First, let us give thanks to God who has allowed us to look forward to the year 2021! May everyone here including babies in bellies, receive God’s amazing blessings, vision and hope before the year 2020 passes us by.
Before this year passes, let us take this chance to think about what kind of life of faith have I been living? Not only this year but from my birth until today. Do we have more thanksgiving or do we have more complaints daily? Who is God in my life?
We have to grow and go forward until the day we reach the stature of Christ. (Ephesians 4:13) Let us compare the fullness of Christ, to where I am right now. How close am I?
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most churches have YouTube channels, and we can gather much knowledge of the bible simply by going online to watch and listen on our phones, or computers. But we have to remember that knowledge and information do not equate to faith!
As we think about the parable of the Good Samaritan that Jesus gave in today’s passage, let us consider: Which character am I more like? Which direction is my faith headed?
1. The man going down from Jerusalem
In the bible, when people were coming to the temple of God, they said “I am going UP to the temple” because spiritually it was the highest place. The life that goes up is the life that seeks to come to God to worship God. Going down means having your back towards God. A life that avoids contact with God, is a life that is going down.
Those who have departed and gone down from Jerusalem in all different aspects of our lives, may our lives turn around and become a life that is ascending and no longer descending! May we go up to hear the voice of God in the year 2021!
There is danger for those who are going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and the man was captured by robbers.
People who stand against God’s will, people who try to harm God’s people are robbers. These are Satan, the devil and those used by him.
(i) Doesn’t understand God’s will and redemptive plan.
(ii) Act only by their own human zeal, jealousy, hatred; and not from the fervency given by God.
(iii) Act out of selfish reasons.
Those going down from Jerusalem, as robbers, Satan will be waiting for us. For those going up to Jerusalem, God is waiting for us.
Jesus is sending out His disciples in 2021 to evangelise and do God’s work, like the sending out of lambs among wolves. We must be aware and not be used by Satan to hunt down God’s people or interfere with God’s redemptive work.
3. The priest and the Levite
They represent the ones who are commanded, chosen, selected from the 12 tribes to serve God but they both passed by on the other side. The other side of where God is calling them to go, where they need to be.
During Jesus’ time, the priests and Levites like to show off when other people were looking, but when nobody was watching, they rejected and ignored God’s command. This kind of people does God’s work for their selfish purpose, for their reputation and status.
Today we are Christians, outside or in our families we represent the Word and Jesus. When God is calling us saying, “I need your time!” Do we make excuses to pass by on the other side? Let us look at ourselves and not at other people, are we living for ourselves or for God?
4. The Samaritan
The Samaritan was already on a journey, but he saw the injured man and changed direction and went to him. He even stayed for a day to take care of him, he spent his own money, let him ride on his beast so he himself had to walk.
This Samaritan had that same compassion as was in Jesus’s and our heavenly Father’s heart. When Jesus feels compassion, the Word comes out, and healing takes place. May we learn to have that compassionate heart for people who need salvation and need Jesus. Then God will send out His amazing Word and healing miracles through us.
The only reason why you and I are here, today, is because our God, our Lord Jesus Christ felt compassion upon us this year. It is not because we did so well.
The Jews and Samaritans were arch-enemies who avoided each other. Yet this Samaritan did not care about that, he came and bandaged the Jew, pouring expensive anointment, putting him on his own beast, paid for his stay and promised to pay for the extra cost. Are we able to love our enemy to this extent?
Jesus in His compassion came to save us, take care of us, provide for us, and even promised to pay for everything in the future. He says “I will take care of you.” Let us take that blessing and grace with thanksgiving into the next year!
This Samaritan made saving this man his priority. Do we consider saving a soul our priority? What is the purpose of our faith? Is it just to enter into the kingdom of heaven? What is the purpose of our life? Is it just so we can take care of our retirement? And pass down good things for our children?
What are we living for? Which direction are we headed?
If we are headed for the wrong direction and wrong purpose, no matter how fast you go or how hard you work, the result will not be there. We need to ensure we are on the right direction. Faith is not just about my own zeal and fervency. Are we facing the direction God wants us to go? Do we have assurance God is with us today? And are we following Him?
May you and I have ears to hear so we can change our direction if we are going in the wrong way. That is called repentance, making a U-turn. Let us do so properly before this year passes by, so we can be ready to welcome the new year 2021!