Won't You Be My Neighbor
The Other Side (Won't You Be My Neighbor - Week 1)
Let me share the two mistakes the lawyer makes and perhaps some of us make, as we relate to God.
“Pay my own way.” Another more boring term would be to over-moralize. “God blesses me because I am good. The “good-er” I am, the more blessings I achieve.
The second mistake is “I am all that.” A more boring term for this would be to over spiritualize. “I am at the head of class when it comes to God. God and I are good, in fact we are probably better than anybody else, certainly better than anybody else at church.
Luke 10:25 (NRSV)25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.
“Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
What must I do to have a marriage that lasts forever?
There was an entire religious establishment peddling a “do-religion” to a “done God.”
Jesus does for me what I could never do for myself.
Luke 10:26–27 (NRSV) 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
Matthew 22:28 28 And he (Jesus) said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
Luke 10:29 (NRSV) 29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
But the religious lawyer assumes he is already doing that and it’s the same mistake we make in our journeys with Christ. Religion is simply this: I do good so God does good for me.
And religion as defined this way has three by-products:
Low view of God’s law.
High view of yourself.
Low view of others.
Arrogance says “I am all that.” And leads to Spiritual pride. The other option is despair that says, “I could never be that.” And that leads to Spiritual defeat.
The religious lawyer is still trying to save face so he asks, “Who is my neighbor?”
Luke 10:30–37 (NRSV) 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Romans 5:6–8 (NRSV) 6 For while we were still weak (helplessness in view of circumstances), at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die.
8 But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.