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Who Are You in this Parable?
St. Luke 10: 23-37

September 17, 2000
Lamb of God Lutheran Church
Kenosha, Wisconsin
The Rev. John M. Berg - Pastor

In the NAME of the FATHER and of the SON and of the HOLY SPIRIT.

AMEN.

Where do you see yourself in this parable? Perhaps you have come to church this morning like the lawyer to receive an answer to the question, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Or maybe the question for you is "Who is my neighbor?" Is it just the guy next door? Does my neighbor really include the crabby sales clerk at Pick 'N' Save or the guy that just cut in front of me on the interstate? Do I really have to love these awful people that I work with? Does my neighbor include the man who stands at the Post Office begging for spare change? Maybe you see yourself in this parable as the priest or the Levite. The times when you are too busy to help your neighbor. The Priest and Levite in us rationalizes with the phrases, "Someone else will do it!" "I'm too busy!" "I don't have the time to help my children with their homework or read them a book before bed, or teach them the Small Catechism, I'm too busy!" The Priest and the Levite in us reasons, "I can't afford to take a day or a week to spend time with my spouse or children - I've got to work!"

Then again, maybe you see yourself as the Good Samaritan. Maybe you're thinking to yourself, "I'm a pretty good person, I help people out. I give to the poor and the needy. I go to church regularly, I tithe … basically I'm a good guy. I don't break the law regularly. I pay my taxes, I vote regularly. You know, come to think of it, I've never really passed someone by who really needed help. Perhaps I am the Good Samaritan."

Where do you see yourself in this parable? The Lawyer, The Priest, The Levite or The Good Samaritan? Before you give your final answer I would like to ask you a few more questions? Have you loved, trusted or feared in anything or anyone more than the Holy Triune God? Have you always looked to your heavenly Father for all love, good and joy? Are you ever self-centered and selfish? Are your thoughts always centered on God? Do you see worry and fretting as a sin against God?

Do you or have you ever used God's name cheaply or frivolously? Do you pray with fervor in times of trouble? Do you or have you ever gotten bored or lazy with Godıs Word or Worship? Do you ever neglect God's Word by paying no attention to it when it is read of preached? Do you or have you ever made excuses for neglecting worship because of what someone else has said or done, or to do other things that you like more? Do you spend time complaining about the worship, the pastor or other people? Have you always obeyed your parents and other authorities? Do you ever grumble about the work that has been assigned to you? Have you ever injured your neighbor with violent actions, have you ever spoken debasing and insulting words using foul language or dirty words to describe your neighbor? Or murdered her with thoughts of anger, contempt and hatred? Have you indulged your eyes with longing for sexual satisfaction from a man or woman who is not your spouse? Have you failed to trust God to bless you in your marriage, even in times of trouble? Have you neglected to pray for your spouse, to worship together and to lie in the fear and love of God in times of sexual temptations? Have you been lazy at work doing poor work in school or at the job? Have you stolen from the office, from school, or the church, or stood silently while others took what was not theirs? Have you been stingy when it comes to giving to the Lord a generous portion of thank offering for what He has given to you? Have you gossiped, delighting to tell others about the faults or mistakes of another, excusing yourself especially by saying that I spoke only the truth?

Have I gone to others to make peace if I wronged them or they me, or to correct them if I knew that they were wrong? Have you lived in grudging discontent with whatever God has given me, restless about what I do not have and neglectful of thankful generosity with what I do have? Have I wanted my neighbor's spouse, his workers, or his property to be mine?

Have you fostered discontent with the congregation, its pastor, or leaders, and failed to urge members to stay and do their duty in worship, praying, giving and serving?

Quite a laundry list isn't it?

If you could answer yes to one of those questions (as we all can), then you are guilty of breaking the whole law of God. For, as the Scripture says, "For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all." (James 2:10) If you could not answer "yes" to any of these questions, then listen again to the words of I John, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." The truth is, "We have all sinned against God in thought word and deed by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves." "The wages of sin is death!"

Do you want to know who you are in the parable? You are the certain man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves. You are the one who was stripped, wounded and left to die. As Isaiah says, "We all like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one to his own way." Beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and passed on down to each one of us like a death toll - we have been stripped and beaten and left to die. The devil, the world and our sinful flesh have robbed us of the perfect life that God intended for us in the Garden of Eden. Left to ourselves, left in the hands of the world we would perish eternally in the torments of hell. But thanks be to God, "a certain Samaritan came, as he journeyed and came where the dead man was. And when he saw him, he had compassion."

Jesus is the Good Samaritan. Like the Good Samaritan, our Lord comes to us while we are dead in sin and has compassion. Like the Good Samaritan who poured oil and wine into the wounds of the beaten man, our Lord Jesus Christ brings to each one of us the medicine of heaven. Battered, beaten and bruised, we are without hope and without life in this world. But our glorious Lord, our Good Samaritan, has rescued us. Not only the Cross of Calvary, where He took all our sins upon Himself and paid the price in full so that we might live eternally, but also over and over again in His church He continues to lavishly dispense the healing medicine of His love. Pouring the oil and wine of His Holy Word and Sacraments, He restores us to life and health. Jesus, our Good Samaritan, picks you up each and every week and carries you into the inn of the church where He pours His life giving medicine - His very body and blood into your sin sick bodies and souls for the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. Our Lord Jesus - the Good Samaritan - spares no expense in rescuing us! He gives us His very flesh and blood, which rescues from death and hell. Thanks be to God for His mercy and love - a love that enables us to love each other just has He has first loved us.

Who are you in this parable? You are the one who is being bandaged and healed with the oil and wine of God's grace and mercy in His Holy Inn - the Church.

In the NAME of the FATHER and of the SON and of the HOLY SPIRIT.

AMEN.

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