A Church on Trial: A Body That Doesn’t Want to Get It’s Hands Dirty

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the beloved physician Luke. More specifically today’s passage begins with the twenty-fifth verse of the tenth chapter and continues through to the thirteenth verse of the eleventh chapter. “And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from. Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, eh took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thickest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:25-37). “Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cambered about. Much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost you not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:38-42). “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said, unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil” (Luke 11:1-4). “And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needed. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:5-13). When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find an account of one of the religious scholars present during the days of the Lord Jesus coming into His presence with one specific purpose. Upon reading the words and language here in this text you will find Luke writing how a certain lawyer stood up and tempted the Lord Jesus. What’s more is that when you read the words present in this passage of Scripture—not only will you find a certain lawyer standing up seeking to tempt Jesus but you will also find this lawyer standing up to tempt Jesus regarding eternal life. This is actually quite astonishing when you take the time to think about it for it’s one thing to tempt the Lord Jesus regarding the commandments of the Lord and which of the commandments were the greatest, however, there is something else about one who would seek to tempt the Lord Jesus as it pertains to eternal life. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for there is something to be said about this lawyer who would dare stand up in the midst of those who were already present in the company of Jesus with the express intention of the Lord Jesus. In all reality there is something to be said about the religious leaders and system which was present during the days of the Lord Jesus for time and time again they would not only seek to tempt Him with their questions but they would also seek to find reason to accuse Him. The more you read the four gospel narratives the more you will find account after account of the religious system present during those days rising up seeking to tempt Jesus with their questions that based on His answer they might find reason to accuse Him. Not only this but as you read the four gospel narratives you will find that at the very heart and center of the questions, the temptation and the accusation of the religious system which was present during the days of Jesus there was the underlying motive to destroy and put Him to death. I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which we find in this passage of Scripture and I am confronted with the incredible truth surrounding this lawyer who would stand up in the midst of those who were present in the presence of the Lord Jesus. This lawyer would stand up in the midst of those who were already present in the company of Jesus and would do so—not because He was sincere in his pursuit and quest for eternal life but because he was seeking to tempt Him. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the underlying motive of this lawyer. Luke writes how this lawyer would stand up in the presence of the Lord Jesus and ask Jesus what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. With this question being asked we must needs recognize and understand that this wouldn’t be the first time Jesus would be asked what was needed to inherit eternal life. If you take the time to read the four gospel narratives you will find there was another individual who would come unto Jesus asking the same question. Beginning with the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew you will find another one who came into the presence of the Lord Jesus asking what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life. In fact I am absolutely convinced that if we are to truly understand the words and language that is found in this passage of Scripture we must needs recognize and understand the words and language which are found within the he various gospel narratives as they bring us face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth surrounding those who would come into the presence of the Lord Jesus asking the question regarding eternal life—and not only asking the question regarding eternal life but also what they needed to do to inherit eternal life. I firmly believe that if you want to truly understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture there is a great need to consider the narrative and account of the rich young ruler who would dare come into the presence of the Lord Jesus asking the question regarding eternal life. Scripture reveals concerning this rich young ruler that he would come into the presence of Jesus and falling down at His feet would refer to Him as good Master and would ask Him what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life. This rich young ruler thought and perceived that in order for him to inherit the eternal life which the Lord Jesus had spoken of there was something he needed to do. Not only this but the rich young ruler also thought that he could inherit eternal life based solely on his own merit and his own goodness. Pause for a moment and consider how absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to read it for it brings us face to face with this rich young ruler who would enter into the presence of the Lord Jesus asking what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there is something to be said about those who would think and believe that they could somehow enter into the kingdom of heaven based on their own merit and their own righteousness and goodness. This rich young ruler thought that he could enter into the kingdom of heaven based solely on his own righteousness and that which he himself would and/or could do. Not only this but this rich young ruler thought that heaven could be attained based on his own performance and inquired as to what that performance would and should look like. Oh how absolutely incredible it is to read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and how this rich young ruler would indeed come into the presence of the Lord Jesus thinking and believing that he could somehow enter into the kingdom of heaven based on his own merit and goodness. Having said and written these words I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the incredible truth surrounding this rich young ruler who would enter into the presence of the Lord Jesus asking Him what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life. It’s actually quite interesting to read the words found in this passage of Scripture for there is something truly unique about this rich young ruler who not only asked what was needed to inherit eternal life but he would ask what “good thing” he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Oh please don’t miss and lose sight of this for there is something to be said about those who would dare think and/or even believe that in order for them to inherit eternal life they somehow need to do—and not only do but do something good which will somehow qualify and position them to inherit eternal life. There are those who think and believe that they can somehow enter into the kingdom of heaven based on their own merit, based on their own righteousness, based on their own goodness and based on their own performance. It would be this rich young ruler who would enter into the presence of the Lord Jesus and would ask what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life thinking and believing there was something he could do to inherit eternal life. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for it is a perfect transition—not only into the words which are found in the tenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke but also the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the epistle written unto the saints which were at Rome. Not only this but these words would also provide a powerful transition to the words which we find in the first and third chapters of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle John. Oh with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the three synoptic gospels beginning with the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew in the nineteenth chapter: “And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt no commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:16-26). “And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou laciest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, and take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away and grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:17-27). “And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet laciest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting” (Luke 18:18-30). There is something we must needs recognize when reading the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding this rich young ruler who would enter into the presence of the Lord Jesus. This rich young ruler was one of great wealth and great possessions and yet he would enter into the presence of the Lord Jesus asking what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life. In all reality I find this to be absolutely incredible when you take the time to think about it for it calls and draws our attention to the reality and possibility that this rich young ruler might very well have had wealth and possessions and yet there might very well have been something missing within his life. It is quite possible that this rich young ruler heard about Jesus and perhaps even heard some of the teachings of the Lord Jesus concerning the kingdom of God and eternal life and felt a longing and stirring within his heart. I sit here today thinking about the words which are found here and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the incredible truth that this rich young ruler might very well have had a great amount of wealth and possessions and yet even though he was a man who had great wealth and possessions there was something inside him that felt empty and incomplete. Oh I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw our attention to the truth that it is possible to be full in the natural sense and yet be entirely and altogether empty inside. It is indeed possible to have all the riches which are present within this world and yet inside our heart and soul be completely and utterly empty and void. As I write the words which are found in this particular document I can’t help but be reminded of the words which the Lord Jesus spoke unto his disciples when speaking unto them concerning denying themselves, taking up their cross and following Him. It would be the Lord Jesus who would speak unto His disciples and would ask them what good it would be for a man to gain the whole world and yet forfeit and lose his own soul. Not only this but the Lord Jesus would also ask what a man would give in exchange for his own soul—something we must needs recognize and pay close attention to when reading the words presented in these passages of Scripture. Undoubtedly this rich young ruler was a man of great wealth and great possessions and yet there was more than likely this emptiness and void that was present within his heart and soul. I firmly believe that this rich young ruler had great wealth and great possessions in this natural life and yet there was this emptiness and this void within his soul. Oh there is not a doubt in my mind that despite the fact this rich young ruler had essentially “gained the whole world” or at least gained a very large portion of it through wealth and possessions the condition of his soul was such that left him feeling hollow, and shallow, and empty and void. I can’t help but think about the words which are found within these passages of Scripture and being brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding the Lord Jesus and how this rich young ruler would come into his presence asking what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life. This rich younger ruler undoubtedly had great wealth and great possessions and yet he desired within his heart and soul for more. More often than not this rich young ruler had heard others talk and speak about Jesus, or had heard about Jesus Himself as a person or perhaps even heard some of the teachings of Jesus concerning the kingdom of heaven and sought to come into His presence asking what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life. The more I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the fact that when this rich young ruler came into the presence of the Lord Jesus asking him what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life Jesus would immediately speak of the goodness of the living and eternal God. Not only this but Jesus would also go on to speak and declare unto him concerning the commandments—Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and mother. The commandments the Lord Jesus spoke unto this rich young ruler were those commandments that dealt with external life based on his relationship to others. Those commandments the Lord Jesus gave unto this rich young ruler dealt with his relationship to those around him for He would speak of adultery, of murder, of stealing, of bearing false witness and even of honoring his mother and father. That which the Lord Jesus would omit—undoubtedly deliberately and intentionally—were those commandments which the LORD had given unto Moses atop the mountain of God in the midst of the wilderness concerning man’s relationship unto the living God. The commandments the Lord Jesus would speak unto this rich young ruler would indeed speak unto him concerning his relationship with those who were present before and all around him. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for when the rich young ruler heard these words he would almost get excited within himself for he would declare and process that he had kept all those things from his youth up. Oh undoubtedly this rich young ruler not only entered into the presence of the Lord Jesus asking what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life but when Jesus gave him the commandments which he knew he would respond by declaring that he had kept all those commandments from his youth up. If there is one thing I find absolutely astounding and remarkable when reading the words which are present in this passage of Scripture it’s that this rich young ruler would enter into the presence of the Lord Jesus asking what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life and upon hearing the response and words of the Lord Jesus would transition to asking what he still lacked. It is within one of the gospel narratives written by these authors where it is recorded how this rich young ruler would hear the words the Lord Jesus spoke unto him concerning the commandments and he would then proceed to ask what he still lacked and what he was still missing. Oh I am absolutely convinced there is a great need to pay close attention to this for I would dare say that this rich young ruler not only had great wealth and great possessions but also prided himself on his own merit, his own righteousness and his own goodness. When this rich young ruler heard the words which the Lord Jesus had spoken unto him concerning the commandments he would first respond by declaring that he had kept all those commandments from his youth up. Oh this is something that warrants strong consideration when seeking to understand the words and language found in this passage of Scripture for not only did this man have great wealth and possessions but this rich young ruler had also kept the commandments spoken of by the Lord Jesus from his youth up. RICH AND RIGHTEOUS! RICH AND RIGHTEOUS IN ONE’S OWN EYES. Oh how we must needs recognize and understand the words which are found in this passage of Scripture for it draws and calls our attention to the tremendous truth surrounding this man and how before we refer to him as a rich young ruler we must needs understand that he was first a man—and not only a man but also a son of Israel and a descendant of Abraham. I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I am brought face to face with the absolutely incredible truth surrounding this individual and how not only was he rich but I would also dare say he was righteous—at least righteous in his own eyes. Even though this rich young ruler who thought and believed that he was righteous in his eyes there is still the inclination and idea that he felt there was something he was missing. The simple fact this rich young ruler entered into the presence of the Lord Jesus and asked what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life wonderfully and powerfully suggests that he felt that despite all his riches, wealth and possessions there was still something missing. Not only this but the fact that this rich young ruler responded to the Lord Jesus by declaring how he had kept all those commandments from his youth up suggested and denoted that he somehow believed himself to be righteous—whether righteous in his own eyes or even righteous in the eyes of the living God. This rich young ruler would enter into the presence of the Lord Jesus asking what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life and Jesus would not only deflect the goodness upon the Father which was in heaven but He would also remind him of the commandments and that he knew what those commandments were. Jesus would declare unto this rich young ruler that he knew what the commandments were and would then give him a list of commandments. It would be upon hearing these commandments this rich young ruler would respond unto the Lord Jesus and would—perhaps with a sense of pride and accomplishment—state and declare that he had kept them all from his youth up. With this being said, however, we must needs recognize that this rich young ruler would still proceed to ask the Lord Jesus what he still lacked and what was still missing. We must needs pay close attention to the words which are found in the four gospel narratives concerning this rich young ruler for I am convinced that his question about what he still lacked truly and ultimately reveals the condition of his heart. There is not a doubt in my mind this rich young ruler had this emptiness and void which was present within his heart and soul and knew there was something missing. The simply fact that he would ask what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life—and not only asking what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life but would also ask what he still lacked—suggests that he felt there had to be something more within this life and something more for him. This rich young ruler would enter into the presence of the Lord Jesus thinking and believing that he could somehow do some good thing and it would automatically qualify and position him to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Initially Jesus wouldn’t reveal unto this man what was needed within his heart, within his soul and within his life to inherit eternal life and the kingdom of heaven. The Lord Jesus would deflect the goodness unto and upon the living and eternal God and would then proceed to give him commandments which the LORD God had given unto Moses atop the mountain in the wilderness. This young ruler would hear these commandments and yet would still feel there was something missing within his heart and life. I firmly believe that had this rich young ruler not believed there was something still lacking and still missing within his life he would not have asked the Lord Jesus what he still lacked yet. If you read each of the three gospel narratives concerning this rich young ruler and his encounter with the Lord Jesus you will find that when Jesus heard his question regarding what thing he still lacked Jesus would look upon him with love and compassion. In fact Scripture would even speak and reveal that Jesus looked upon this man and loved him upon hearing his question about what he still lacked in this life. This rich young ruler was rich and had great wealth and possessions and perhaps even thought and believed that he possessed a righteousness within his own life based on his own merit and performance and yet there was something missing. When Jesus heard the question this rich young ruler would ask concerning what he still lacked He would not only look upon him and love him but would also proceed to give him precisely what he needed if he was to inherit eternal life. What’s more is that the Lord Jesus would not only reveal unto this man what he needed to do in this life but would also declare and speak unto him of having treasure in heaven. It would be the Lord Jesus who would declare unto this rich young ruler that he still lacked one thing and that was selling all he had, distributing to the poor and then come and follow Him. Not only would he then be positioned to follow the Lord Jesus from a place of self-denial but he would also be in the place where he would have treasure in heaven. That which the Lord Jesus would give unto this rich young ruler would indeed be a powerful revelation of how he would and could deliver himself from that which would not only keep him from following the Lord Jesus, and not only keep him from having treasure in heaven but also from entering into the kingdom of heaven. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this for there are incredibly powerful words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew as well as within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the beloved physician Luke. Before I get into the words which are found in the epistle written by the apostle Paul unto the saints of Rome and the words which are written and recorded in the gospel written by the apostle John I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the words found within these two gospels concerning the pursuit and affection toward riches, wealth and possessions in this life: “Lay not up for yourselves treasure upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! NO man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feeders them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking through can add one cubit unto his statute? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothed you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink? Or wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek) for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matthew 6:19-34). Consider if you will the following words which are found in the New Testament gospel narrative of the Lord Jesus Christ written by the beloved physician Luke. In the twelfth chapter you will find incredibly powerful language concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and the words which He would speak concerning not storing and laying up treasure for ourselves here upon the earth and instead storing up treasure for ourselves in heaven. Beginning with the thirteenth verse of the twelfth chapter of the gospel written by the beloved physician Luke you will find the following words: “And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or divider over you? And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground af a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there I will bestowe all my fruits and my goods. An dI will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:13-21). “And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature on cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow; they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye that ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that FALLETH not, where no thief approached, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:22-34). We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for it is quite clear and obvious that we are not to lay up for ourselves treasures here upon the earth. Jesus made it very clear and very plain that we are to deliver ourselves from the riches, the treasures and pleasures of this world that we might be rich toward God. It was the Lord Jesus who instructed and commanded us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things would be added unto us. Moreover the Lord Jesus would also instruct us to deliver ourselves from the vain pursuit of riches, of wealth, of possessions, of goods and everything the world seeks after. Instead of seeking after such things we are to seek first the kingdom of the living God and pursue his righteousness and all these things—things which we have need of—will be added unto us. OH it’s worth noting and mentioning that when the Lord Jesus declared “all these things will be added unto us” He was not speaking of nor was He referring to those things we desire and those pleasures and desires we have in this life. When the Lord Jesus spoke of “all these things” being added unto us He was speaking of those things which our Father in heaven knows we have need of. Oh how absolutely incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it for Jesus would speak unto His disciples and would declare unto them that they needed to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things would indeed be added unto us. What a truly wonderful and powerful truth is found here in this passage of Scripture for it directly confronts us with the truth of that which we pursue within this life and whether or not we are those who are truly seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness or whether or not we are pursuing those things which are present here in the earth. Oh with this in mind I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament gospels concerning additional words which the Lord Jesus would speak unto His disciples: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against his mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followers after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loveth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:34-39). “I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: for from henceforth there shall be fire in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law” (Luke 12:49-53). “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man provided, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shal a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:24-28). “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:34-38). “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he Bain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:23-27). There is a wonderful need to recognize and pay attention to the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for within them we are brought face to face with the need to deny ourselves and take up our cross. Not only this but within these passages we are brought face to face and confronted with the question of what it would profit a man to gain the whole world and yet forfeit and lose his own soul. If there is one thing we must needs recognize and understand it’s that we have indeed been called to be those who deny ourselves, who take up our cross and who follow after the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is something we must not miss and lose sight of for it calls and draws us into the place where we truly recognize and understand that which is needed to pursue eternal life in this life and in the next. It is quite clear and obvious from the gospel that in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven we must be those who seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and we must needs deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow after the Lord Jesus. The rich young ruler as well as this lawyer would enter into the presence of the Lord Jesus and would both ask him the same question of what they needed to do to inherit eternal life. The rich young ruler undoubtedly entered into the presence of the Lord Jesus sincere and genuine as he would inquire what good thing he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Moreover this rich young ruler would proceed to ask the Lord Jesus what he still lacked when Jesus would speak unto him concerning the commandments. The religious lawyer and teacher of the law not only stood up for to tempt the Lord Jesus concerning eternal life but when Jesus would speak the commandments to love the LORD God with all thy heart, with all they soul and with all thy strength as well as to love one’s neighbor as themselves he sought to justify himself. This lawyer would seek to justify himself by asking the question of who his neighbor was. Oh this is something we must needs recognize and will get into for it is a powerful transition into the parable which Jesus spoke—the parable of the Good Samaritan. Before we delve into the words which are found in the tenth chapter of this New Testament gospel I am absolutely convinced we must needs recognize that we cannot and do not enter into the kingdom of God based on our own righteousness and our own merit. There would be those who would think and believe they can enter into the kingdom of heaven based on their own merit and their own performance and righteousness and yet it would be the psalmist David who would emphatically declare how there was none righteous—no not one. Not only this but it would be the apostle Paul who would also emphatically declare that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of the living God. It would be the apostle Paul who would declare that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God through Jesus Christ is eternal life. This is something we must needs recognize and pay close attention for it calls and draws us into the place where we recognize and understand that we cannot inherit eternal life nor even enter into the kingdom of God based on our own righteousness. What’s more is that it would be the Lord Jesus who would declare that unless our righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees we would not even enter into the kingdom of heaven. Oh it is having said this I invite you to consider the following words which are found in the New Testament beginning with the words of Jesus which are found in the fifth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-20). “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but because vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:18-25). “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with. Men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to e reprobate ate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despitefully, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:26-32). “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where this boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:21-31). “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom s also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hop: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commandeth his life toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:1-11). “What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye. Not that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom y obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye because the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the. Infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:15-23). “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is the law That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (That is, to bring Christ down from above) Or, Who shall descend into thd deep? (That is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew. And the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heardA? Nd how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no Peale, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias if very bold and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people” (Romans 10:1-21). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of m an, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:1-18). “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him< Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind blowers where it listens, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it together: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; ye receive not our witness. I I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, If I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that shoe over believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:1-21). Please pay close attention to the words which are found in these passages of Scripture for they call and draw our attention to the incredible truth surrounding that which is needed to inherit eternal life. It was the Lord Jesus who would declare unto Nicodemus—a Pharisee—that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believed in Him would not perish but have everlasting life. What’s more is Jesus would also declare unto this ruler of the Pharisees that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. With this being said it was the apostle John who declared that for those who believed in the person of the Lord Jesus and in His name—it was unto them who were given power to become sons of God. These sons who were born of God were not born of the flesh, nor of the will of man, nor even of physical and natural blood but were born of the Spirit. Jesus would declare that unless a man be born of water and of the Spirit he could not and would not see or enter into the kingdom of heaven. These words are incredibly crucial when seeking to understand the question the lawyer asked Jesus when coming into His presence. This lawyer would enter into the presence of Jesus with the express intention of tempting Him—and not merely tempting but tempting Him according to the matter of eternal life. The lawyer which entered into the presence of the Lord Jesus would ask Him what he needed to do to inherit eternal life and I can’t help but wonder if this was indeed even a genuine and authentic question or if it was simply a means of entrapping and ensnaring the Lord Jesus in His words. It would be this lawyer who would ask the Lord Jesus the same question—or at least a similar question to that which the rich young ruler would ask of Him. The more I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture the more I am brought face to face with the incredible truth surrounding this lawyer who would stand up in the midst of all those who were gathered in the presence of Jesus seeking to tempt Him. This lawyer would stand up with one purpose and with one intention and that was to tempt Him in matters pertaining to eternal life. Undoubtedly this lawyer was unaware of the foundation of eternal life which is not only seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness but believing in the name of the Jesus and believing upon His person. If there is one thing we must needs understand it’s that there is only one name under heaven and in the earth whereby men can be saved and that is at the name of Jesus. It was the apostle Paul who emphatically declared that all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved and that if we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead we shall be saved. The apostle Paul would emphatically declare that if any man be in Christ He is a new creation—old things have passed away and behold all things have become new. This lawyer would stand up and tempt the Lord Jesus in matters pertaining to eternal life and it would be the Lord Jesus who would respond to him by asking him what was written in the law and how he read and interpreted it. Upon hearing this question the lawyer would declare unto Jesus that it was written in the Law that one ought to love the LORD their God with all their heart, with all their soul and with all their strength and with all their mind. Moreover this lawyer would also go on to declare unto Jesus that the second commandment is likened unto the first—namely to love one’s neighbor as themselves. This is something we must needs recognize and pay attention to for when Jesus spoke unto the rich young ruler he would offer him means of delivering himself from the cares of this world. Jesus would speak unto the rich young ruler and invite him to sell all he had and distribute to the poor and then come and follow Him that he might have treasure in heaven. When, however, it comes to the lawyer Jesus would not speak of selling all that he had but would use that which was commanded in the law. This lawyer would stand up in the presence of the Lord Jesus and would provide what he had personally read in the law of Moses and that which was commanded and required of him. The lawyer would stand up before Jesus and declare that it was written in the law of Moses that one ought to love the LORD their God with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their strength and with all their mind. Not only this but the lawyer would also declare that one must also love their neighbor as themselves which was likened unto the first commandment. Oh please pay close attention to the words found in this passage of Scripture for this lawyer recognized that at the very heart and center of the Law—and not only at the heart and center of the Law but also of inheriting eternal life—there was the responsibility of loving the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength and with all our mind. Moreover this lawyer would define that which Jesus would declare on more than one occasion was the greatest commandment—namely, to love the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength and with all our mind. This lawyer knew what was written in the law and knew the responsibility of loving the LORD God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his strength and with all his mind. Where he got tripped up and where he sought to justify himself rather than trusting in the righteousness that can only come from the living God was in matters pertaining to his neighbor. Scripture reveals how when the lawyer himself heard Jesus declare that if he did that which was written in the law he would live he desired to justify himself in the sight of the eternal and only begotten Son of God. As you read the words presented in this passage of Scripture you will find Jesus asking this lawyer what was written in the Law and how He read it. In response to the questions Jesus asked this lawyer would speak of loving the LORD God with all of one’s heart, with all of one’s soul, with all of one’s strength and with all of one’s mind. Not only this but this lawyer would also proceed to present Jesus with the second commandment which was likened unto the first—namely to love one’s neighbor as themselves. Jesus responded to this man by declaring unto him that he had answered rightly and then instructing him to go and do likewise and he would live. From the text it appears the lawyer had absolutely no qualms or issues with loving the LORD God with all one’s heart, with all one’s soul, with all one’s strength and with all of one’s mind yet where he took issue was in matters pertaining to loving one’s neighbor. That which the lawyer would proceed to ask Jesus was who his neighbor was—thus expecting Jesus to define who exactly his neighbor was. This is actually an incredibly important question for us to recognize and pay attention to for it calls and draws our attention to our own understanding of who our neighbor is. The question this lawyer asked is one which we must needs recognize within our own hearts and lives for it was the Lord Jesus who gave us what is called “The Golden Rule” which is to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. The question the lawyer asked Jesus is one that is absolutely necessary within our own lives for while we might be those who would ask who our neighbor is I am convinced that is not the question which needs to be asked. This question is such which warrants strong consideration on our part for while we might be tempted to ask who our neighbor is there is a question which must be asked instead—namely whether or not we are a neighbor unto others. Upon reading the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will find Jesus first instructing this lawyer to “this do, and thou shalt live” but we also find Him concluding after delivering the parable by instructing him to “Go, and do thou likewise.” We must needs recognize and consider this for in order to answer the question the lawyer had asked Him Jesus would deliver unto Him a parable—the parable which we are all well aware of and familiar with. The parable the Lord Jesus would deliver unto this lawyer—and perhaps not only unto this lawyer but also unto those who were present on this particular day—would be that of the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is a parable many within Christendom are well aware of. What’s more is that there is even an organization that was founded which bears the name of “Good Samaritan.” Not only this but there is also an organization that is called “Samaritan’s Purse,” which would have its root and foundation in this particular parable. Moreover the phrase “Good Samaritan” is such that has been used time and time again when referring to someone who has responded to a need, or a crisis, or an emergency someone else finds themselves in. This parable would be centered upon a man who was journeying from Jerusalem to Jericho and while he was traveling would fall among thieves which not only stripped him of his raiment and wounded him but would also depart from him leaving him half dead. When I read this particular parable I have to ask myself which was the greater of the two evils—the thieves who stripped him of his raiment, wounded him and departed leaving him half dead or the priest and the Levite who came to the place where he was, saw his condition and passed by on the other side without having compassion on him. It would be very easy to focus all of our attention on the thieves who stripped, wounded and left this man half dead and completely miss the point that religion and essentially the church failed to show compassion unto his man. I read the words which are found in this parable and I am brought face to face with the fact that he fell among thieves who stripped him, wounded him and departed leaving him half dead and yet how I am convinced that is not the greatest atrocity that is present within the parable. The more I read the words which are found in this parable the more I am brought face to face with the awesome truth surrounding two great evils which were committed within it. Of course—front and center—is the evil which was committed by the thieves who stripped, wounded and left this man half dead. In essence we might be able to chalk this up as those who are in the world who might very well have no regard for human life nor even for that which belongs to others. We might very well be able to read this parable and see the thieves who stripped and wounded this man and left him half dead as being those who are in the world who take advantage of those who they perceive as being weaker and inferior to them. The thieves we read about in this parable can undoubtedly be considered and compared to those who are in the world who prey upon the weak, the innocent, the inferior and others whom they desire to take advantage of. These men which Scripture does not reveal the number of would come upon this man and strip and wound him without showing any regard for his person nor that which belonged to him. With this being said, however, we must also recognize that while it is indeed true these thieves showed absolutely no regard for this man the religious leaders of that day—those who should have showed regard for this man—also showed no regard for him. The religious leaders which came upon the place where this man was and saw his plight and condition should have showed compassion on him and ministered unto him. One thing I can’t help but wonder when reading this parable is whether or not the priest and the Levite were in their normal priestly and holy garments or whether they were in what might be normal clothing having perhaps already fulfilled their ministry and assignment in the Temple. I find it incredibly important to draw your attention to the priest and the Levite who came upon the place where this man lie half dead and ask whether or not they were coming from the Temple and the service therein or whether they were journeying unto the Temple that they might engage themselves in the service therein. We would like to spend our time focused on the thieves who had perhaps stripped, wounded and left countless others dead during those days—perhaps even along this same road—and yet we must needs recognize that the greater of the two atrocities was not committed by the thieves but rather by “the Church.” Within this parable we find what is perhaps one of the greatest indictments—not of the world but of the Church—for within this parable we find “church folk” and perhaps even “ministers” who came upon one who was stripped, wounded, half dead and clearly suffering and in indeed and were unwilling to do anything about it. These “ministers” were such who deliberately and intentionally chose to do nothing about the needs which were present within this man’s life for undoubtedly his life was hanging on by a thread. If the Samaritan who was passing by on this particular day had not stopped and showed compassion on this man I have to wonder if this man might not have died. Oh what makes this all the more intriguing is when you think about the fact that these “church folk” and these “ministers” would have been content to allow this man to not only suffer but also die. I have to ask how many church folk and ministers have allowed others to die simply because they chose to be inactive and do nothing. How many “ministers” of the gospel have allowed others to die—whether spiritually, emotionally, mentally or physically—simply because they chose inactivity and a lack of compassion upon others? How many men and women within the church are suffering, struggling, hurting, wounded and broken and have chosen to do absolutely nothing? In all reality I can’t help but wonder how many of the priests and Levites mentioned in this parable would have fallen into the same category of “the goats” which Jesus spoke of in His parable recorded in the twenty-fifth chapter of the gospel written by Matthew. I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found in this parable and I can’t help but wonder how many priests and Levites—those who have been entrusted with minister in the house of the LORD—can and will find themselves in the place of goats simply because they were unwilling to exercise compassion upon those who were in need. The words which Jesus mentions and are recorded for us in the twenty-fifth chapter of the gospel written by Matthew speak of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned and others and the entire crux of these words hinges on what was and wasn’t done. The sheep which the Lord Jesus would separate on the one side were those who chose to exercise compassion upon “the least of these” and would give drink to the thirsty, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and the imprisoned displaying unto them the love of God. The goats which Jesus would speak of in this particular passage of Scripture were those who deliberately and intentionally chose not to exercise compassion upon “the least of these.” I read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but find this as more than simply this lawyer trying to justify himself asking who his neighbor was and actually standing as an incitement against much of “the church” or what we would call the Church in this generation. What’s more is that I would even dare say it’s an indictment against my own inactivity and my own lack of compassion towards those who are in need. If I’m being truly honest with you who might be reading this I would dare say that there have been countless times when I have passed by on the other side and have chosen to abstain from exercising compassion upon those who are indeed. There have been countless times when I have been like the goats who Jesus separated on His left—those who chose to ignore the hungry, who chose to ignore the thirty, who chose to ignore the naked, who chose to ignore the imprisoned and the sick. As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to draw your attention to the incredible truth surrounding this parable which the Lord Jesus spoke unto this lawyer for while it would be easy to focus on the thieves who wounded, stripped and left his man half dead I am convinced the greater tragedy of this parable is the priest and the Levite who deliberately and intentionally chose to not only pass by on the other side but also refrain from helping this man. THE TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY OF HUMAN NEED! I am absolutely convinced that what we find on this particular occasion is the tragedy of religion, the tragedy of religious folk, the tragedy of ministers and ministry who chose to abstain and refrain from exercising compassion on those who were in need while also demonstrating the triumph of those who would come upon the need which was present in front of them and chose to act with compassion. There was a great tragedy of “church folk” and “ministers” mentioned within this passage of Scripture and we must needs recognize and pay close attention to this for it calls and invites us into the place where we ourselves confront the issues within our own heart and whether or not there is anything that would keep us from being those who walk in compassion toward those who are in need. Within this parable we find an overwhelming indictment of religion, of ministers and of those who not only should have known better but those who should have acted. Neither the priest nor the Levite chose to act with compassion toward this particular man who was in need having been stripped of his raiment, wounded and left for dead. Perhaps the single greatest question is whether or not you are one who professes to be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ as one of His disciples and yet have abstained from showing compassion and mercy unto others. It was the Old Testament prophet Micah who prophesied according to the word of the Lord that he has shown us what is good—namely to love justice and do mercy. We must needs ask ourselves whether or not we are those who can and will love justice and show mercy to those who are need and that we would truly be the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ and the saints of God who are salt and light and a city set on a hill which cannot be hidden.

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