Go and Do the Same
36 Which of these three do you think proved himself a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?
37 He answered, The one who showed pity and mercy to him. And Jesus said to him, Go and do likewise.
In Luke chapter 10 Jesus tells a story about a man who has lost everything to others and almost his life as well (Luke 10:25-35). It was not the choice of this man to lose everything, it just happened. He was left disabled and almost dead, by those who had taken everything. He fell into circumstances that were beyond his control, much like some today. There is no rhyme or reason for what has happened, but you lose everything that you had, and life leaves you disabled or stranded, unable to care for yourself and your family. In the story it was robbers, but in life it can be illness, injury, orphaned, widowed, and any number of things that can rob you and leave you unable to provide for yourself for a season or the rest of your life.
In the story the man “fell among robbers”. Now I am sure that this man, when starting on his journey made the decision to take all he owned and get robbed. No, he did not! He was doing everyday concerns! He may have been a traveling vender, we don’t know, but he was traveling from here to there. The robbers stripped him of everything. Not only that but they beat him and left him to lie along the road half dead. It does not say how long this man lay there, but I am sure he was praying “God help me”. I know I would be, if it were me left there half dead.
Now here we must digress a bit, just to understand the rest of the message. It was one of the legal-minded members of the Temple (church) who posed a question to Jesus. In verse 25 we find this question, “Teacher, what am I to do to inherit everlasting life [that is, to partake of eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” It is the same question we are all asking, “What must I do to inherit everlasting life?” The answer was a simple one, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with your entire mind; and love your neighbor as yourself. [Lev. 19:18; Deut. 6:5.]” Notice here it was the same answer given over two thousands years earlier by God to Moses. The lawyer who asks Jesus the question, “Who is my neighbor?” (v29) is trying to find a loophole or dodge the present law that would acquit him and satisfy his conscience of his failure to obey the command of God. It is the same today, we split hairs, and have become spin doctors and things no longer have the same meaning. “Hell” today is nothing more than a title of a good Sci-fi movie. “I’m hot” today most of the time has sexual thought to it, but how many of us know that the grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.
Now let us continue with this message. Remember the man who fell into robbers and was stripped of everything and left along the roadside half dead? He is laying there moaning and groaning unable to help himself. Now by coincidence a certain priest (Pastor) was going down along that road. Coincidence is defined as, the occurrence of events that happen at the same time by accident but seem to have some connection. The connection here is that one of the legal-minded members of the Temple (church) is walking down the same road that this man is now laying on half dead, and when he saw this poor half-dead man he passed by on the other side. This legal-minded man not only sees this poor half-dead man but he had to hear his pleading. What does this legal-minded man do? He crosses the road to avoid him. This priest feels he is too important to get down in the dirt and get unclean to assist this poor half-dead man. Don’t many of us today do the same thing? We shut our eyes, close our ears, and change lanes to avoid the needy. But there is more! Next, a Levite (Deacon, leader in the church) likewise came down to the place and saw him; he too crossed the road and passed by this poor half-dead man. So far we have seen two men that were too legally minded with the blinders of legalism on, you know that narrow vision that looks straight head and can’t see to either side, and made them too busy to assist this poor half-dead man. It may have been because of perceived time constraints or just not wanting to get down in the dirt and becoming unclean, we do not know and the story does not say. It does tell us that these two religious men did nothing to help this poor half-dead man. They went about their own concerns without a thought for the welfare of this poor half-dead man. It is a sad epitaph of the church today. Does it not amaze you that over two thousand years ago Jesus told a story of how the church would react to the needs of others? I don’t know about you but is has always amazed me.
Next, a certain Samaritan, a half-breed, an outcast from the Jewish nation, as he traveled along, came down to where this half-dead man was; and when he saw him had pity and sympathy for him. Something deep down in this man calls to him and he dressed his wounds, pouring on them oil and wine. Then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn and took care of him. He sees another who needs help and he is not concerned with getting where he was going, he stops and gets down in the dirt and cleans the mans wounded battered body doing what he can for him. Then he took him to a shelter and took care of him. Then the next day he gave the innkeeper about two days wages telling the innkeeper, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I myself will repay you when I return.” This Samaritan left the next day not knowing how long this man would be disabled, but made provisions for however long and however much it would cost.
Jesus then asks this legal-minded man a very important question. It is a question we need to consider long and hard today. The question is this, “Which of these three do you think proved himself a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?”
This legal-minded man replied, “the one who showed pity and mercy to him.”
The church has become much like this in John 5! Jesus came upon a man crippled already a long time in that condition. Each time the pool would bubble others would jump in before he could make his way into the pool. It was not that he did not want to be healed but others not as bad off as he would jump in front of him.
Remember the rich man and Lazarus? Lazarus was the crippled man lying on the roadside outside the rich mans door half dead. He was half dead begging for just some table scraps every time the rich man went out. In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, bear in mind that Jesus is not condemning all the rich while suggesting that the poor will all go to heaven, each parable teaches only one point. Jesus doesn’t question how the rich man got his money or that he has it. The rich man isn’t even necessarily a bad man. The rich man may have been a deeply caring person dismayed by unemployment and inflation figures, or he may have been a generous donor to charitable causes. Whatever else he was, in this story he is blind to the person in need who is sitting outside his gate. He is damned for his casual indifference to the person right at his door. His is not an isolated case. It’s easy to have great compassion for the human race while we ignore somebody next door, down the street, or in the office.
In Acts chapter 4 it states this: (v34) Nor was there a destitute or needy person among them (church), for as many as were owners of lands or houses proceeded to sell them, and one by one they brought (gave back) the amount received from the sales (v35) And laid it at the feet of the apostles (special messengers). Then distribution was made according as anyone had need. There should not be any destitute or needy in the church, because we should be taking care of our brothers and sisters. Is it not time that we stop telling our brothers and sisters that they need to pray about their need more. Yes, they have prayed; long and hard, but the answer was given by Jesus; go and do the same. It was once done in this manner in the early church and no one was destitute or needy in the church.
Jesus said to him, Go and do the same. A simple command for a simple way of life! You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with your entire mind; and love your neighbor as yourself. Don’t you think it is time that we start taking care of those in our church, our brothers and sisters, who are disabled, widows, orphans, who have lost everything and are half dead; without regard as to how they got there? That is what this story is telling us!
“I myself will repay you when I return.” Is that not an awesome promise? The Samaritan here is a type of Jesus Christ, and no matter how much it cost you to assist another brother or sister he will repay you when he returns. You know Jesus, the one who has time for everyone! You know Jesus, the one who heals the sick! You know Jesus, the one who walks on the water! You know Jesus, the one who raised Jairus’ daughter! You know Jesus, the one who restored the sight to Blind Bartimaeus! You know Jesus, the one who fed the 5000 men not to forget the wives and children of those men! You know Jesus, the one who raised the dead! You know Jesus, the one who loved you so much that He died on the cross for your sins! You know Jesus, the one who rose from the dead on the third day! You know Jesus, the one who ascended to the right hand of the Father! You know, it is really Jesus who is saying “Go and do the same.” The one who has time for everyone! You know, Jesus the Son of God!
Let us pray and ask God our father to give us a pure heart to see the needs of others and to meet them. After all it is His command, “Go and do the same.” The revival fires will burst into flames when we get a pure heart, when we not only see the needs of our brothers and sisters, but start meeting those needs indeed, obeying the command, “Go and Do the same”.