Matt Hagee - The Wounded, The Wicked, and The Worthy
When it comes to the parables of Jesus, these are not fictitious stories that are to be considered in light with other fables. When it comes to the parables of Jesus, you have to recognize that they are a Revelation that has power in your life if you hear it and do it. Jesus, in Luke 10, meets a man who asks a question. But he doesn't want an answer: he wants an argument. Now I'm not talking about you. But there are probably people you know that oftentimes, when they ask a question, they don't want an answer: they want an argument. My son, Joel, is notorious for this. He will walk into the kitchen, and no one is in the kitchen. And he will look at a kitchen where nothing is happening. And he'll say, "What are we cooking"? He doesn't want an answer.
The answer's obvious, nothing! But he's found a creative way to enter into a discussion that will lead to an argument about why aren't we cooking something. And in Luke 10:25, this is what Jesus finds when it says, "A certain lawyer stood up and tested him". When we read this, we read it with the privilege of the knowledge that Jesus Christ is not just some rabbi. He's the word made flesh. So it's easy for us to look at this lawyer and say, "What's the matter with you, man? You're mortal. He's immortal. You're mildly educated. He knows everything. And you think you can test him"? We look at this with the eyes of offense, but are we any different today? How often do we ask a question of the Word of God, and the truth is we don't want an answer: we would rather engage in an argument?
We ask a question pretending as if we're ignorant, not because we want information to change our behavior. But we ask the question so that we can find the loophole that gives us the opportunity to be the exception to the rule. People say, "Well, I don't know what you're talking about". Okay. Have you ever had this conversation: "What does the Bible say about giving? I really don't understand it. It's just so complicated". Well, here. Here's what it says. Are you ready? "Give". "But I mean, how do you give, and when do you give, and where do you give, and what do you give"? Well, let's just go back to this word.
See, you're already learned the lesson. Oftentimes, we ask the question because we want to be the exception. We don't want to adjust our behavior to do what the Word of God tells us to do. We ask questions about relationships. What does the Bible say about husbands and wives? It's very easy. "Husbands, love your wives". "Wives, submit to your husbands". "Oh, well, I just can't do that". Well, that's the answer. What does it say about parents and children? It's very easy. "Children, obey your parents". Parents, "Train up your children in the way they should go". It doesn't say, "Parents, make sure they have faster wi-fi so they can download the app". It says, "Train them in the way they should go".
Don't get them connected to the cloud. Get them connected to Christ. This certain lawyer stands up and he asks a question, and it sounds very spiritual. "What must I do to inherit eternal life"? And Jesus gives him a very straight answer. "You're a lawyer. You tell me". And so he tells him, "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, with all of your mind, with all of your strength". And then he just throws this little cherry on the top, because this is what pharisees did. They took the Word of God and they added to it. "And love your neighbor as yourself". That's my part. And Jesus says, "Go do this and you'll live". But the Bible tells us something that we need to remember, and that's this: typically, one argument leads to another.
As long as you're arguing with the word, you're going to go from one argument to another, to another, to another, to another. And these are the kinds of people that go from one church to another, to another, to another. And they go from one book to another, to another, to another: and one seminar to another, to another, to another. Why? Not because they want sanctification: they want justification. Because the Bible says, "Seeking to be justified, he says to Jesus, 'well, who is my neighbor?'" it's not my fault that I don't love my neighbor as myself. The Bible is just too vague. It doesn't describe my neighbor. It doesn't give me his mailing address. It doesn't tell me what he looks like. It doesn't tell me how to love him. It just says, "Love your neighbor".
And so Jesus begins to use this moment to share a parable that tells a story. And the story that he tells includes all of us, and helps us not only understand who we are and what with we need, but it tells us the neighborhood that we live in. Jesus tells the story of the wounded, the wicked and the worthy. But as he tells the story, remember the question he's answering is about the neighborhood, not brotherhood. And this is an important thing to distinguish, because sometimes in the body of Christ, we get confused between the neighborhood and brotherhood. Brotherhood has to do with common blood. I am one of five siblings. We are a brotherhood. Why? Because we share common blood from the father.
Everyone who calls Jesus Christ "Lord" and has repented of their sins and received the sanctification and cleansing of his blood is a brother in Christ. Why? Because they have received common blood from the father. Now when you read things in the Bible concerning the household of faith, that's brotherhood. This is how you treat a fellow Christian when you have certain circumstances and certain situations. The Bible doesn't say, "Treat everybody like a Christian". It says this is how you treat the brotherhood. But this conversation is not about the brotherhood. This conversation is about the neighborhood. And some people want to convince Christians that we have a responsibility to treat everybody like a brother in Christ. Not true! Those are reserved for the brotherhood. But because God is the maker of us all, he has put us all on earth, which is the neighborhood.
We have a right and responsibility to treat others like created beings from God Almighty, because he is the Creator of us all. So Jesus tells a story that starts to describe humanity. And the first thing that he describes in humanity is the wounded. He says, "There's a certain man and he's headed from Jerusalem to Jericho". Now the first principle that we find in this parable is that when you are walking away from God's presence, you're going the wrong direction. Because the Bible simply says, "There was a man who went down". Say that with me. "There was a man who went down". "From Jerusalem to Jericho".
Understand this: geographically, Jerusalem sits 2300 feet above sea level. Jericho sits 1300 feet below sea level. And they are only about 17 miles apart. When you leave Jerusalem and go to Jericho, in about 17 miles, you go down 3600 feet. You start above the ocean. You end beneath the ocean. But when Jesus is telling the story of a man going from Jerusalem to Jericho, he's not just telling a story about actual geography. He's telling a story that spiritually connects. Why? Because Jerusalem is the pinnacle of God's presence. So when he's describing someone in Jerusalem, everyone listening to the story goes, "Oh, Jerusalem". And it says he's headed down to Jericho. And they go, "Ugh, Jericho". You know it's like having a conversation with a friend on Monday at work. "Where did you spend the weekend"? "Oh, I was in Paris". "Wow, Paris". Even if you've never been, you act like you've been. "Well, where are you now"? "On my way to poteet".
When Jesus tells the story, he's telling about a man who is leaving the place he should be and headed to a place he doesn't need to be. And while he's on his way, he falls among thieves. How common is this tale? Walking away from the presence of God is a dangerous step every inch that you go. And because of it, he finds himself as the wounded. Because the Bible says, he fell among thieves and he was beaten and left for dead. How similar to this life is the first person we meet, a wounded individual? Because in some way, all of us have been wounded. Spiritually, all of us have been wounded by the nature of sin. Emotionally, all of us have been wounded by the words or the actions or the deeds of another.
Some of us have endured physical wounds. Some of us have endured emotional wounds. Some of us have endured financial wounds. But the reality of it is, is every one of us in some way is broken. And every one of us in some way is in need of someone to help us. Because Jesus said that these thieves beat him and left him half dead. When you're half dead, you can't make it on your own. You need somebody to come and intercede on your behalf and help you live. You and i, based upon what the enemy did in our lives: the thief who came to rob, who came to steal and came to destroy, he beat us emotionally. Spiritually, he bound us. Physically, he has tormented us. And he has left us half dead. Physically, we may breathe. But without Jesus, spiritually, we're gone. On the outside, we may be smiling. But on the inside, our heart is breaking.
We need the help of an outsider to come and restore us and help us to live the life that God has promised, which is a life more abundantly. I've got good news for you today. The good Samaritan of our soul, Jesus Christ, is walking the aisles of this assembly. He's in every nation that's watching online. He's in every living room of every viewer, no matter where you are. And what he's looking for are people he can mend, are hearts that he can fix, are lives that he can change. He promised that he would set you free.
Spiritually, he'll set you free from the burden and the pain of your yesterday. He'll set you free from the chains and the guilt and the shame that you wear. He'll set you free from the yoke of bondage, as he lifts it off of your shoulders and destroys it so that it cannot control you anymore. He'll set you free, because he is El Shaddai, the all-sufficient God, able to take not enough and make it more than enough, able to open the windows of heaven and bless you beyond what you can contain, able to conquer every sickness and disease. Cancer is not a problem for my God. Nothing is impossible with my God. He'll set you free, because he's conquered death, hell and the grave. You'll live again. You'll love again. You'll laugh again. You'll have hope again, because Christ is on his way!
If you're wounded, I've got good news. Help is on the way. But the next group of people that Christ begins to describe in this parable are not wounded, they're wicked. He says, there's a certain man who's leaving Jerusalem on his way to Jericho. He falls among thieves and he's wounded. Now it's easy for us to identify the wickedness of the thieves. I mean, these individuals were premeditated and violent. This ruthless gang victimizes this innocent individual. And it's often easy for us to look at that kind of wickedness and say, "Well, that's not me". But that doesn't mean you're not wicked. You see, there are people who assault others with physical violence. But then there are others who are wicked with verbal violence. The emotional wounds that they inflict with their toxic tongue are just as violent as the actions of these thieves who beat this man and left him for dead.
The vicious words that they speak against others are an assault and battery of the heart, soul and the mind. They're predators just the same. Others are predatory in their business dealings. They look for ways to take advantage of other individuals for their own personal gain. This kind of selfishness and greed is running rampant in the world today. And here's what you need to know. It may be allowed by law and it may be a business practice, but when God balances the books, he promises that you will stand in judgment for wicked business dealings.
Here's what the Proverbs says in Proverbs 17:13, "If a man pays back evil for good, evil will never leave his house". How long is the sentence? It will never leave your house. God's hand is upon those who act wickedly in business dealings. It's called "Grinding the face of the poor". The first kind of wicked people we meet are predatory. These are the physically violent, the emotionally violent and those who take advantage of others with predetermined methods. But then Jesus continues the story. He says this man is left half dead. But here comes the priest. And this lawyer and his pharisee friends go, "Oh, praise the Lord: a priest has arrived". And the Bible says that the priest, seeing what was done to the man, passes by on the other side. He looks ahead and he says, "Oh, someone fell among thieves".
Pastor, is that you? No, no, no, not me! My office hours are 9:00 and 10:00. And immediately, when the crowd hears the story, they go, "Well, he's a priest. If the man's dead, he's got seven days of ritual cleansing. If he's on his way to Jerusalem and he's supposed to serve in the temple, then he can't be put out of his needs and service. It'll affect more people. It's just not practical for him to take the time to stop by and do what needs to be done to help this poor soul". And Jesus continues. He says, here's another guy who's coming by. It's not a priest. It's a Levite.
Now the Levite is an individual who works in the temple. He's an usher. Oh, the pastor didn't help. Here comes an usher. And the good news is, is the usher didn't do what the priest did where he takes a walk to the other side of the road. He actually walks up and looks at the guy. Hey, you alright? Man, that one there is going to leave a mark. You probably want to get that looked at. Well, God bless you. I'm praying for you. And he passes by. And here is where we see one of the greatest forms of wickedness that we don't always identify, but we should be aware of. It's called "Passively wicked," when you see someone with a need that you could do something about, but you just pass on by. "Well, pastor, you don't understand. I'm just too busy". That's an excuse. And excuses are useless, especially if you're the one in the ditch.
"Well, I'm thinking good thoughts for them". Well, go ahead and wrap that good thought up in a box and send it to them in a care package. People see problems and pretend that the problem isn't there. No, the problem is there and it's going to have to be dealt with. They see needs and they're willing to let them go unmet. And then they make excuses. "Well, you don't understand what was going on. You don't understand the excuse that I make for not reaching out to others. You don't understand how and why we got to where we are". And most of the time it comes down to, "I tried. I just can't". The truth is, it's not that you can't: it's that you won't. And this is why it's wicked. Because the Bible says, "To him who knows to do right and does it not, to him it is a sin".
Jesus introduces a third person in this context. He says the priest didn't help him, the Levite didn't help him, and now here comes a Samaritan. Now notice that the story of the good Samaritan, he doesn't carry that title because Jesus called him good. He Carries that title because we describe him as good, based upon what he did. The things that he did in his behavior is where we applied the character of good to him. Jesus never calls him good. He just says, "A Samaritan". And when he says, "A Samaritan," trust me, everybody in the circle of people that Jesus was talking to went, "Oh, no, a Samaritan? Oh".
I mean, the priest, he's busy. The Levite could have done something. But this Samaritan, I've heard they're cannibals. They'll probably clean out his wallet. I mean, if he's got gold teeth, they'll pull those. And then they're going to roll him down the hill. Not a Samaritan. And everybody's bowels wrenched. If this man's half dead, he'd rather die than be touched by that guy. And Jesus goes on to tell us that when he came to the place, he got down off of his animal. He took time to assess the situation. He didn't consider the risks. He didn't think for a moment that maybe the thieves that beat this man were using his body as bait. And when he saw what needed to be done, he bandaged the man's wounds. He poured oil, which heals the wounds. And he poured wine, which cleanses the wound.
And then, not only did he bandage and do what needed to be done to administer care to the man in his situation, he didn't leave him there. He picked him up. And when he picked him up, he didn't just say, "Hey, I recommend you head that way". No. He picked him up and he totally disrupted his own plans, and he puts this man on his own animal, and he leads the man where the man needs to go so that he can be healed and restored. And then when he gets to the place where this man can be healed and restored, he didn't say, "Hey, I found this guy out on the street. He doesn't have a wallet, but good luck collecting on the check". He walks into the place of healing and restoration and he says, "Here is enough to take care of him while I'm gone away".
I'm going to be gone for two days. But when I get back, if he's racked up a bill, if he ate the breakfast, if he got some room service, if he got him an Evian bottle of water out of your fridge for 476 bucks, whatever he charged, when I get back, I'll pay it. And then Jesus asks this lawyer, who wants to argue, "So which one loves his neighbor as his self"? You and I have a good Samaritan. He's an outsider who came from a long way away named Jesus Christ. And when he saw how sin and the devil and the enemy of our soul came to rob, and to kill, and to destroy, and leave us half dead, he didn't pass by and ignore us. He took the time to find out what he could do to heal us.
And he bound up our wounds, and he put the anointing of his holy presence, which heals the wound. And he brought his cleansing blood, which is the type and shadow of the wine, and he washed away the stains of sin and yesterday in our past. And then when he washed all of that away, he didn't leave us with a lot of good advice. He picked us up where we were and he took us in a direction that would help us continue to heal and be made whole. And when we got to a place of healing and restoration, he didn't say, "Good luck. You're on your own". He said, "I'm going to go away. And I'll be gone for two days. But when I get back, whatever you owe, I'll pay. Your charges are on my account, because I'm going to take care of every need that you have".
Child of God, a day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years is as a day. Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ, my good Samaritan, went to a place called Calvary. And there, he faced my accuser. And there, he took my charges. And there, he shed his blood so that I could be cleansed, and I could be healed, and I could be made whole. And then when he picked me up in my brokenness, he has led me every step of the way by the lamp that is a light unto my feet and a light unto my path. And he has made a way where there seemed to be no way. And he promised, I'm going away, but when I come back, when I come back, when I come back. Child of God, lift up your heads and rejoice. The king of glory is on his way!