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Love your neighbor as yourself

Luke 10:23-37

Pastor David Ernst

13th Sunday after Trinity
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Aug 25, 2013 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior , Jesus Christ.

We do good deeds for others for several reasons . Many times because a person has done something good for us first. For example , our parents gave us the gift of life, care for us , protect us . We have many things in common with our other family members and our friends , so we are ready to do good deeds for them. Perhaps we have a good relationship with our employer or coworkers , so we maintain the relationship with favors.

But , to do good deeds for strangers ? Even more , our enemies ? What is the motive to do good for people who have not done anything for us ? 0r , have wronged us ? Often some people do good works outside their circle of family and friends with the expectation of reward . To reconcile enemies and avoid more conflicts , or to gain the admiration and respect from the crowds , if not much is at stake .

But what if there is no possibility of reward? And if there is much personal risk ? What was the motive for the Samaritan in our text for today?

" A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho , and fell among thieves, who stripped him and beat him , and departed, leaving him half dead . "

And what happened? " And there came down a certain priest that way: and saw him, passed from one side . And likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him , passed by on the side. " Here were two religious men, a priest in the temple of Jerusalem and a Levite , ie , an assistant of the priests in the temple. Both went to the other side of the wounded man on the road. They looked around and there were no one to admire them if they helped this man . And there was a great risk that thieves were nearby , watching them, and could attack them as well .

Is this true faith ? If we believe in God , we believe that God knows everything , God sees everything. So to forget God's will if there are no other people to admire is to deny the existence of God. What is God's will ?

The previous verses read: " And behold, a certain lawyer stood up , tempting him, and saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life ? And he said, What is written in the law? How do you read ? 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 neighbor as thyself . And he said, Thou hast answered right : this do, and thou shalt live. But he, desiring to justify himself , said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor ? "

Loving God with all your heart and with all your soul , and with all your strength , and with all your mind is to bring together all your faculties to action , to risk everything, even with your physical body, instead of doing what opposes God . Loving God with all our mind , is to not accept anything that is not pleasing to God. The mind is focused on God and all things that please God .

And God wants us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and in this way:

" But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came near him , and seeing him, he had compassion , and went to him, and bound up his wounds , pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, brought him to an inn and took care of him . The next day he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said, Take care of him , and whatever more you spend , I will repay you when I return . "

He was moved with compassion . Mercy , compassion , is an attribute of God himself. The Bible says "God is love " ( 1 John 4:8). The Greek word is " agape " love means not seeking reward, only the welfare of others .

The first two travelers had been Jews . This last man that happened by was a Samaritan , a foreigner to the Jews and more , because the Samaritans had a history of hatred and war against the Jews . But this Samaritan , who had gone on a long trip, and was probably

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