RELIGION WANTS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU
Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side (Luke 10:30-32 New King James Version).
We all know the story of the Good Samaritan and we tell it often when we talk about being a neighbor to those around us, but do we ever really stop to think about who the two, who passed by the beaten man, really were? One was a certain priest, and the other a Levite, both from the tribe of Levi, yet with two different religious roles in the temple. Levite means a descendent of Levi, the son of Jacob and Leah. Levi, himself, had three family clans within: Gershon, Kohath and Meraribut, yet it was the clan of Kohath who supplied the priests. The entire tribe of Levi was set apart as caretakers of the tabernacle and as aides to the priests. Both had specific jobs within the tabernacle of the Lord, and both followed the traditions and rituals customary of their office.
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus specifically says a priest and a Levite both looked upon the wounded man, yet they crossed the road and passed him by. I believe they represent religion. Religion wants nothing to do with us; it seeks only to get something from us – money, power, and status. Religion does not seek to heal, or help, or even to get in the bloody, sweaty, dirty trenches and offer assistance.
Jesus used the Samaritan, not only to say who our neighbor is, but to reveal our neighbor is not who we think he is. Jesus did not come to earth the way the Pharisees thought a king should – with fanfare, robed and full of wealth and power. He came to earth as a humble babe; he walked among the sick, the sinner, and the ordinary people. He met us where we were, getting down and dirty in the trenches, He picked us up when we were beaten, smelly and left for dead. He cleaned us up and left us in the care of the Holy Spirit, which I believe the inn keeper represents in the parable.
When we turn towards religion to fill our needs, we are always left with feelings of unworthiness, guilt and emptiness, for religion cannot fill the hole in our spirits. Religion turns from us when we have nothing to offer it. When we turn to Christ, we are never left needing more, we are left wanting more because He meets us where we are, hugs us, loves us, heals us and never asks anything of us we don’t have to give.
Let’s Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Word. Thank You for Your gift of Jesus Christ and the love You have shown us. Father, may we not seek after religion and may we not be religious to others. Give us hearts like the Samaritan, give us the heart of Christ. May we have courageous and bold hearts to climb into the trenches with others, may we have the audacity to point others to Christ, and to trust them to the care of the Holy Spirit. Father, we seek only to glorify You and not ourselves. We thank You for truth, the way and for life! We thank You for being a Father who loves us so much and desires nothing but the best for us. May all those who trust in religion, yet find nothing to cling to there, may they find Jesus instead and take hold of His outstretched hand. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Today’s Attitude of Worship: Every day we are offered Samaritan opportunities, we only have to open our eyes to see them. Seize the opportunity to be one!
Additional Scriptures: Exodus 32:26-29; Luke 10:30-37