Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Grace vs Law: The Good Samaritan

 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 MEV   

 We've begun a new series on Grace. Specifically, we are contrasting Law and Grace. We are finding nuggets of truth throughout the Gospels that further prove how the Law is finished in Christ. 

 So far we've seen how Law minded thinking pushes us to strive more and more. It causes believers to try and earn their place in the Family of God. We learned that the enemy's temptation is to get the Church to find its sustenance and nourishment from the Law. 

 Today, we are going to examine a portion of Scripture that has been widely misunderstood and merely glossed over by many in the Church and those in the world. When anyone mentions the phrase good Samaritan often the meaning connotes the idea of simply being a nice person. Of being neighborly. 

 This parable of the Good Samaritan is where many secular phrases such as "like a good neighbor..." comes from. What is this parable really about? Is it about merely being nice to your fellow man in their time of need? Is the purpose of this parable simply to illustrate how we should treat others?

 The parable of the good Samaritan is found in Luke's Gospel chapter ten. After reading this passage, it seems with a surface reading, taking a glance at this passage it appears Jesus is showing the people how to be good neighbors. To go and do likewise, like that of the Samaritan. While it's true and right to lend a hand to others in need, to be there for others as the Lord enables us, this isn't the main point of this parable.

 That may sound too astounding for you. This may challenge or upset your theology. However, when we study this passage in its setting and context we can see a deeper message Jesus is presenting. 

 Look at the preceding passages right before this parable in Luke 10.

And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 10:25 NKJV

 Jesus taught this parable in direct relation to this question. A self-righteous follower of the Law sought to justify himself before Jesus. Jesus in His wisdom taught a parable revealing to this man his true condition before God and the answer, the solution, he and all mankind so desperately need.

 A certain man came from Jerusalem going toward Jericho. Jerusalem is a type of Heaven. A place of innocence and perfection. Jericho is a type of the world's way of wickedness. The man left Jerusalem and headed toward Jericho. Who is this man?

 This man is Adam, this is also a representation of all mankind. Adam through deception walked away from God's ways. The man fell among thieves. 

 They stripped him of his clothes and money, and beat him up and left him lying half dead beside the road. Luke 10:30b TLB

 This is what happened to mankind. He fell among thieves, the enemy, and his ways. He was stripped of his right standing before God. He was left half dead, or spiritually dead, that is cut off from God. He was helpless in saving himself. There was nothing he could do to change his condition. 

 Diving deeper, this portion of the parable also reveals a picture of the curse of the Law. This man was stripped of his possessions and left wounded and half dead. This perfectly illustrates the threefold curse of the Law, poverty sickness, and spiritual death. 

 This is the state of mankind apart from Christ. Stripped of right standing before God. No hope within themselves for salvation or deliverance. Left abiding under the curse of poverty, sickness, and spiritual death.

 What Jesus said next reveals more truth about how the Law is done away in Christ. 

 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side Luke 10:31-32 NKJV 

 The man can in no way help himself. We see the priest and Levite pass by and render no aid, render no help, render no life-giving assistance. Why? Because Jesus in His wisdom is revealing to the self-righteous that the Law and blood sacrifices of bulls and goats are powerless to save, to heal, to make alive and give new life.

 Jesus is the once for all sacrifice for all mankind. The Law and sacrifices were powerless to bring life. They only demanded righteousness from the spiritually dead but couldn't provide it. The Law demands but only Grace supplies. Jesus' Finished Work is our only hope and trust. It was only His work that brings life and wholeness and abundance, never our works, performance, or obedience. 

  Jesus in this parable proves once again the Law is not what saves. The Law is powerless to make you right with God. Therefore self-righteousness is a dead-end path. It only leads to destruction and falling to thieves, the enemy, and religious traditions, and leaves you in defeat. It's powerless to save you.

 In the remainder of the parable, Jesus speaks of the good Samaritan. Take note of the introduction of the Samaritan;

 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. Luke 10:33 NKJV

 The good Samaritan was on a journey. He had a mission, he had a purpose. Note the phrase he came where he was, he didn't avoid him. He saw him and had compassion.

 This Good Samaritan is the Lord Jesus Christ. He had a mission, to bring mankind back to the Father. To make a New and Living way so that whosoever believes and freely receives will have eternal life. He came where we were. He stooped down to our level. He found us just as we were and had compassion. This is the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! Grace is greater than Law, temple sacrifices, and self-righteousness.

 The Good Samaritan stops for the one. The Good Samaritan renders life-giving aid. He binds up the wounds. He pours in oil and wine. This speaks of the new birth, the infilling of the Spirit, and life under Grace and not the Law. 

 Note He took the man to the inn, a place of rest. He paid the man an overpayment of all the man's needs. This is the picture of rest in Christ, and life under Grace and not Law. 

 This parable is powerful as it reveals the condition of mankind, the plan of salvation, and Jesus' victorious work of Redemption. It reveals the end of the Law and temple sacrifices and points us to the once for all sacrifice of Christ. It points us to Grace, the way of the new.

 In the end, Jesus asked the self-righteous who was neighbor to the man. Note, He didn't ask who was neighborly. Jesus was answering the self-righteous that believed they were in right standing because of their doing. Jesus was pointing out Himself to those leaning on self. 

 In summation, this parable reveals such great truth about Grace and Law. It reveals just how much God loves us and cares for us.  It reveals Grace is the answer for lost and dying humanity. Jesus came to bring us the Good News. Jesus is our Good Samaritan who seeks us out, who finds us, and who has compassion on us. He is such a Good God! 

Image by debradeka from Pixabay

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