Luke 10: 25-37
Galatians 2: 20
This parable we are so familiar with was in answer to a question, but the question was not in faith: the question was in self-justification. How much we find in our own hearts trying to justify ourselves while ignoring the rights of God. This man says, “And who is my neighbour?” It is very evident in asking such a question he had never thought of being a neighbour to anybody. He only thought of pleasing himself, justifying himself. How like my own heart, what I find in my own heart. I might be able to say good things, I might be able to recite the Scriptures quite accurately and yet find in myself that which is not neighbourly, not caring, not caring for others, not caring for those who are in difficulties, but there is One here who in a marvellous way has proved Himself to be the Neighbour.
So He speaks of “A certain man”; “A certain man descended from Jerusalem to Jericho”. It was not somebody who was named, it was not somebody in the history books, it was “A certain man”, and therefore I am entitled to put my name there as having experienced that, that I have been on this road. Every sinner has been on this road. It is a very familiar road, is it not, the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Jericho? We may say, ’Well, the problem was the robbers. The problem was the state of this world. It is not my fault that I got robbed.’ The first thing the Lord Jesus says is that he “descended from Jerusalem to Jericho”; that is, I went my own way, did I not? I tried to please myself. In doing so I was going in the wrong direction, I was going downwards, downwards from the place of favour to the place that God had put a curse upon. We know that Jericho, as we look back on Scripture, was vehemently opposed to God and to His people, vehemently opposed to the people going into the land, Josh 6. Jericho was overthrown, was it not, overthrown after the ark went round carried by the priests? Think of how the Lord Jesus has gone into death to remove the power of the world in men’s souls. The world is overthrown in our hearts as we truly put our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus. Jericho has been rebuilt in direct opposition and neglect of God’s word as to it. Despite all, this man was on his way down to Jericho. It is a well trodden path; it is a broad path that leads to destruction. He ran into trouble, he ran into the robbers, he ran into those who would rob him of all that he had, and he is left with nothing. It is all seen in your course and mine. Go on your course as a sinner, neglect what God would put to you in His claims through His wonderful glad tidings, and you will end up with nothing. You will end up wounded; you will end up in a half-dead state away from God, hopeless and helpless. I trust there is nobody still on this road, on this road of sin. There is an answer. There is an answer for every sinner and that is in the One who has drawn near. There were those who looked on him and could not do anything. Perhaps they took pity on him but they could do nothing, but there is One who is a Neighbour. There was the Lord Jesus as seen here in figure as “a certain Samaritan journeying”. For Him it was a deliberate journey, for Him it was a different journey to that which we find ourselves on in our sinful state as trying to please ourselves; He was going in the opposite direction. He was not pleasing Himself. He was journeying. We began this morning with hymn 230 which refers to His pathway, a pathway marked by grace and love and faithfulness. That faithfulness took Him right to the end of that journey for you and for me, ending at the cross, the grave. Think of what it was for Him to be made sin. Think of what it was for Him to take on the whole matter of the curse, “Cursed is every one hanged upon a tree”, Gal 3: 13. “Him who knew not sin he has made sin for us, that we might become God’s righteousness in him”, 2 Cor 5: 21. Think of that! He took on the whole matter that I might be delivered, delivered from the power of the robbers, delivered from the power of death, delivered from sin, delivered from what I find in myself. So the Lord Jesus has drawn near, “journeying came to him, and seeing him, was moved with compassion, and came up to him”. Think of the depths that the Lord Jesus has gone down to. He would come up to you. Think of His lowliness, His meekness. Think of the simplicity of the glad tidings, that you can speak to the Lord Jesus at any time. Make it an urgent matter. If you have not done so already in your life, speak to the Lord Jesus and you will find that He will come up to you immediately, address your needs and He will look at you, “moved with compassion” for every sinner that cries out to Him. How available He is! How meek and lowly He is! So it says, “moved with compassion, and came up to him and bound up his wounds”. Think of how the Lord Jesus would feel the fact that you are wounded. There is this man left by the robbers. They had done all they would, “stripped him and inflicted wounds, went away leaving him in a half-dead state”. That is what the world would do, it is what Satan would do, and when he is finished with you would leave you with nothing, wounded, lifeless and hopeless. The Lord Jesus entered into it all and He would bind up your wounds, pouring in oil and wine, bringing in that healing power of the oil, that joyful sense that you are liberated from the power of sin; and it says, “put him on his own beast”. He laid it down ...Think of what the Lord Jesus has done. He sacrificed Himself and His rights as the One here so beloved of God. Think of what He has laid down: He laid down His life in which He had walked in perfection before God, and here we see that He “put him on his own beast, took him to the inn and took care of him”.
I would like to speak a little about the place where this man was taken - the inn. It was a place where neighbours are found. You see the friends and neighbours in chapter 15. You see the Lord Jesus there as the Shepherd taking the sheep on His shoulders, taking it to the house, taking it to the place where the friends and neighbours were there to welcome Him. Think of how He rejoiced there with those people. He is saying, “I have found my lost sheep”, Luke 15: 6. What a thing it is to come into a place where neighbours are found, where the friends are found. That is where you will be cared for, where salvation practically is to be found. Not only are you taken off the road of sin, not only are you taken off that road which can only end in destruction, but you are brought into an atmosphere where you are cared for and loved and, not only that, but you are given a provision of great wealth under the care of the Innkeeper. It is remarkable the wording here. He is first seen taking out two denarii and he gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, “Take care of him”. Think of how the Holy Spirit has taken on that charge of taking care of the saints, taking care of believers on the Lord Jesus. You know, it is not an automatic thing that you receive the Holy Spirit, but it would be normal, normal as putting your faith and trust in the Lord Jesus that you receive the Holy Spirit as desiring Him if the gospel is presented rightly. It is a wonderful thing that the Holy Spirit is given, but on your side you need to receive Him. What you will find as you prove the help of the Holy Spirit are tremendous resources, because here you see, “Take care of him, and whatsoever thou shalt expend more, I will render to thee on my coming back”. Think of how much the Holy Spirit has under His charge and how much He is prepared to give to take care of you. He would give you the benefit of the very best, to give you the benefit of all that God has in mind for you, salvation proved in the assembly, in a practical way to be saved from the effects of this poor evil world that would rob you, rob you of your joy, rob you of your life, rob you of your vitality in relation to response to God.
So the Lord Jesus is coming again and accounts will be given of how much the Holy Spirit has spent. What a wonderful reservoir of grace there is in this dispensation in which we are. This dispensation it is going to end when the Lord Jesus comes. It began as a result of His going into death and His rising again. Think of what is available to the forgiven sinner coming into the enjoyment of all that God has in view of blessing, and being brought into an atmosphere where wealth and enjoyment is known, where there is tremendous expenditure, and it is taken account of. It is not spent in a careless way - I would speak very carefully. It is spent in a calculated way that there should be a response from you and from me, that there should be a response towards God. God loves to hear what you think of the Lord Jesus, what you have proved in your own life, what you have proved of the care of the Holy Spirit. Do you speak to the Lord Jesus about your matters, about your heart, about what is troubling you, your griefs? Not only is He able to take away the effects of sin but He is able to take away the guilt that you find in yourself in relation to what you have done. You come into the enjoyment and the blessing of chapter 15 where you see that the Father’s heart is such that He would bring you into a place where you are loved, where you are loved in the same way that He loves His beloved Son. He would look upon you in that way, justifying you because He is looking at Christ, He is looking upon His qualities. It is a wonderful thing to come into. Well, that is the inn.
So Paul speaks from his own experience of the cross. He speaks of what it is not only to have his sins met at the cross, but he says, “I am crucified with Christ”. It is a remarkable statement. I wonder how many of us could say, “I am crucified with Christ”. You may say, ’Well, I have read this scripture’. But can you say, “I am crucified with Christ”? What a relief to see that all that is so obnoxious to God and hateful to God - and then to me also as judging by the Holy Spirit the flesh in me - has gone, never to be raised again. Have you accepted the fact that being on that road, that downward road in self-will, is being an enemy of God? But now you have come into divine favour because it has all gone, it has all gone at the cross. “I am crucified with Christ, and no longer live, I”, that which is so horrible to God, “but Christ lives in me”. Can I say that? Paul could say it, “but Christ lives in me; but in that I now live in flesh, I live by faith, the faith of the Son of God”. I think that is a wonderful thing, “the faith of the Son of God”. For the man in John 9 that was an additional thing. He knew what it was to have his eyes opened through obedience, but then in his faithfulness as he proclaimed in simplicity what he knew in a loyal and wonderful way, he found immediate hostility against what he said. He was not wanted, he was cast out. The Lord Jesus found him and He revealed to him that He is the Son of God. It is a wonderful thing to come to in your soul that there is that Man who is the Son of God in His full glory. I think we had a touch of that this morning, the Lord Jesus in His glory, the Son of God. The knowledge, experience and enjoyment of that is to be found as found amongst the saints in the assembly. So he goes on to say, “who has loved me and given himself for me”. How touching that is. The Lord Jesus has given Himself for me. Paul said it. Can you say it? Such a glorious Man, and yet you can say of Him, He “has loved me and given himself for me”. All that He was, He gave Himself for me. Well, can each of us say it in reality? I trust it will be so. For His Name’s sake.
8th November 2009