(Luke 10:25 NKJV) And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
(Luke 10:26 NKJV) He said to him, "What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?"
In Luke 10:25, a certain Jewish lawyer came to test Jesus asking what is required to obtain eternal life. The lawyer came with a pre-conceived agenda that only the Jews who worshiped God at the right mountain of Jerusalem will inherit eternal life. Their close neighbours, the Samaritans, although believed in the same God had made themselves unclean through intermarriage with the gentiles. Therefore, they were no longer pure descendents of Abraham. The expected answer to this question was to obey the Mosaic Laws, and to be of the children of Abraham, ie a pure Jew. Jesus did not give a direct answer, but instead asked him to answer for himself "what was written in the law", ie what is the requirement of the law.
(Luke 10:27 NKJV) So he answered and said, " 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.'
(Luke 10:28 NKJV) And He said to him, "You have answered rightly; do this and you will live."
(Luke 10:29 NKJV) But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
The Lawyer quickly provide a summary of the law, the so called golden rule - 1) Loving God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strenght, and with all your mind' and 2) 'your neighbour as yourself" (which was clearly hypocritical since they really despised thier neighbours - the Samaritans). Jesus sensing his hardened heart did not give him any answers or insight - basically asking him to follow the law as per status quo. However, without defining what it really means, how does one justify himself. God looks at our heart, at our motives and intentions of which there is no law. No law can ever cover all our actions. The lawyer asked Jesus, "who is my neighbour", ie what is the measure of love?
a) We are expected as a minimum obligation to love of own family.
(Luke 10:31 NKJV) "Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
There was no specific Jewish law which says that a priests must help a person injured on the road side. However, we are expected to love our own family - in this case - his own Jewish race. We do not know why the Priests ignored the injured person - he may be filty, poor - far below the "clean" image of the priests. Hence, helping the injured Jew may soil the priests. He may have wanted to be ceremonialy clean and Holy before God.
The priests failed the first test of love to help our own family, because of his own self righteousness. He only thought of himself and his own religious standing. Religion for him, obedience to the letter of the law, came first before love. He was correct in the Law to keep himself clean, but showed none of God's love as a result.
As gays, we are expected as a minimum to give back to our own GLBT family. Do you see the poor Trans in the old age who could not find work to support herself. Do you see the gay men infected with HIV and have no money for medication.
b) We are expected to love people of the same faith, beyond our own family
(Luke 10:32 NKJV) "Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side
We may excuse the priests as being a one off, and argue that not all priests behave likewise. However, in the second example, we go beyond an individual priests to a tribe and a people group. It was the duty of the Levites to represent God before men. Therefore, they were duty bound to help the injured person because he was a fellow Jew and of the same Jewish faith.
As Gay Christians, we are expected to help our gay christian brethren. The gay Christian churches in Asia faces an incredible uphill tasks to survive. They are despised by the mainstream Christian Churches who "prays" for their demise and downfall. They are cursed and condemned from the pulpits of mainstream churches. They are also not well received by their own gay community who sees Christianity as arrogant and hypocritical, an anti-gay. Due to the very small gay population, gay christian churches are never going to be big.
As Gay Christians, we are expected to stand by and support Gay Christian Churches not only because they are Family, but they are of the same Christian Faith. We may spend thousands of dollars giving to mainstream Christians churches every month, but when it comes to our own family - our own gay church, we hold back and give not a cent and insist that the injured person on the highway have the right religious doctrine before we help him on account of good stewardship. We can rationalise this according to the law, but God looks at the heart.
c) True Love is not bounded by being of the same tribe or same religious obligations.
(Luke 10:33 NKJV) "But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.
We are expected to love people of the same tribe and religious faith. However, we Christians have failed even to do the very minimum. Like the Pharisees and the Levite we consider ourself so highly, and so righteous but could not do the very minimum. Our self righteousness so block us from showing God's grace, mercy, and compassion. In Singapore, Gays continue to die without medication, and Christians, even though Singaporeans as well, would walk past and claim that this gay Singaporean deserved it and so should die as a moral judgement. There is no support for the expensive HIV medication, not even one cent whilst they build 50 million dollars worth of church in Jurong, and a billion dollar church in One North.
Jesus gave us the example of the Samaritan despised by the Jews as unclean and unrighteuos according to the law, but showed much more love, mercy, grace and compassion than those under the law. City Harvest Church taught about the 10 commandments, but the law changes people very little in the inside. We may have outward obedience to the law, but inwardly we are hard and stiff neck people without compassion nor grace.
d) True Love involves sacrifices of Mercy
The Samaritan had every reason not to help the injured Jew. Not only was the Jew of a different race and religion, the Jews hated the Samaritan and despised them. Therefore, the Samaritan had no obligations based on race or religion or nationality to help the Jews, but had every reason not to help. If we were like many Christians, we would probably go past the injured Jew and kicked him, causing further injuries and claimed it was "karma".
When the Samaritan saw the injured Jew, he had compassion. Do you have compassion when you see statistics of gays having high rates of HIV, or do you instead write to the forum demanding that gays be locked up and be condemned as immoral people as we see in so many letters to the forum from the Methodists and Anglican leaders. Christians in Singapore have very little compassion nor mercy.
e) True Love involves sacrifices of Grace,
(Luke 10:34 NKJV) "So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
(Luke 10:35 NKJV) "On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.'
Before the Samaritan could help, he would have to decide to forgive. Mercy is not giving others what they deserved. The Samaritan could have so easly walked past and say of the injured Jew that he deserved it. God looks at our heart today. We may go past a gay church preaching queer theology, and declare, they are not preaching right, so they deserve to have few members. Our love, must be filled with God's heart of mercy which no law can ever dictate.
The Samaritan looked at the injured Jew and gave grace. Grace is defined by giving what is not deserved. Not only did the Samaritan did not give what the injured Jew deserved eg more injuries, he gave grace. He opened his Samaritan purse strings, and sacrifice his own time and money.
The Samaritan spent the time to bandage up the injured, and paid for the stay at the Inn. Not only that he gave far beyond what was necesarry, by even willing to repay for further expences incurred by the extended stay at the hotel.
The Samaritan showed God's grace, for Christ gave far far eyond what was required. He no only died for us that we may have eternal life, but by His death gave much more, for as He is, so are we. Therefore, we are not only saved, but heirs to the kingdom of God.
In Singapore, where the Churches are so keen in teaching the Law, just as the priests and the Levites, it didn't made them love their neighbour even though outwardly they may have followed to the letter of the law. The law doesn't change us, but understanding the depths of God's love, mercy, grace and compassion given to us through Christ Jesus that will change us inwardly that we might be able to love our neighbour.
Are we willing to be the Good Samaritan. Only when the despised and rejected churches in Singapore and Malaysia - the gay churches - only when they receive the greatest of blessings and an abundance of money from our samaritan purse to support their dire needs, would we reach the point of having the love ordained by God in our churches. When that day comes, surely there will be revivals and miracles, for truly we will have partaken the body and blood of Christ - bearing His pain, death and suffering, and continuing of His ministry here on earth as it is in heaven.
May God's Grace, Mercy, Love and Compassions fills our hearts in Christ Jesus to do His will and to extend His Kingdom.