Presentation on theme: "Eternal Life. There once was a Rabbi who, overcome with a sense of humility before God’s wonderful creation, threw himself before the altar of the temple."— Presentation transcript:
There once was a Rabbi who, overcome with a sense of humility before God’s wonderful creation, threw himself before the altar of the temple and cried, “I am nobody! I am nobody!” Book: “Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight In Our Busy Lives”
The Cantor, seeing the Rabbi from the rear of the Synagogue, was moved by the Rabbi’s humility and devotion. He, too, joined the Rabbi at the Altar, crying, “I am nobody! I am nobody!”
Now, the janitor, sweeping the floors in the hall, heard the cries of the two religious men and was moved by their devotion. Joining them at the altar the janitor cried out, “I am nobody! I am nobody!”
At which point the Cantor turned to the Rabbi and, indicating the janitor, remarked, “Look who thinks he’s nobody.”
Now I brought this story to your attention because I think it is a good summary of the over theme of our Bible Text for today.
In the text we will read in just a few minutes we will see that the lawyer seemed more interested in himself rather than the wellbeing and problems of the people around him.
The lawyer approached Jesus and asked “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Wanting to test Jesus, the lawyer tried to get Jesus to tell him how he could save himself.
Jesus did not answer the lawyers question. Instead Jesus responded to the lawyers question with a question of His own to see if the lawyer knew what scripture had to say concerning this matter.
Jesus asked the lawyer: ‘What is written in the law?” What do you read there?
The lawyer answered:” You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.”
And Jesus said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
And the real meaning behind this brief interchange is this; “It is not what a person does that determines his or her place in the Kingdom of God but rather what is inside their heart that matters most when it comes to the question of eternal life.”
25 Just then a lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” 27 He answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.”
29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity.
34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Now, I think that the lawyer was probably a bit embarrassed by his first question, and so he asked another question to try and justify himself and avoid the public humiliation that might follow due to his initial question.
And so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” And in response Jesus told him a parable which we now know as “The Parable of the Good Samaritan.”
The question we need to ask ourselves is this: “What can we do to inherit eternal life?”
The answer to this question might surprise you, because Jesus teaches us that we cannot save ourselves.
Instead, we must rely upon Him to save us. And then, after our salvation is secured, go and live a life of service without counting the cost and without expecting a reward.
Jesus calls us to a life of compassion. Jesus calls us to go and feed the hungry, to provide water for the thirsty, to welcome the stranger, to clothe the naked, to look after the sick, and to visit people in prison.
And the “Good News” is this, when we fail to do these things (and we will), Jesus is our “Good Shepherd” who picks us up and gives us the courage and the strength to be His body in our world today.