More / Book of the Month / Extra and ordinary / Luke 10:25-37 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday July 10th, 2022 / Season of Pentecost

Extra and ordinary / Luke 10:25-37 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday July 10th, 2022 / Season of Pentecost




Extra and ordinary / Luke 10:25-37 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Sunday July 10th, 2022 / Season of Pentecost


Text: Luke 10:25-37
Theme: Extra and ordinary

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Intr – A lawyer approaches Jesus and asks about the way of gaining eternal life. It seems like a regular question for a pious person, but it seems to me that he might not be asking for the traditional answer “Love your God from all your heart and mind and soul”, but rather for something supernatural, heroic that he might do. It looks like the ordinary he has already being doing. After all, he is a Master of the Law, must have been checking all the right boxes with the teaching of his religion. It reminds us of the Rich young man "I have been doing this type of stuff since my early days.”[1]  

Jesus takes the question on and points Him back to the Word, to the summary of God’s Law – in which that guy is supposedly a master. But he wants more. He wants to know who this neigbour is that he hasn’t already reached out ot him or her. It must be something extraordinary.

As Jesus usually does, he brings then a parable where He normally:

First, illustrates His truth. The Bible says Jesus taught only through them;  Second, gets the point across in a way that both the lawyer and the simplest of the people could understand it; and third, something often present in his parables, points to what nobody would do, only him! And from there what Christians can do from faith in Him.

        It looks like the Lawyer is asking for something extraordinary from Jesus. And this is what he will get.

 1 – Extra-ordinary

        There are several extraordinary aspects in this parable. The main one being that Jesus is the Good Samaritan. For who would do what that Samaritan did? Nobody. What “good practicing Jew” would accept the help of such an impure person? None. It is an impossible, extraordinary deed that can be done by only one person.[2]

        One way to see this parable through Gospel lenses is to realize that we are humanity left half dead by the side of the world history. There’s nothing we can do. When you are half dead by the roadside, so badly beaten, trying to do something for yourself may complicate the matter even further. You may die permanently.[3]

        Jesus comes and takes us on himself and carries us providing healing; an extraordinary healing. He is the only and true Good Samaritan. He carries us and heals us. But He even took our place and was beaten to half death in our place. The difference is that the other half – full death – was of him own willing. He gave up his life on the cross so that by his wounds we could be healed.

 2 – Ordinary

        I think though that we can’t just make the story only about salvation. Jesus is clear at the end in his teaching about serving by saying “go and do likewise”. This extraordinary story sends us to our ordinary life.

        Now, where does the strength and ability to that come from? On the “no” side, we just can’t go and do likewise when:

“-When we think it all depends on us – anthropocentrism
-When we think all depends on God – indifference
-When we lose sight of what “good” is, according to the word
-When we face hard times without a sight of hope and future.

        You might have noticed that I didn’t include any of these on the list: health problems, financial difficulties, difficulties in relationships, joblessness, anxiousness, fear, times of trouble and war. For none of these prevent you from doing good, as long as you are grounded on what good is, and what types of good things you can do. Praying for somebody, sending a text message of giving words of encouragement, forgiving somebody – those are as good works as donation millions to charity, and even better than helping somebody as a virtue signaling opp.”[4]

        The lawyer wanted the extraordinary, trusting his own will and skills. Jesus gives him extraordinary, and I can almost see his face as the story unfolds and a Samaritan helps a half dead Jew, carries him, pays for his expenses and will still care about him when he comes back. That is too much; it’s unbelievable. It is likewise undoable, unless we don’t go with that man in search for the extraordinary to put the focus on us – how good we can be and do likewise – and go to the Cross to put the focus on Christ. And from there we are sent to the ordinary in daily life, our neighbour.

      “Neighbour” in the original greek points to make yourself close to somebody. Of course, neighbours are not the only the ones who are near physically, but that sense is strongly implied in the Jesus choice of words: you go and make yourself near to the person in need. That’s what the Samaritan did. He came near, and became a neighbour. That’s what Jesus did. He came near us and became our greatest neighbour, friend, brother ever. Right there in our ordinary life.

      Then, who is near us in our ordinary life? They are our spouse, our family, our next door neighbour. Who else? We are all able to fill the blanks in the list of ordinary neighbours around us. It looks Jesus is less worried about the extraordinary works we vow to do in his name – even though we can act so, in exceptional times- but he is inviting us to be near to the ordinary people in our daily life. The Good Samaritan, Jesus, by taking care of our wounds and shaping our life according to His Cross, now send us to a Christ like manner in the ordinary.[5] You have daily opportunites to be a good samaritan to be people closest to you.

      And you know what? All of a sudden, what seems to be ordinary, your daily life in Christ, shining His light to people near you and helping them, may become extraordinary. It may change somebody’s world, somebody’s life. God’s extraordinary action through His Means of Grace come through the action of the Holy Spirit in ordinary things (water, bread and wine) to bring to make the extra-ordinary in people’s life.

      “Thanks be to us”, then, so that we can check another box on the “I went and did likewise, so God must be proud of me? Not really, not at all. Thanks be to God for giving us in Christ the healing for our wounds and from there the opportunity to go and make ourselves near to people near us. Truly neighbours acting ordinarily in life strengthened by God’s extraordinary means of Grace and Love. You can do likewise when you are firmly attached to the Good Samaritan and His Word. In Him we are free, and we are free to serve![6]

     Please, hear again Paul’s beautiful description of the Colossians living Christ in their ordinary daily life: “we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Cc – Ordinary. Extraordinary. Heroic. Regular. Christ who holds all things together holds also these opposites in our life. As we wak with him we know that hidden in the ordinary of life are extraordinary abundant His Grace, Love, Peace.

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[1] Matthew 19:16-22
[2] “However, when Christ makes the Samaritan the neighbor of the man who fell among murderers, He especially wants to show that He Himself is and wants to be the neighbor who correctly fulfills the commandment and demonstrates His love to the poor, miserable consciences and hearts of all people, which were wounded and perishing before God. In this way
He also gives the example that His Christians should do the same as He does, even though He is regarded as a Samaritan by all the world.” Martin Luther, “Gospel for Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity” (1531–32), LW 79:61–62
[3] The parable stands in bold relief, and pictures us perfectly, what we are and can do with our boasted reason and free will. If the poor wounded man had desired to help himself, it would have only been worse for him, he would have done harm to himself and irritated his wounds, and only prepared more misery and distress for himself. Had he remained lying quiet, he would have had as much suffering. Thus, it is when we are left to ourselves . . . [people] have always acted thus, and thought out many ways and methods how we might reform our lives and get to heaven. Behind this thinking is the origin of many monastic orders. It is also the inspiration for indulgences and the crusades; but they have only made evil worse.” Martin Luther, “Sermon on Thirteenth Sunday After Trinity,” in Sermons of Martin Luther: The Church Postils, ed. John Nicholas Lenker, 8 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995), 5:28–29.
[4] Lucas Andre Albrecht. “Growing in doing good - Galatians 6:1-10”. Sermon July 3th, 2022. Available at: https://lutheran-church-regina.com/blogs/post/growing-in-doing-good-galatians-61-10-pr-lucas-andre-albrecht-sunday-july-3rd-2022-season-of-pentecos
[5] Gospel for Thirteenth Sunday After Trinity,” (1533) in: “Sermons of Martin Luther: The House Postils”, ed. Eugene Klug, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996), 2:405. “We will find him [Christ] close to home: in the person of our wife, child, servant, master and civil magistrate. We will find him in our neighbor’s house, on the street corners, and in the marketplace. These are the places we should be doing whatever we can out of friendship, love and duty.” …  “have set me to be the father or mother of my family . . . with desire and love I want to do what I ought to be doing and would rather die than not follow you by failing to care for my children and servants or by provoking them. This is the good fruit that should follow from the Word. . . .For loving God does not occur by merely thinking about it as the stupid monks believe . . . rather God puts it this way: If you want to love me, then love your father and mother, your child, your husband, your wife, your master and your mistress. That is what God wants from you… look around yourself and see if you are doing these things, and you may then know whether you love or hate God.
[6] And our freedom in Christ is never simply an abstract or mental construct. It always finds us somewhere in the world, that is, in the realm of vocation. In his preaching on the good Samaritan, Luther largely avoids “imitation of Christ” piety and instead reminds his listeners that Christ as good Samaritan returns them to the real world of daily life. Stop with the focus on the extraordinary, he says. That is precisely where the monastic life has gone wrong with its pilgrimages and works of supererogation.” Instead, take a look around at the actual world God has placed you in. Get about the business of being an attentive spouse, citizen, or worker. There’s plenty to do and, if taken seriously, your calling will wound you. But then Christ will be there as well, fixing you up, and getting you back on the horse”… “If anything, Martin Luther saw himself as a preacher of the gospel of Christ Jesus, and the power of that gospel. His understanding of the proclamation of the gospel came through a renewed understanding of the way Paul approached the biblical text and the promise of the Christian gospel itself.” Mark Trankvik. “The Good Samaritan as Good News: Martin Luther and the Recovery of the Gospel in Preaching” Word & World, Volume 38, Number 3, Summer 2018.


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