The Curse of “They”.
We’re starting a new series this summer called, “Signs”. It’s about the stories Jesus told in the form of parables to teach spiritual truths. In fact, the word “parable” comes from “para” which means “to come along side or compare” and “ballo” which literally means “see”. Jesus used parables as a primary way of teaching because he wanted to juxtapose two scenes or ideas. A real-life scene with a spiritual scene or lesson.
In many of the parables Jesus told, he often would confront the irony of a real-life situation. For example, in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus knows that to many, "they"—the Samaritans, were a highly disliked people group (for various reasons). They were despised, looked down upon, and even hated. And yet in this story, it is the Samaritan that’s the hero. Two very religious people walk by an unknown man who is dying, but don’t bother to stop and help him. But, a Samaritan man stops, lifts up the hurting man, cares for his wounds, takes him to a safe place, cares for him, and makes sure he has the care he needs to recover. He is a true, loving neighbor.
As guest speaker Mark Morrison shared this past Sunday, Christians are known for many negative things, but, we should be known for our compassion, our lack of prejudice, our loving actions, and our imitation of the Father’s heart for all people. God will one day judge all things…including us Christians (Acts 10:42). The “us” and “they” recipe is a dangerous one for Christians.
How often have I walked by a dying man on a street? Not often. Never I must confess. But how often have I walked by someone and said to myself, “Well, they need help, but, they probably have their own race, religious group, or support system? They probably have their own friends. They probably wouldn’t want my help. They are different." Far too often I'm afraid.
The “us” and “they” idea in the parable of the Good Samaritan exposes the irony of who actually needs help—the self-righteous religious or everyone else? It’s easy to assume it’s others who need help, yet, Jesus seems to intimate to his listeners the exact opposite. Ultimately God (like the despised, looked down upon, shunned Samaritan) is the one who notices, heals wounds, carries, provides shelter, and takes additional care of those who are willing to receive care from Him.
NorthCreek Church is a place where Jesus is the organizing principle and fidelity to the Bible is crucial. When the Bible is interpreted well and in context, its implications and applications are life-changing, life-giving, and life-rescuing.
If you’d like to chat or have questions about Jesus, shoot us an email at Gary(at)NorthCreekOnline.com. We love talking about Jesus and would be happy to carry on a discussion about a Jesus-centric life.