“Go and do the same.”
Luke 10:13-37 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. 15 And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!
16 “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”
17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” 18 And He said to them, “I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.”
21 At that very time He rejoiced greatly in the Holy Spirit, and said, “I praise You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 22 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.”
23 Turning to the disciples, He said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see, 24 for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them.”
25 And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” 27 And 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.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” 29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 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. 35 On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
Yesterday’s text ended saying: “Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you; and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off in protest against you; yet be sure of this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.” (Luke 10:8-12) This is the context for the beginning of today’s text which says: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will be brought down to Hades!” Yesterday we saw that we are to be those who bless and not those who curse. It is not that there will be no judgment. Jesus clearly speaks of the fate of those who do not repent and He says: “The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.” Like the seventy Jesus sent out, we are to speak the truth. We are to do the things that Jesus did, but proclaiming judgment or curses, that is not ours to do. We who have been forgiven should seek to forgive others. We, who have been reconciled to God, have been given the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18) James 2:12-13 says: So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
How does this mercy and reconciliation that we are called to, apply in our lives? In today’s text it says: A lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And 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.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus responds by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan and telling the questioner: “Go and do the same.”
Here’s the thing, we are called and commanded, like the seventy to go out and speak the truth to the world so that they would repent. We are also, like the lawyer, commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. The two are not irreconcilable with each other, but rather go hand in hand. We are to preach the gospel to the world. The word gospel means good news. Certainly as we have seen, by Jesus words, there is a coming judgment, but that is not the good news. The good news is that: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) Because God is a God of justice, there will be judgment. The good news is that because of God’s love, He sent His Son to be judged in our place. Jesus is the way to avoid the coming judgment. The good news is that mercy triumphs over judgment because of God’s love. If we want the world to know the loving God who sent His Son, we need to show His love to others. If we speak words of judgment and condemnation, most people will either rebel or feel condemned. If on the other hand, we speak words of love and display works of kindness, we reveal the heart of God and the love of God to others. They indeed need to repent and they need to hear the truth, but as Romans 2:4 says: The kindness of God leads you to repentance. When we try to scare people with the coming judgment, some will respond with words, in order to avoid that judgment. It is the kindness and the love of God which leads to repentance, changed hearts, which are reconciled to God.
We should never be those who compromise the truth of the word of God. We are even to shake the dust off our feat if they do not receive our message. We need to tell the truth. Our message though, is the good news. It is a message of a loving God, who because of His love, sent His Son. If we want the world to know the God of love, who sent His Son, we must be those who demonstrate the love of God to them. Truth and love are not at odds with each other. Rather as Ephesians 4:15 says: Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit thank You for truth, justice and love. Thank You for Your kindness which leads to repentance. Thank You that Your mercy has triumphed over judgment. Thank You that because of Your love and the finished work of the cross, our names are recorded in heaven. May I be one who in response to Your call and commandment, speaks the truth in love. May I preach the good news that: “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Amen.