Thursday, February 23, 2012

Who is the good samaritan?

In the scripture that is in Luke 10:25-37, Jesus tell us about the Good Samaritan parable; a character that is well-known by his act of kindness for free in favour of that one next to him. Many teaches about this text with a focus on social justice, in how we can and must help the ones in need and the ones next to us. A lot we may have preached and listened about the ones that passed by, and then stepped away, and did nothing. And much we are taught about this attitude, on how we, as church, must not withdraw, or abstain, or yet omit ourselves from that sort of situation, and that we must be the active agent on that circumstances.

However, differently from that interpretation that reads this text in the context of social justice, in this day I want to propose another reading.

We are not the good samaritan. Jesus is this good samaritan that the text speaks about. In this extraordinary parable, we have a mini-bible, containing everything since the history of the fall of the man, until the second coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one that identified himself with the next in difficulties. This man, the man who "(...) was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho (...)" (Luke 10:30), then, represents us, represents all the mankind. The hebrew word for man, for example, is Adam. Adam represents the falling mankind.

Jerusalem was the place where God met with the man. The presence of the Lord was manifested by a shining Glory in the Holy of Holies in the Great Temple. There God had fellowship with the man. Jerusalem means "city of peace", or "place of peace". Before the devil put his cruel hand over the human race, man used to walk and talk with God daily.

When sin got in, man stepped away from God and hid himself from the Lord. Since that day until now, man is moving apart from the Lord, and keeps "going down" from Jerusalem (the place of peace, the place of the presence of God) unto Jericho; and Jericho was a city of great evilness; it was a place that received the following prophecy: " (...) Cursed before the LORD is the one who undertakes to rebuild this city, Jericho: "At the cost of his firstborn son he will lay its foundations; at the cost of his youngest he will set up its gates."" (Joshua 6:26). A place with no foundation, no wall, no doors. A place without protection, where the authority has been destroyed, and where the enemy had plenty of access. The city of Jericho was also the first city conquered after Joshua had passed Jordan river with all the people of Israel. The city should be totally destroyed, in a manner that not even the spoils were allowed.

And this man "was going down" from Jerusalem unto Jericho. When man has sinned, he certainly "went down", he fell from his original status. He fell from the position of glory together with the Lord, he fell from a position of intimate relationship with God, unto a place of curse.

There was no doubt that the man, originally, has dressed garments of light, the light of the Glory of the Lord. It was an inside-shining that emanated from him. A glimpse of this brilliance that the fallen humanity has lost was seen in Moses, because when he went down from the mountain his face shone. While Stephen was stoned to death, his face shone like the face of an angel.

With the exception of the humanity, all the rest of creation is dressed. Birds have feathers, the wild animals are covered with leather, the beasts of the forest have fur, the fish has its scales, and the trees are covered with leaves. Solomon, in all his glory, hasn't not dressed like a lily. So only the man is naked.

On his journey to Jericho, this unfortunate man fell among robbers who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him and went away, leaving him half dead. Satan is the ultimate thief; he stripped the man of his garments, and left him naked, with nothing covering their sin, without all divine glory, devoid of authority which was appropriate to him.

That man was wounded; the sin brought him curse, thorns, sadness, death and pain; the the unregenerate man is physically alive but spiritually dead.

This seems to be what is suggested by the parable, since the man who fell among thieves was stripped of his garments, was wounded and was left, in fact, half dead.

Now, notice that the priest and the Levite who came this way by chance, both went wide. In fact, they represent the law and the ceremonial system that can never erase the sin. The "Samaritan" was Christ. He did not come by chance. His coming was ordained before the foundation of the world. Nor does he passed by. He came up precisely where the man was. What a precious truth! He came to rescue and redeem the mankind! He came to heal the broken hearts and put oil on the open wounds. Is not that wonderful?!

Christ comes to where we are. In the capital or any other town, in the city or countryside, in the dens of sin, in the alley, wherever we are, Christ is always the one who seeks us. When we meet us, He tenderly raises us on his chest, and goes his way rejoicing, as one pastor who found the sheep which was lost.

There is a greater truth if you look at it. It is true thatbecause of sin, we are under condemnation. Christ, who knew no sin, stood in the place of condemnation for us. At CalvaryHe died for our sins;, so when we trust Him, and in his shed bloodour sins are washed and erased forever. He came to where we were so we could go to where he is.

Christ, the true samaritan, bound our wounds and poured oil, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, by whom every believer is sealed for "the day of redemption(Ephesians 4:30).

The innkeeper should take care of this rescued man until the Samaritan returned""Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done." (Revelation 22:12).

What is Jesus saying? The next in the storyJesus Christ himselfhad mercy of the lost humanityHe instructs us to have the same mercy. That is, we are not part of a religious system, we have no part in rites, we are not those who can do nothingThe law showed the sin of man but the law can not deliver. Only Jesus Christ can do that. Wethe church, are the representative of ChristWe are the ones that bring people to the Good Samaritan.

Stay in the peace of Christ Jesus!
Saulo Oliveira Santos.

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