Of Eternal Life and Royal Priests
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,
And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. Lk 10:25-37
There are two things that I love about this story. One is the fact that the story of the Good Samaritan is associated with inheriting eternal life (verse 25). In other words, doing something as simple as this Samaritan did can guarantee you eternal life. That’s truly amazing.
But much of the time our flesh prevents us from doing the will of God in our lives.
I am sure you appreciate the fact that it is not like the priest and the Levite did not want to help the fallen man. I am sure they must have felt terribly distressed at the predicament facing the poor soul. Being men of the cloth, they must have prayed for him all the way to wherever they were going.
But it is clear that the situation in hand needed more than a prayer. Action was required. A substantial price was involved here. Someone needed to risk their lives to help this suffering man.
I tell you – I am not perfect myself – but I have been in situations where you could laugh with the bitterness of it all. People are so afraid to die to self!
Jesus said, “Do you want to inherit eternal life? Then get out there and do something. Don’t just pray, don’t just preach – GET OUT AND DO SOMETHING!”
Our claim to eternal life comes with a price. Indeed, I am convinced that it is in the inheriting of God’s Kingdom that we pay the highest price.
Notice that Jesus did not say, “A fellow Jew came down that way”. No, Jesus specifically picked out two men who were servants of God and ministers of the people of God. In the new covenant that we have with God every born-again believer is a priest. More even than the Levitical priesthood, the Bible calls us “a royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9). What an incredibly high calling! And yet, again, what a stupendously huge responsibility!
The second thing that I love about this scripture is the total, unconditional love that the Samaritan showed to the wounded man. If ever the word “compassion” needed a description, the attitude and actions of this good man embody it fully.
We can clearly see a revelation of the cross and the grace of God in the life of this Samaritan. For him it was not even a matter of risking his life. On the contrary, he counted his life as lost. It was crucified with Christ’s, and he counted himself dead with Christ. Oh, if only we could arrive there!
Only through identifying his life with Christ’s could this man be able to show true compassion to his neighbor. I deliberately use the word “true” here because there are things of men and there are things of God. True things are only those that come from God. For compassion to be true it must be born of God.
When we carry the true love of Christ in our hearts we will minister to people totally and unconditionally. We won’t tell them things like, “Don’t be so dumb next time!”
There are people hurting all around us. Some hurts we see, some we don’t. But I can assure you that when we are living a life of denial to self and taking our cross and following Jesus, God Himself will lead us to hurting souls and we will be able to give them our all, totally and unconditionally.
We see such a spirit of nobility in this Samaritan. He did not speak or do one negative thing to the man he had helped. Nor did one negative thought cross his mind. His whole attitude was one of true royalty. A royal priest.
A song by Keith Green.