Job was a righteous man
- He was blameless and upright;
- He feared God
- He shunned evil
- He was the greatest man among all the people of the East
In his righteousness, Job makes some statements that are an example for us:
13 “If I have denied justice to any of my servants, whether male or female, when they had a grievance against me,
14 what will I do when God confronts me? What will I answer when called to account?
16 “If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary,
17 if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with the fatherless—
19 if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing, or the needy without garments,
20 and their hearts did not bless me for warming them with the fleece from my sheep,
21 if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, knowing that I had influence in court,
22 then let my arm fall from the shoulder, let it be broken off at the joint.
23 For I dreaded destruction from God, and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things.28 then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.
When we think about sin or being unfaithful to God
- What are some of the most common things we think about?
Job the righteous man says that sin and unfaithfulness to God is:
- Denying justice to his servants
- Ignoring the desires of the poor or the widows
- Not sharing his food/resources with the orphans
- Not providing for those who lack clothing, warmth shelter
- Not standing up for the rights of the orphans
Most often when we talk about grace, we focus on salvation
- We think about the forgiveness of sin
- We preach about being saved by grace
- We teach about the mercy and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ
- We don’t often think about justice when we talk about grace
The Bible teaches that
- The grace of Jesus Christ brings forgiveness & righteousness
The Bible also teaches that
- The grace of Jesus Christ brings justice and righteousness
Justice is not just punishment for doing wrong
- In grace Jesus carried the punishment for our wrong doing
Justice also means
- Doing what is right/righteous
- Treating people equitably
- Giving people their rights
- Giving people what they are due
When the Spirit of God brings understanding of what Christ has done for us
- The result should be a life that is poured out in deeds that demonstrate justice and compassion for the vulnerable – the poor, the widows, the orphans
We who are partakers of the grace of Jesus Christ should be provoked to be channels of his justice in the world.
8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
People will tell us that the OT was about justice, the NT is about grace in Christ
- Listen to how Jesus announced his ministry in Luke 14
17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.
This is a reference to Isaiah’s prophecy in Isaiah 42.
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets.
3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;
4 he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”
5 This is what God the Lord says— the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it:
6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles,
7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
In scripture, God highlights 4 categories of people to whom justice is due
- The poor (refugees, migrant workers, homeless, single parents, elderly)
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free, 8 the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’
God identifies with the powerless and the vulnerable,
- He takes up their cause.
- By the grace of Jesus Christ, so should we take up their cause
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
In this parable, an expert in Biblical law asks a question to trap Jesus/put him to the test
- He was aware that Jesus kept company with unreligious people that did not obey the law like Pharisees did
- He was thinking that maybe Jesus did not really have respect the Law
- He expected an answer like “Just believe in me”
Jesus was aware of trap, and responded with a question
- What does the law say?
- The only answer was to spend a whole week reciting the entire law or to give a summary
- vv27 considered to be a summary of entire moral code of scripture
Loving your neighbor is one of the main themes of scripture
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b]
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you are doing right.
Jesus response was
- Just obey these two fully and you will live
- Jesus was saying that he takes the law even more seriously than the man who asked
- It was actually a reverse trap
- The man realized its impossible and that he was powerless to do this
- To really love God with every fiber of his being every minute of the day
- To really serve and honor your neighbor with energy and joy
The man sidestepped the challenge
- He agreed that he needed to love his neighbor but ……
- Who is his neighbor?
- What did that really mean and who did that really mean?
- His unspoken question was, “Does that mean everyone?”
- He wanted it narrowed down to where he felt that he could do it
Jesus told the story of a Jewish man, who was robbed, beaten and left half dead
- A priest and a Levite passed by
- The man was their brother by faith and they should have stopped
- Maybe they were afraid of danger
- Maybe they were just too self righteous and religious
A Samaritan man came by and took action
- The Samaritans and Jews were enemies
- The Jews thought Samaritans were half breeds and heretics
- In spite of this and in spite of possible danger the Samaritan man stopped
In telling this story Jesus actually addressed two issues
- What is love?
- Who do we love?
A definition of WHAT love is
- It is caring for material, physical and economic needs through actions
- It means being sacrificially involved with the vulnerable
- It involves risk and sacrifice
- It means being willing to share in their suffering even it means suffering ourselves
A definition of WHO we love
- The example of a Samaritan helping a Jew means that we love all and anyone in need
- Our neighbor is anyone in need, regardless of race, politics, class or religion
- Not everyone is our brother but everyone is our neighbor
When it comes to grace and justice In particular, the WHO are
- The poor (refugees, migrant workers, homeless, single parents, elderly)
Notice that Jesus did not tell the story this way ….
- A Samaritan man got beat up and a Jewish man came by
He was talking to Jewish men and so he portrayed the victim as a Jew
- He wanted the listeners to imagine themselves as that Jewish man
- He wanted them to understand what it feels like when your only hope was someone who had every right to reject you
There is nobody in your community who is undeserving of your love
There are people in your who are being robbed, wounded and left half dead, by the circumstances of life and the daily hardship they face.
They need you to be
The leader who is the channel of Justice to them
The leader who is the instrument of Grace to them.