Living A Hard Love

Living A Hard Love                                                                 Mark 12:30-34                                                                            June 7, 2020

Intro.  This was posted on Facebook by Pastor Allen Calkins from, of The Baptist Faith and Message.  The Baptist Faith and Message is what Southern Baptists agree to believe. I would encourage you to read it sometime to affirm in yourself why you are a Southern Baptist.

He posted Article 15 “The Christian and Social Order”…Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.


This is where we connect with Luke 10:25-37 which is the text for today.

25 And a Lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” 29 But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and [beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ 36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”

Don’t Limit God’s Command

If you have ever taught an older children’s or youth Bible study, you have had a student ask you an impossible question to answer about God.  You may have even tried to answer the question. Many times that question was to throw you off or send you on wild goose chase.  Adults do a similar thing when asking a question that impossible to answer, their motive is to prove that you don’t know much. That is what this lawyer was trying to do.

In the movie Princess Bride, Wesley is having a debate with a character, who is an arrogant Sicilian

“Fool!” cried Vizzini “You fell victim to one of the classic blunders. The most famous is ‘Never get involved in a land war in Asia,’ but only slightly less well known is this: ‘Never go in against a Sicilian in a mind game when death is on the line.”

Well this young ruler fell to the classic blunder – don’t challenge an author of a book in a debate about His book.  Jesus gave the law and He knows what He said, and why He said it and He knows the kind of response that it demands.

The question was, “How do I attain eternal life?  Jesus made him answer his question.  I don’t think he expected Jesus response of  “Do this and live.”  He wasn’t wanting an answer, he wanted Jesus to look bad before his buddies.

Now the lawyer is on the defensive and to show that he is not going to be outdone by Jesus, yet,  “Well then, who is my neighbor?  I ask because, I already do anything for this group of Pharisees that I hang with.

I know who my neighbor is, Jesus. I know exactly what is required of me and I am doing that.  I defy you to   contradict the law.

If we know exactly what is expected of us we can do exactly that.  We can make it a ritual and not have to really help anyone in need or anyone different than us, or anyone we don’t like because they are not our neighbor. Protesters are not my neighbor.  People who live in a different community are not my neighbors,  People of different race or religion are not my neighbors.  Criminals are not my neighbors.  Police aren’t my neighbors.

When we have a hard, narrowly defined understanding of neighbor then we get to decide who our neighbor is.  Jesus is about to expands this lawyer’s definition of neighbor.  Let’s let Him expand our definition of and then our arms toward our neighbors.

Don’t Scrutinize Your Neighbor

The lawyer (probably a scribe, who dealt with the details of the law) and his buddies where all standing around Jesus and maybe had their arms around each other.  They may have had their arms linked around the man next to them.  They may have been swaying back and forth to show how in sync they were.  It takes unity to move as neighbors. So you go ahead and tell us what the law says because it is on our side.

Jesus begins His answer with a little story about a man who was attack by thieves.  William Barclay, translates the word as Brigands.  Matthew Henry says “They may have been Arabians plunderers, that lived by spoil, or some opportunistic wretches of his own nation, or some of the Roman soldiers, who, did this villainy, it does not say; but they were very barbarous;

This event could have happened that very week so that it was fresh on their minds.  This kind of thing seemed to have been common on that road and in that day.

As Jesus tells the story the people listening to the story start scrutinizing the victim.  Jesus’ disciples as well as the Pharisees.  Only a fool would travel that road at night.  Only a fool would travel that road alone.  He must have deserved what happened to him.  All of this may have been true and none of it may have been true.

But what is true that people listening to Jesus already made up their minds about the man.   The  Pharisees knew that this guy didn’t have the sense God gave a goose. (That is the second reference to geese in this sermon.  Be forewarned.)  This guy got what He deserved.  Therefore these kinds of persons are not our neighbors

Who would like to take this argument on the pro side and who would like to take the argument on the con side.  Once you take a side you have to defend it.  That basically means that you have to win and the other side has to lose.  You may be able to be polite and even politically correct about it but the other side is wrong and they are going down.  Now all is fair in love and war but now there is no more love.  That is what happens when we prejudge people. It makes it hard for us to value people as God values them.

Now that you know the character of the victim we are comfortable with the outcome and don’t really need to hear the rest.  Jesus wasn’t done with the story yet.

Don’t Let Religious or Personal Values Hinder Helping

Now here is where the story gets interesting as Jesus plays the game “One of these things is not like the other”.

Jesus points out three people who come upon this traveler. All of them are by themselves. I bet they were prejudging the characters as Jesus mentions them.

The first character is a priest who did nothing except avoid the wounded man by going to the other side of the road.

The second character is a Levite. He did the same thing as the priest.

The third character was a Samaritan. He was on a journey but stopped to help.

Well of course the first two people couldn’t help. Why did they think that?  The first two people were very much like the people Jesus was speaking with. They had important religious things to do and could not take the chance on being defiled by this man’s blood or God forbid to become defiled by touching a dead man.  If they became defiled they couldn’t do their jobs at the temple.  They had standards to uphold.  Beside he was not their responsibility He wasn’t their neighbor. The priest and the Levite were neighbors though. And they didn’t need to help this guy.

You just can’t stop and help people you may put yourself in harms way.  This story is about a man who was robbed and beaten.  I could have been about a person who needed food.  Or had a contagious health issue.    While we are a little concerned we just need to protect ourselves.  Yes we do need to be careful but we need to help also.  So just keep on walking.

Just as they were beginning to yawn at Jesus story He turns their prejudicing minds upside down. A Samaritan stops to help. Cleans him up and finds him lodging. Then pays for his care. Finally, he says, he will come back after his journey and pay for any additional expenses for his care.

Not only does he care but he goes above and beyond what the law requires.   What Jesus tells us to do is a hard love.  In Luke 6 Jesus tells us to turn the other cheek when someone hits you on the cheek, if someone ask for your coat, give them your shirt too, If you are forced to walk a mile do two.  The law says to love your neighbor and hate your enemy.

The Jews hated the Samaritans and they were their enemy.  They were the scum of the earth, especially to the religious elite. So they didn’t need to lift their hands to help.  They were completely justified in doing so. What is going on right now across the nation and around the world is important.  It matters.  While we think we are insulated and innocent we are not.  The people who are protesting are our neighbors.  Black communities are our neighbors.  Their problems are our problems.  Our attitudes and judgement we make shows that we don’t see them as our neighbors.

Why does it matter who helps as long as they help?  Jesus didn’t need them to just be helpful He needed them to understand how their view of people hindered them from loving mercy and providing justice and to do it while walking humbly with the Lord.

Now Jesus asks, Who of these three was most loving toward his neighbor?  They were forced to admit that they previously held a narrow view of who their neighbor was and who they should care for.

How far away someone lives.  What their lifestyle is.  What they have done. Doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t change the fact that they are our neighbor and we need to care deeply about them.

Clearly Understand God’s Command

Have you seen this?  I have mentioned it earlier.

I don’t care if you’re black, White, straight, bisexual, gay, lesbian, short, tall, fat, skinny, rich, or poor. If you are nice to me, I’ll be nice to you.

Simple as that.

Jesus said, also in Luke 6 that, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you, or If you do good to those who do good to you, what good is that any sinner can do that.”

Back to Luke 10.  After Jesus shares this great story He asks a simple question of these three who really acted like a neighbor?

Their collective gooses were cooked (there it is the, the third reference to geese). They had to answer, The one who showed mercy.  Yes, that is the right answer.  Jesus simple said, You! Go and do the same.

He didn’t ask them if they meant the Samaritan.  They had growth coming yet, because they couldn’t even say the name.  He didn’t even do a, “mic drop”.  Here is the message what are you going to do with it.

The protests will continue for some time – the question for you is what are you going to do with it?   Continue to find loopholes in scripture?  Continue to scrutinize people who are protesting or scrutinize black who are being beaten or killed?

I don’t think this will help but I think if we make Luke 10:27

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”

Let this be our prayer verse until God changes us.  Let us pray and ask God to make us good neighbors not only so we will relate better to our black neighbors but also to any other group that we have previously scrutinized wrongly.

We cannot love our neighbors as we love and care for ourselves if we don’t practice loving God with our whole heart, mind soul and strength.  It is not in us, for we are more comfortable loving those who love us.


Challenge: This is a hard love and Jesus doesn’t ’ say, that’s okay take the easy way.

People like to break these two verses apart and justify behavior because they do one of these.  Loving Jesus puts us up against others.  Others that He loves.  We don’t get to choose who we are to love.  But outside of Christ we do choose we choose the wrong one.


It is a Hard Love that we are called to live out.  Will you choose to see people differently?  Will you choose to take God at His Word and do what it says?  Can you not judge or scrutinize others as a way to avoid caring or helping?  Will you commit to loving God with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength and then make everyone you meet your neighbor?  Do good for them.  Pray for them.  Want the best for them.  Then one day they will move from being a neighbor to a blood bought Child of the King who then becomes your blood brother or sister.


It is a Hard Love and believers are the only ones who can do like Jesus does.  The world needs a people who know how to live the Hard Love of following Jesus.


Hard Love                                                                             by: Need to Breathe

Trading punches with the heart of darkness
Going to blows with your fear incarnate
Never gone until it’s stripped away
A part of you has gotta die to change

[Verse 2]
In the morning you gon’ need an answer
Ain’t nobody gonna change the standard
It’s not enough to just feel the flame
You’ve gotta burn your old self away

Hold on tight a little longer
What don’t kill ya, makes ya stronger
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love
You can’t change without a fallout
It’s gon’ hurt, but don’t you slow down
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love

[Verse 3]
You know the situation can’t be right
And all you ever do is fight
But there’s a reason that the road is long
It take some time to make your courage strong

Hold on tight a little longer
What don’t kill ya, makes ya stronger
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love
You can’t change without a fallout
It’s gon’ hurt, but don’t you slow down
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love

When the wolves come and hunt me down
I will face them off and stand my ground
‘Cause there’s a fire burnin’ in me
They will see my strength in this love I found

Hold on tight a little longer
What don’t kill ya, makes ya stronger
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love
You can’t change without a fallout
It’s gon’ hurt, but don’t you slow down
Get back up, ’cause it’s a hard love