Go and Do Likewise

He asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
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. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 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. The next day he took out two denarii 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.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:29-37

Regardless of which side you are on with immigration and the policies that have been enforced, the Bible is very clear what the Christian perspective is. As it was the Jewish responsibility to care for the poor, the fatherless, the widowed, the foreigner, it is our responsibility to care for each other as a neighbor. Anyone who calls themselves a Christian or wants to be Christ-like should go and do likewise, to show mercy to those around us, no matter who they are.

Leviticus 19:9-10, 25:35, 33-34 / Deuteronomy 10:18-19 / Ezekiel 16:49 / Exodus 22:21, 23:9 / Malachi 3:5 / I Kings 8:41-44 / Job 31:32 / Matthew 25:25-36 / I Corinthians 12:12-14 / Galatians 3:28, 5:14 /  Jeremiah 7:5-7 / Hebrews 13:2 / Philippians 3:20 / Acts 5:29 / Numbers 9:14 / Zechariah 7:10 / Romans 12:13 / Luke 13:29-30

‘Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’

Deuteronomy 27:19

Christ Era Tithing Part Four: The Master’s Trust

We first established through Jesus’ parables that the Law had been fulfilled and no longer applied following his time. Despite the objections of the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, Jesus was able to show them that they were the ones who did not truly understand, when they tried to trick him. As the Law was concluded and fulfilled, the Jews were looking for a new direction for their money management, and Jesus provided them the answer in parables.

One of the better known examples in which money has been given to servants while the master is away is the parable of Matthew 25:14-30. In this, the master gives three servants money when he leaves according to their abilities to manage it in the amounts of five, two, and one. The first two servants decide that they had seen their master invest his money and so they did the same. Because of this, they were able to increase their master’s money equal to its value. The third servant however says that the master reaps where he hasn’t sowed and therefore did nothing that would risk the money, instead handing back exactly what was given to him. The master tells this servant that even if  he was scared, he could have put it in a bank to get the interest safely. Jesus finishes this tale with “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” This parable is showing us firsthand that no matter what it is we’ve been given, we should putting it to use and increasing what He has given us.

In Matthew 24:36-51, Jesus tells them that no one will know when the Son of Man is going to return. He uses the flood as his example for the people eating, drinking, and marrying right up until the moment that the rain began to come down. Because of this, he jumps into a parable about a master who goes away for a time and the behavior of his servants he leaves in charge. In this, he says that he who continues to work and give his fellow servants food and allowances will be blessed when the Master returns and finds all in order. However, to the servant who abuses his time unsupervised by beating his fellows and eating and drinking with the drunkards will be caught unaware when the master returns and punished.

In Matthew 18:23-35, a king decides that he wants to settle debts with his kingdom. Jesus tells us of a  man owing the king ten thousand coins, calling to sell the man, his family, and all that he owns in order to pay it. The man begs and pleads for mercy and for more time, swearing that he would pay. The king takes pity on him, releasing him and forgiving his entire debt. The same servant then goes out and finds the man who owed him 100 silver coins, one one-hundredth of the debt he had been forgiven, seizing him by the throat demanding payment. His second man begged for mercy but the original servant cast him into prison until it could be paid. When the king found out, he asked him why he could not have mercy on his fellow man as the king had had with him, before throwing him into prison until the debt was paid. Jesus tells us that like this servant, we will be forgiven of our debts, but if we can not do the same for each other, then we will be punished for our unfairness.

In each of these instances, we are responsible for the money given to us but also for the way we treat each other, considering the treatment of our Master. The ways that we use what He has given us, whether to hold it over each other or to increase that which our Master has entrusted to us will weigh in on His final judgment. Jesus spoke more on the usage of money than the quantity or percentage given. Jesus taught us that the new law would be more focused on the usage of His resources than payments to keep us humble to Him.

Christ Era Tithing: Part Three It worked on Paper

The opposing side of Jesus’ presence is in seeing the misuse of the Temple that had been occurring for quite some time and his lashing out in anger that follows. Jesus is often portrayed as a gentle, patient, guiding teacher, but he takes on the roll of his angry Father on a few occasions as well. Firstly, in John 2:13-25, He comes into the Temple and sees the stalls and merchants using the space, not for worship or praise or ceremony, but for a marketplace for their wares, because so many people would pass through there, money in hand. He makes a whip of cords and overturns all the tables in his anger, chasing them from the Temple, yelling at them for misusing His Father’s house. In Matthew 21, speaking of similar events, he accuses them of turning the Temple into a den of thieves.

On several different occasions, the Pharisees and Herodians try to entrap Jesus in trick questions and wordplay so as to nullify his teachings by accusing him of blasphemy if he fails any of the questions. Because his teachings were of a more subjective nature, relying on the heart and dedication to devote to God, like the widow’s offering, the teachers of the law knew that they would lose quite a bit of their power over him. For example, in Matthew 21 as well, they ask Jesus by whose authority he is doing these things and teaching these lessons, but he instead asks by whose authority John has been baptizing Jews for their faith because they say they do not know, he says then neither will he tell them whose authority he uses. In Matthew 22, they recite to him that the law says a widow must be cared for by the deceased’s brother, and ask with which brother will she be married to in the afterlife. He tells them that they must not know the Scripture at all for there is no marriage in Heaven. They asked him then what the greatest commandment was of all time, and he responded famously that it was to love God and the second greatest was to love your neighbors, that all commands came from this.

While we all know the story of the widow’s offering, it was a known fact at the time that the widows were not being taken care of under the funds collected for tithing through the Temple. As we stated back in Part Two of the Mosaic Tithing lessons, the money and resources received by the Temple was to support the Levites, the fatherless, the foreigners, and the widows. If we see a poor widow giving her only two coins to live on to the very church that was supposed to be caring for her, we can assume that she was not being cared for the way that God had said. However, Jesus actually points out in the verse just before the story of the widow’s offering that the teachers of the law “devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers” (Mark 12:40). The teachings required tithing prior to Jesus’ arrival, but as we can see, the law was not being used according to God’s intentions.. The Jews had so repeatedly lost the purpose behind the laws, that Jesus had to reteach them entirely, and thereby changing the law forever.