Jesonian: The Bad Samaritan… April 5, 2015

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It was Charles Schultz, the conceiver of the Peanuts comic strip, who once said, “I love mankind. It’s people I can’t stand.”

Let me give you my resurrection message. It’s all about Samaritans. In the ministry of Jesus there are four major references to these people from Samaria.

There is the case when Jesus stopped in to Sychar and talked to a woman at a well, who coyly wanted to avoid any discussion of her personal life by becoming embroiled in a conversation about religion. Jesus side-stepped the theology, touched her heart and because of that, a little revival broke out in the region, which led to many wonderful conversions.

The word “Samaritan” is also brought up in relationship to one of ten lepers, who returned to be thankful after being cleansed. Jesus commended him for his great insight.

Then there’s the classic parable of “The Good Samaritan,” who stops off to help out someone wounded along the side of the road.

But the fourth case is what we might call the “Bad Samaritan.”

Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem once again and decides to pass through Samaria and sprout a few more blessings. But upon arriving at a Samaritan village, the town council meets him outside the city limits and tells him he is no longer welcome there, because they are angry because he is heading toward Jerusalem.

This prompts two of the disciples to offer the suggestion that these ungrateful people should be killed off by fire from heaven.

Perhaps that’s the problem we have today.

We like people, even those we used to be prejudiced against, as long as they do exactly what we want them to do.

On this Easter Sunday morning I would like you to remember the true message of the season. For after all, Jesus did not resurrect from the dead and go seek revenge on Caiaphas and the Jewish Council. He didn’t behead Pontius Pilate.

The true message of Easter is the same one Jesus spoke to those two disciples when they wanted to kill off the Samaritans, who had a bad day.

It’s a three-step process–a Jesonian perspective which will make your Easter Sunday last all year long:

1. Know the heart of God.

It’s simple: God doesn’t want anyone to perish.

He certainly doesn’t want them to be driven to hell by people who condemn them.

2. Know your own spirit.

Once again, not complicated: we get mercy when we give mercy.

And by the way, we require mercy.

3. The rest is obvious.

Yes, when we walk around pretending that life is difficult, we are admitting that we have abandoned the heart of God and we really don’t know our own spirit.

In conclusion:

  • You can’t change bad Samaritans into good Samaritans.
  • You can’t change bad people into good people.
  • Jesus’ response to the Samaritans who rejected him was simply to go to another village.

Let God take care of all the business of dealing with people’s inner workings.

There are “Bad Samaritans.”

There are people who have nasty attitudes.

Our only recourse is to know the heart of God, know that our own spirit demands that we give mercy, and the rest is obvious:

Move on.

Sometimes … it takes another village.

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