‘But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was.’ Luke 10:33
Suggested Further Reading: John 11:11–44
I do not believe in the way in which some people pretend to preach the gospel. They have no gospel for sinners as sinners, but only for those who are above the dead level of sinnership, and are technically styled sensible sinners. Like the priest in this parable, they see the poor sinner, and they say, ‘He is not conscious of his need, we cannot invite him to Christ. He is dead; it is of no use preaching to dead souls;’ so they pass by on the other side, keeping close to the elect and quickened, but having nothing whatever to say to the dead, lest they make out Christ to be too gracious, and his mercy to be too free. The Levite was not in quite such a hurry as the priest. The priest had to preach, and might be late for the service, and therefore he could not stop to relieve the man; besides he might have soiled his cassock, or made himself unclean; and then he would have been hardly fit for the dainty and respectable congregation over which he officiated. As for the Levite, he had to read the hymns; he was a clerk in the church, and he was somewhat in a hurry, but still he could get in after the opening prayer, so he indulged himself with the luxury of looking on. Just as I have known ministers say, ‘Well, you know we ought to describe the sinner’s state, and warn him, but we must not invite him to Christ.’ Yes, gentlemen, you must pass by on the other side, after having looked at him, for on your own confession you have no good news for the poor wretch. I bless my Lord and Master that he has given to me a gospel which I can take to dead sinners, a gospel which is available for the vilest of the vile. I thank my Master that he does not say to the sinner, ‘Come half way and meet me,’ but he comes ‘where he is.’
For meditation: Jesus went and raised the dead physically where they were (Mark 5:40–42) without them having to make themselves half-alive first. He works on exactly the same principle when he raises sinners from the dead spiritually (Ephesians 2:1,5). Is he raising you to trust in him now (Ephesians 2:8)?
Sermon no. 473
5 October (1862)