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Communion Meditations (2016)

The Good Samaritan

Originally scheduled for January 3

Luke 10:33-34 NASB  "But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion,  (34)  and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.

 

The passage is an old and familiar one to most of us. It concerns the Good Samaritan. Most of us see it simply as a challenge to our own compassion and charity. But I would point out some things which are familiar to you in communion as well as in compassion.

Let’s look at the Samaritan first. There are a few interesting characteristics that this man has beyond the fact that Samaritans and Jews hate each other. Please note:

·         He came prepared. He had his first aid kit and was willing to use it. There is no record that he debated about what he would do.

·         He followed through. Nothing was left undone. The man was placed on the Samaritan’s donkey while the Samaritan walked. When he got to the end, he took care of the man himself. He then paid the innkeeper to continue the job until the man was well.

·         That last deserves some comment. It means that the Samaritan’s credit was good! The innkeeper trusted the man.

Compassion, in general, has its little problems.

·         It’s almost always risky. The beaten man could be a trap set by the robbers. There is the open-ended commitment that it takes to give this man healing.

·         Often enough, it’s expensive, too. That may be personal monetary expense, or it may be a commitment of time, or perhaps an emotional investment.

·         One thing seldom noticed: it also has the possibility of heavy impact on others. The innkeeper may have felt he had no choice but to do this for a regular customer.

Christ ended this parable with, “go thou and do likewise.” But it’s also a model of what he did in coming to us to suffer on the Cross. Look at it this way:

·         He was incarnate with a purpose — to die for our sins. He came prepared to do that. Despite the agony of the death he followed through and completed the atonement. And his credit was good with God the Father!

·         It was the sacrifice which involved risk. What if things didn’t go according to plan? More than that it was expensive, for it cost Christ his life. And he was not afraid to impose an impact on others — namely, his followers. They are given the command to love one another; they are commanded to take the gospel into all the world.

In communion you can see the full measure of compassion of Christ. He paid the penalty for our sins, an act of love completely unparalleled in all of human history. So when you partake of the bread this morning, think of the love that drove him to endure the cross, an agonizing death. When you partake of the cup, remember the agonizing slowness with which he bled until he died. Then remember that he has placed upon you his burden which is light. You are to love one another; you are to take the gospel to the world.

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