Today's Reading: 2 Chronicles 28:8-15
Then the men who were designated by name rose up and took the captives, and from the spoil they clothed all who were naked among them, dressed them and gave them sandals, gave them food and drink, and anointed them; and they let all the feeble ones ride on donkeys. So they brought them to their brethren at Jericho, the city of palm trees. Then they returned to Samaria. (2 Chronicles 28:15)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Good Samaritan that Jesus spoke of was not the first Good Samaritan. After a strange story in the Old Testament in which some of the Northern Tribes took captive some of the Southern Kingdom's people, they were rebuked by a prophet and then left the captives in the middle of nowhere! It was some men of Samaria who came and helped them by giving them food and water and getting them back home. It's similar to the story that Jesus tells!
Again, these men, serving their neighbor, provide a picture of Jesus, who clothes the nakedness of our sinfulness with His own righteousness, who feeds us with His own body and blood, who anoints us with the waters of Holy Baptism and the Spirit and who brings us to our brothers and sisters in the church.
Again, we have an example of how it is we can love our neighbor. What do the people around us need and how can we help them? Just remember: Loving and serving others is not unique to being a Christian. You don't have to be a Christian to help someone in need. The difference is this: The works of those who are in Christ are good works in God's sight. For those who are outside and apart from Christ, their good works, while good in the eyes of the world, are filthy rags in the Lord's sight (Isaiah 64:5).
By His death on the cross, by the shedding of His blood, by His rising and ascending, by His baptizing and absolving and giving us His body and blood, Jesus makes us Good Samaritans before the Father. Not that we always do the good that we should. Rather, because we are in Christ, no evil we do is counted against us and every work we do is counted as blessed and holy in Jesus. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Grant me the strength to do With ready heart and willing Whatever You command, My calling here fulfilling; That I do what I should While trusting You to bless The outcome for my good, For You must give success. (LSB 696:2)