Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Commands of Jesus: Go And Do Likewise

There has been a lot of discussion in the news and on the Internet about whether or not we should allow Syrian refugees into our country. Our president would like to allow thousands of Syrians into our country . . . this year. On the conservative side of things, many feel there should be some screening and background checks before anyone comes walking into our land.

This later thought has gained some traction in recent days when it was discovered that one of the attackers in Paris was himself one of the Syrian refugees. That raises the question, how do we know if someone is an extremist before we let them in? Logical question, but impossible to answer.

Did you know that Jesus was a refugee? He was. There was tremendous violence in his home country. Herod was seeking to kill Jesus so Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Egypt. I wonder . . . What was THEIR policy on immigration?

"Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him." So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON." - Matthew 2:13-15

If we search a bit more in the Bible we can find EXACTLY what we should be doing as a country for these people who are fleeing their home country with only what they can carry. The story of The Good Samaritan.

"25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”

27 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.’”

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.  33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.  34 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.  35 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.’  36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, Go and do likewise.” - Luke 10:25-37

What is interesting is that modern day Samaria is Palestine, more specifically the West Bank. The Good Samaritan, in modern terms, could very well be a Muslim. The victim on the side of the road in the story was from Jerusalem, most likely a Jew. Their nationalities and the role they each played in Jesus' story is amazing enough but the lengths to which the Samaritan went to help someone is the main story.

Based on this parable of Jesus, what should we as a nation do for these people fleeing for their lives?
  1. We should have compassion on them (v 33).
  2. We should go to them now, not take the time to bring them to our own land (v 34).
  3. We should take care of them, bandage their wounds, emotionally as well as physically (v 34).
  4. We should transport them in our vehicles, planes, etc. (v 34).
  5. We should feed them, giving them what is needed, both physically and spiritually (v 34).
  6. We should take them to a place of safety. Where is the nearest "inn?" (v 34).
  7. We (the nations of the world) should pay for their expenses, whatever the cost (v 35).
Do I believe we should bring these refugees into our own country? No. Why not? Which of you, if faced with a similar situation in this country and taken to some foreign land, would not want to return home one day? Syria is their home. We, as people of the world, should take care of our neighbors . . . right where they are. But it is unsafe in Syria! Then we are to take them to a nearby safe place and care for them there. This is the command of Jesus, our King. The question for us is . . why aren't we obeying?

Refugee - Tom Petty

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