What Does Love Look Like?

Scriptures: 2 Samuel 11: 26-12: 13A & Luke 10: 25-37

Pastor Clyde’s August 2, 2015 Sermon

2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a

(26) When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. (27) After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.

12: The LORD sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. (2) The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, (3) but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

(4) “Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

(5) David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this must die! (6) He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

(7) Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. (8) I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. (9) Why did you despise the word of the LORD by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. (10) Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’

(11) “This is what the LORD says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. (12) You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

(13) Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.”

Luke 10: 25-37

(25) On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

(26) “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

(27) He answered, “‘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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

(28) “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

(29) But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

(30) In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. (31) A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. (32) So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. (33) But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. (34) He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. (35) The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

(36) “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

(37) The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

1. Did you hear about the pastor who was called to the home of a member of his congregation?

2. The woman told him that she had watched the lottery the night before and her husband had won $25 million.

3. The pastor congratulated her but she said that her husband had a weak heart and she was afraid the news would give him a heart attack. She asked if he would break the news gently to him. He said, of course.

4. The man came home and the pastor talked to him a while and talked to him about the needs of the church.

5. The man was very sympathetic but said his money was very tight. The pastor said, “You know, I heard someone in this city won $25 million in the lottery last night.”

6. The man said, “You know, pastor, if I won $25 million, I would give the church half of it!”

7. The pastor had a heart attack and they had to call an ambulance.

8. Today we look at perhaps the best known parable of them all—The Good Samaritan.

9. It has entered our language and our laws.

10. But what does Jesus want us to learn about ourselves and about God?

11. First, I want to share something with you.

12. I went to buy a new softball bat with Anna a few weeks ago. Believe it or not, you can’t buy a softball bat for $20 or $30 anymore.

13. Try around $300.

14. Anyway, I picked out a nice bat that fit her nicely and had a great review—she didn’t like it. Why? It did not look good.

15. I tried to explain that how it looked did not have anything to do with how well she would hit the ball.

16. But then I remembered when I played golf. I would get the right hat; I would get the right shirt and shorts.

17. Then I would get the best clubs. I would look great as I went up to the tee and sliced the ball into the woods.

18. I would have been better off if I had spent some of that money on lessons. Or, as a friend of mine told me—you should just buy the clubs you know how to use to start with. As you learn to use them, you can buy more.

19. Right now you could make do with a putter, a three-wood and a nine-iron.

20. In today’s parable, Jesus is telling us that if we concentrate on the externals of the Christian faith, then we will be frustrated just as if we concentrated on the externals of golf or softball.

21. We can get a leather bible, buy commentaries, go to bible studies, talk to the right people, and still not get the message.

22. In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus is telling us that focusing on the externals is not enough. We must know how to love each other.

23. Before we begin, we need to understand a little background.

24. In the geography of the Holy Land, Galilee was up to the north, in the middle was Samaria, and at the bottom or in the south was Judea where Jerusalem was located.

25. When someone went to Jerusalem from Galilee, many times they avoided Samaria altogether. They went across the Jordan, came down and then crossed back once they were in Judea.

26. Jesus did go to Samaria but it was not a very popular place. The Samaritans were hated by the Jews; they were the “Other.” Why?

27. Way back in 722 BC, the Assyrians, who came from modern day Iraq, conquered Samaria. They were very cruel.

28. One of the ways that they made sure that conquered countries would bend to their rule was to take leaders into captivity and then mix in people from other countries in the conquered country.

29. So, if Russia conquered us, they would take a few thousand of our top leaders back to Russia or Siberia. Then they would bring in a few million Russians, Mexicans, and Syrians.

30. After a few years, everyone began to intermarry. Not only did they become mixed in race but they began to pick up different ideas in their faith and religion.

31. They established a temple on Mt. Gerizim.

32. So the Jews saw the Samaritans as half-breeds and heretics.

33. For a Jew to eat with a Samaritan was worse than eating swine.

34. Now, at this point in the story, we might ask ourselves, “Who is our Samaritan?”

35. Who do we see as the Other? Who turns our stomach so much that we would almost rather be left to die in a ditch than be rescued by them?

36. Is it the gay person; the black activist; the Hispanic or illegal alien; the Muslim; the Republican; the Democrat? Who is it?

37. Put that person in your head now and the story makes more sense.

38. So let’s look at the story now.

39. First the expert in the law tests Jesus with the question which basically means, “What do I do to get to heaven”

40. See, he is testing Jesus. He already knows his answer. You ever get asked one of those questions?

41. I get them all the time. People ask me, “Pastor, what do you think about so and so?”

42. They know what they think and I could talk for a million years and not change their minds. They don’t want to know what I think.

43. They want to know if I am on the right team.

44. One of my professors was once asked a question like that. He asked back, “Do you know the answer to that question?” The student said, “Yes, sir.”

45. And the professor said, “Then why in the world did you ask me?”

46. But this expert in the law is asking the wrong question. The question is all about ME.

47. He should ask—How can I please God? If you please God, then you will get into heaven.

48. It is like your children saying, “I love you so much, Daddy.” Then ten minutes later. “Daddy, can I have $25?”

49. Brian McClaren says that most of the ministry of Jesus was concerned not with how we can get into heaven but with how we can get heaven into us.

50. Jesus is pretty smart here; he asks, “What do you think?”

51. The scribe answers, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and your neighbor as yourself.”

52. Jesus tells him that he has answered well; do this and you will be saved.

53. But the expert is not finished. He asks, “Who is my neighbor?”

54. The key here is that he wants to know, “Who do I NOT have to love?”

55. I want a list of who I really, absolutely have to love. And I want to know who I can legally leave off that list—surely I don’t have to love gays, illegal immigrants, Muslims, etc.

56. So Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan.

57. The road from Jerusalem to Jericho goes down about 17 miles. There are plenty of caves where a bandit could hide.

58. A man is beaten and left on the side of the road. Jesus wants us to understand that any of us could be that man.

59. As a matter of fact, all of us WILL be that man at some point in our lives. We will all be beaten by life and need someone to lend us a hand at some point.

60. He goes on to say that a Methodist preacher comes by and does not stop to help.

61. Then a Sunday school teacher comes by and does not stop.

62. We usually are feeling pretty self-righteous at this point but we are all those people at some point in our lives.

63. We will all rationalize our failure to stop in some way sometime in our lives.

64. If you happened to pass through a rough part of Virginia Beach and saw a man beaten in a ditch, would you stop?

65. Would you stop for a homeless person, a drunk?

66. Jesus is asking who do we see as our neighbor and how much do we love?

67. I see venom spewed daily on Facebook and on the news and it is directed at human beings who God loves. They are our neighbors.

68. We all walk right past our neighbors as some point.

69. Finally, the Samaritan stops and helps. Has someone helped you when you thought they would be the last person alive who would help?

70. I remember when I was working at the Library at Baylor while I was finishing my dissertation.

71. I had been hired to teach the next semester and was scheduled to have my last day interview with my boss.

72. We had not had the best relationship and I looked forward to the interview.

73. I got a phone call and found out that my father had died and I needed to fly back to Virginia.

74. My supervisor came to me and she hugged me. She was so very sincere.

75. That overwhelmed me because I had wasted a lot of time the last few months over petty things with her.

76. I had misjudged her and it took this tragedy to see it.

77. I never had the chance to talk with her face to face but I did call her months later and tell her what that meant to me.

78. Jesus wants us to understand what it means to love and how to be a neighbor.

79. How can we be a neighbor and love?

80. Our youth are away today in Nicaragua being neighbors.

81. We worked at JCOC being neighbors.

82. I have an idea of how we can set up a surf camp next summer for inner city youth that will expand our outreach and our love.

83. Even kids can show their love to neighbors.

84. The Virginia Conference has an initiative called Imagine No Malaria. Every 60 seconds a child dies from malaria.

85. But $10 can save a life. We can work together to save lives. That is one way to show we are neighbors even to people half way around the world.

86. I challenge you to take part—even the children—in Imagine No Malaria.

87. Will you show your love for your neighbor?