The good samaritan and the lost coin

The Good Samaritan and the lost coin

Well, I’m back up here again this week, much to my pleasure, and I’m looking forward to delivering a tear free talk to you all on, two parables, spoken by Jesus in the Book of Luke. These being the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the Parable of the lost Coin.

I hope today to provide you with an opportunity to simply listen and enjoy getting to know Christ through his words.

Both parables are well known, and I dare say you have sat through numerous sermons about them in the past. But like the bible, if you allow it, every time you open it up, it offers you something new to reflect on, and find comfort and peace in.

You see Parables are a fantastic teaching tool, and Jesus used parables not just to fulfil Old Testament Prophecy but to teach us about him, his kingdom, the end times and ourselves.

Jesus used the immediate personal imagery created in our minds, to commence a personal interaction, requiring honest self-reflection and answers based off thought, feelings and real-life concerns.

Parables were used by Jesus to deepen our understanding of him and to further establish his relationship with us by revealing himself to us.

As soon as I said the Good Samaritan, Who here didn’t think of a helper?, picturing an injured semi naked beaten man on the side of the road, being helped by another man?

This image, along with all the images of the parables we hear, are what Jesus planned for us to see. How awesome is that. He truly knows our thoughts.

They are not easily forgotten, hence their teachings are easily remembered and in fact timeless and just as relevant to us today, as they were back then and will be tomorrow.

They truly are blessings.

With the words of Christ, in our minds from Matthew 13:16 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.

Let’s explore these two parables, with our eyes and ears focused on him. Jesus.

The Good Samaritan parable is set on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. It is approximately 25kms of rugged arid country and would take a fit and robust traveller 8 hours to complete with no stops.

It was a major travel route for all people of that time and well known for its danger. Both in the form of environmental and human robbers. It was easily recognisable for the people listening to Jesus and us today thanks to Google.

Looking at the images you can get a real feel of the type of journey physically it would have been let alone worrying about robbers hiding behind the next bend.

We understand that the Parable was in response to a question from a Jewish law expert to Jesus, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus gets the expert to answer according to the Jewish law. ‘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, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’  “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

Now bearing in mind, the Jewish context of the word neighbour, was understood to mean “your people.” And as such the expert wanted to justify himself, almost to try and catch Jesus out to say he was smarter, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” Jesus replied with the parable.

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. [31] A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. [32] So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. [33] But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. [34] He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. [35] The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

We immediately have presented in our minds a victim, beaten half to death, laying on the road all alone. Bleeding, lifeless.  Needing saving so he could live. It was a mater of life and death.

The first person to walk past was a priest. He crossed over to the other side and continued his way, not even a second glance. As too did the Levite.

Together these two represented the great ruling institution of the Jewish nation at the time of Jesus. Holy men, most likely who would happily tell you they were righteous and that by their adherence to quoting of the laws alone they please God.

Both of these men were respected men in society, they had studied the laws and the bible. People would come and seek them out for their wisdom and advice. Yet, they were still so blind. Their actions clearly displayed this, supported in Paul where he writes in Titus 1:16, “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions.”

They both displayed no interest in saving this other man. Who at this time, had only death as his reality and future? They were only concerned with their current self.

There is no way they could not have seen him. Yet they continued on. The mere fact, that this parable allows you to see, is fantastic and a gift in itself.

Then comes the Samaritan. And this is important as the Samaritans were despised by the Jewish leaders. They were considered as outcasts and evil. Because of their defective devotion to Judaism and their partly pagan and impure ancestry.

Yet they both believed in the same God. All be it, Samaritans only recognised the first five books of the Old testament and that’s where things parted ways. But they believed in the coming messiah and the teachings of Moses.

To mention a Samaritan at this time would have pricked up the ears of the Jewish people. I wonder if I could relate the character of the Samaritan as a Muslim extremist (jihadist). And the priests as a current high standing church official like a deacon or a cardinal.

Have I caused you to wonder, has something in you made you want to listen even harder in case you disagree! That’s is exactly what Christ wanted. Jesus was not afraid to challenge the status quo, making them think wax how he hoped they would see.

Back to the parable, The Samaritan, sees the injured man, he feels for him and goes to him. The Samaritan responds to the situation with action. An action for love of a fellow man, not governed by boundaries.

The Samaritan bandaged his wounds and poured oil on him. He then placed the man on his own donkey and transported him to an inn and continued to take care of him further. I dare say, laying him down in bed, getting him comfortable. Checking what he needs so he could provide it, tending to him.

The next day, He even provided the inn keeper with 2 denarii which is around $200 in todays money, and 2 weeks wages back then. And the promise to reimburse any extra expenses.

That is a lot of money to give on behalf of a stranger. Would you give 2 weeks of your pay today, with no question or desire for it to be returned, to a stranger. If I’m honest, I struggle to tithe 10 percent at church, let alone my fortnightly pay.

At the finish, Jesus askes the expert in law, verse 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” 

The Expert in law, at this moment saw for the first time.

It would have been extremely humbling. I wonder if this is represented in the Experts reply to Christ not using the word Samaritan in his reply, instead choosing to say the one who showed mercy. Was it attempt to hold on to some pride.

We have all looked at the story and see its obvious morale meaning and value. To love one another. To care for each other and provide. But, We also see in the Samaritan, the first commandment on display, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.’

Without this, god fuelled action, the Samaritan may have walked off as well.

The Samaritan shows us this love for God, by the actions of his heart by stopping and feeling for the injured man. The love of his soul, by tending to the man, using his own provisions and wealth without concern, for himself in an attempt to save the life of this fellow man. A neighbour. His strength by showing trust in his courage to stop in a dangerous part of the road, putting his safety at risk, evident as there was a robbery very recently, He was dealing with the result of that.

His mind, by being guided by God trusting he has a plan and that he will be an active part of it, even though this was not part of the plan he woke up with that day.

Without love, the actions of the Samaritan were not possible. Who is love.

God is love, with out God in the Samaritans life, he would not have done what is spoken.

1 John 4:7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and  knows God.

Last week I gave a talk here and I started to cry and spoke in a really high pitch voice as crying was not part of my plan and I was trying to control my situation.

As I was speaking through tears, what did each of you think, Oh poor Ash… Oh that’s nice his crying… must really mean something to him… or perhaps you thought, come on mate man up, your embarrassing yourself.

I wonder if any of you thought, I need to help him. I will get up and read it with him or for him.

My wife did. She told me afterwards, “I was waiting for one more high pitch word to come out of your mouth and I was going to come up and stand beside you and read it for you, if I had to. I know for a fact she would have been feeling nervous, heart beating fast.

Leesh, was thinking here, of acting with love, courage and strength. It is all to easy and comfortable to sit on the sidelines and watch the world go buy, but to think with action out of love.

This is the action of the Holy Spirit. God wants our action. Not our knowledge. Changing your to our, He wants us to ‘Love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our strength and with all our mind.’ As when we love and trust in him, we are his disciples and we can not help but go for him and do the same!

I am a firm believer that our actions as Christians speak louder than any verbal argument we put forward in favour of Christ. The Good Samaritan parable conveys this, as actions of individuals are easily digested and judged by all. especially our neighbours!

When we see ourselves as the victim here in the parable, we soon realise we have lots in common. We too, are on a journey and no matter the preparation we make or the planning we do, we cannot control the unknown that faces us tomorrow.

Like the injured man, Life has caused us all scars and without Christ our life journey ends with death. No hope for a saviour to keep us alive and save us. Not even wise men or laws can provide this.

But with Christ… living under his love, his guidance and trust, we can take comfort, like the Injured man, that there is someone coming to save us.. and he has already done it.

 He has come down to our level, like the Samaritan, bending down to care for the man and picking him up. Jesus came down and lived as one of us, to truly know us. He picked us up and cleaned us. He provided a place where we can find comfort and peace. He provides a saving grace, with no concern of the cost or requirement to pay it back or work it off!… it was simply, His life on the cross.

The donkey the Samaritan uses, to carry the man to the inn. Represents the Cross Jesus uses to conveys us to safety.

The eternal kingdom, where we each can surely and confidently say we have a place at.

1 John4:10 This is Love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

God is actively seeking us and searching for us. He wants to provide for us and for us to be with him. For all of us, we are all neighbours in the Kingdom of Christ.

This is where The parable of the lost coin, fits in today.

Luke 15:7-10 NIV 8 “suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? 9 And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’10 In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents .”

To appreciate this short parable, we need to understand that, During this time period, most homes only had one room with a lower floor and a slightly raised upper level. Many families would keep one or two animals (which would be all they owned) in the home with them.

The upper level was used for meals, cooking, and sleeping, while the lower level is where the animals were kept; thus, houses were very dirty having all kinds of dirt and rubbish on the floor.

If someone really did lose a coin on the floor, it would be difficult to find, and it would be a serious issue due to poverty especially for this woman as we understand she had no husband as he is not mentioned, most probable a widow. So to lose one of her coins would have been a terrifying and gut wrenching episode.

Now you can really appreciate the work she had to do to find it. Sweeping the house and looking carefully through all the collected daily dirt, rubbish and animal mess and in the darkness. Imagine her frustration and blaming her self.

The parable highlights to us that, God wanted to find all of us, and the rest of us. Regardless of our social standing, our skin, current way of life and our sins.

This parable reinforces with us that, our merciful God does not desire anyone to be lost and every lost individual is precious in his eyes. It also hints at his patience for us and his perseverance in waiting for us to find him.

Imagine the joy if you were that woman and found the coin. Now imagine that joy times the perfect number, 77, that is the joy God finds in you.

Imagine the relief and joy of a mother and father when they lose a child at a festival, crowded full over people. It may have happened to you.

Now imagine finding them again. What is the first action you do, you go to them. Like the Samaritan went to the dying man. You hug them, kiss them, check them over and keep them close by your side, dare I say you appreciate them and treasure them that much more. Just like our heavenly father does with us.

Celebrate that love of his and thank him. Praise him and like I said earlier today. Go for him.

In world where love is needed more than ever. Be that love through your actions and your faith, Keeping Jesus as your focus.

With Jesus our focus, I want to revisit the good Samaritan parable before I finish.

I want to challenge your thought process. Earlier I used the comparison of Jesus as the Samaritan and us as the injured man.

Now I want you to swap the roles of Us and Jesus. I want you to see Jesus, as the beaten man on the side of the road. Just like he was beaten and placed on the cross. Like many today,  discarded and left out of their lives. And us as the Samaritan.

Jesus is here waiting, wanting, desiring for all to find him. But only a few will stop, see and hear.

Acknowledge yourself as the Samaritan, with a focus on Jesus. A need to go to him, and nurture him acting in his interests.

I want you to relate to caring for and picking up Jesus, with the start of you picking up your Christian faith and the current condition of your faith today.

Like the Samaritan, I encourage you to carry Jesus, not on a donkey, but in your minds. To invest in the life of Christ like the Samaritan, with no questions asked or demand of repayment. To provide a place for him in your hearts for him to grow stronger in your life, like a mustard tree bearing much fruit. 

The commandment to achieve eternal life is again, easily recognisable for us here, dare I say it is now has a more personal deep meaning.

‘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, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’  ‘ As that is what is needed by us.

This is the gift of the bible. It truly is the good news. It points to Christ from start to finish, and is truly a book of counsel and wisdom.

A book guiding us to the eternal kingdom, by blessing us with greater understanding, deeper devotion and a thirst for the peace and comfort of Christ in our lives.

I encourage you all, to explore our saviour by listening to his words.  I’ll start it off for you.

Isaiah 58:11 NIV
11 The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.