion feels something.
It would have been shocking for Jesus to have told the people that this man was helped by just an ordinary man. It is not even a Jew helping a Jew, but rather a Samaritan helping a Jew who had been ignored by his fellow Jews. Given the mutual hatred between Jews and Samaritans, it would have been more likely to have expected the Samaritan to finish the guy off. Today we call this story “The Parable of The Good Samaritan.” In fact the very phrase, “good Samaritan” has become part of our common language. But this was definitely not a phrase in use by Jews of Jesus’ day. In fact, they probably couldn’t have even considered saying the words “good” and “Samaritan” in the same sentence.

The passage says that “when he saw him, he had compassion,” the Greek word used here for compassion (splanchnizomai) is a very vivid one. It comes from a word that refers to the intestines, or bowels. It’s the equivalent of what we mean when we talk about a “gut feeling.” A gut feeling is one that comes from the deepest part of who we are. The Samaritan saw the same pitiful man lying in agony beside the road and his heart churned within him so that he could not pass by without helping. That’s the way compassion affects us. It stirs us; it troubles us, it keeps us awake at night until we do something.

When that Samaritan looked at that suffering man lying half-dead by the side of the road, something happened in his gut; something that made it impossible for him to walk away. He didn’t decide to help this guy on the basis of how worthy he was. He helped him because of how needy he was.

There is no a logical reason for the Samaritan to rearrange his plans or to spend his money to help an “enemy” in need. Of all the people who passed this injured man by the Samaritan had the least reason to help, he was a no-account in his society before this incident and his good deed would not change his status in the community at large.

Compassion not only feels something but compassion does something.

Not only was the Samaritan’s compassion based on the need, rather than the worth, of the victim, but it caused the Samaritan to feel something so deeply that it had to be expressed in action.
He doesn’t pass by on the other side. He moved toward the injured man. You must move toward people to express compassion, in order to build relationships. It is not something that just mystically happens, it takes concentrated effort. It often is not convenient. The Samaritan is moving toward someone who if he was conscious would despise him; someone who no doubt would not do the same for him if the situations were reversed.

Jesus details in a series of six verbs just how active this man’s compassion was, he went to him, he bandaged his wounds, he poured oil and wine on his wounds, he put him on his donkey, he brought him to an inn and he took care of him.

In every one of his acts he demonstrated compassion as he responded in a practical, timely and unselfish way. He put him on his own donkey which meant that the Samaritan walked.

It is important to recognize that he took the time to take care of him. We may not be able to help everywhere, or help everyone, but we can help somewhere and try to do a meaningful work of service.

Compassion Cost Something and Compassion Demonstrates Our Relationship to God
The lawyer almost chokes on his words here. He cannot even bring himself to say the word “Samaritan”. For the second time Jesus tells this man to do something in order to inherit eternal life. Why does Jesus say this? Because he realizes that this man will not turn to him for salvation until he turns from his dependence on “doing” something to earn eternal life.

The lawyer is left without any of the excuses or the vindication that he wanted. The second question that the lawyer had asked was, “Who is my neighbor?” the question had been turned on him and is now, “What kind of neighbor am I?”
Compassion demonstrates whether we have we have a relationship with God.

In this story Jesus is separating the person who has a real relationship with God from the merely religious. We saw what the religious folks did when they saw this man bruised and battered by the side of the road. They kept walking. In fact, they crossed the street and kept walking.

Perhaps you have identified with this man’s question, “What must I do to go to Heaven?” The answer is the same, stop trying to inherit Heaven by doing – instead, believe on Jesus; trust that Jesus has already paid the penalty for you