Bible Text: Luke 10:23-37 | Preacher: Rev. Mark Buetow | Series: 2015
You are baptized in the church. You are clothed with Christ. You are given the riches that belong to a child of God. And off you go into the world. And as you go the devil, the world, and your own sinful nature jump you like a band of highway robbers. They beat you up, try to strip Christ’s righteousness off you, take your riches in Christ and leave you for dead. Now what? Maybe the Law will save you? Maybe obeying God and loving your neighbor will get you out of the ditch. The problem is you’re half dead. You’re beat up. You’re a poor, miserable sinner, by nature sinful and unclean. You aren’t going to save yourself. But the Samaritan comes by. That’s Jesus. He sees you there and saves you. He picks you up. Clothes you. Bandages your sin wounds with the waters of your baptism and the wine of His blood in the Supper. He takes you to the inn, His holy church, where He gives your innkeeper pastor charge of you to keep giving you healing medicine. That is, to remind you of your baptism daily, to give you the strengthening food of Jesus’ body and blood. Sin and death put you down. Christ rescues and saves you.
You need to hear when it comes to this story that you are the person in the ditch. Why? Because you want to justify yourself. Oh, sure, the young expert in the Torah, the Law, says, I can love God. But let’s make sure I’ve got loving my neighbor down. So, Jesus, who is my neighbor? Tell me so that I know who I have to be nice to to get eternal life. And everyone thinks Jesus told this story so the guy will think, “Well, I guess next time I see a guy in a ditch who needs help, I’ll help him out.” Then I did good. I lived right. I’ll inherit eternal life! That’s us. Justifying ourselves. Tell me what to do. How to live. How to act. Be a good person. Sure, I can improve, so tell me what I gotta do and I’ll be in, too. You justify yourself. You’re a good person. You go to church. You stayed married. Your kids behaved. You’re not a meanie like the other kids. You waited ’til you’re married. You didn’t steal that thing. You didn’t gossip…too much. You got confirmed. You love God? Of course you do! You love your neighbor? Well, usually. Just remind me who that is again so I can be a nice person and get some eternal life.
And when you think that, when you’re laying in a ditch of sin, wounded and bleeding, because you wanted to do it yourself and the devil carjacked you and left you for dead, the Law won’t save you. It will come up to you. Love God. No, you don’t. Sorry. Pass by on the other side. Love your neighbor? Yeah, right. Look at all the people you don’t love. Pass by on the other side. Jesus shows up. “Law didn’t help did it? It didn’t save you. You couldn’t do it. Couldn’t get up out of the ditch. The commandments didn’t rescue you. They didn’t make you right. They won’t get you eternal life. Here, I’ve got this.” So down he comes into the ditch. Into the flesh. Your flesh. Your sin. Your nakedness. Suffering. Cross. Death. Grave. Resurrection. Jesus has got this. That’s how He saves you. He’ll go with the thieves. Hung between two of them on Calvary. And passed by by the priest and Levite and all the “experts in the Law.” Hung their by those who justify themselves. Scribes. Pharisees. Levites. You. He dies His death to make it your death. Your salvation. Sins paid for. Blood and water from His side. That means oil and wine for your wounds. Baptism. Supper. Word. Inn. Church. Pastor. Healing. That’s what you need. Because every time you want to justify yourself, the devil, the world, and your sinful nature will beat the tar out of you, rob you and leave you laying in the ditch. And every time, Jesus the Samaritan will come along, climb down next to you, and take you out of there and back to the place where you can get better. You want to justify yourself? Jesus knows. That’s why He comes to save you and justify you before God by His rescuing you from sin and death. Jesus, your Good Samaritan. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.