Jesus was the greatest apologist who ever lived. If there ever was an archetypal model of how we should do apologetics, I believe it was The Christ.
I love Jesus’ questions! I especially love the ones where he politely checkmates his opponents. I’ve never thought of the Parable of the Good Samaritan as an apologetics text, but I believe it’s well suited to be one. After Jesus was challenged on how one obtains eternal life, and who qualifies as a “neighbor” by “an expert in the law” (Luke 10:25), Jesus tells a parable. We know this parable as that of “The Good Samaritan.” Jesus told this parable in the context of the hope for eternal life.
Let’s take a look:
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.’
I think there are 9 Attitudes we can adopt from this passage that reflect Advent and Apologetics;
1. But a Samaritan, “as he traveled,” – Went about his life routine, disposed to help others.
On this, Dallas Willard said, “We should not only want to be merciful, kind, unassuming, and patient persons but also be making plans to become so. We are to find out, that is, what prevents and what promotes mercifulness and kindness and patience in our souls, and we are to remove hindrances to them as much as possible, carefully substituting that which assists Christ-likeness” – The Great Omission, p. 29.
2. When he “Came where the man was” – Assessing his context, evaluating the situation, and conscious of his environment.
3. Saw him – He sees people and not just the problem.
4. Took pity on him – not with disdain, not disingenuous pity, and not unrighteous judgement, but real empathy.
5. He went to him and bandaged his wounds – brought healing, restoration, and human touch.
6. Pouring on oil and wine – Spirit motivated love and shared joy comes at a cost.
7. Then he put the man on his own donkey – Gave up his comfort and stature and became lower than the man.
8. Brought him to an inn and took care of him – expended time as if it were not his own (availability)
9. 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.’ – committed to the future care and development of the man. (Hospitality) It was not a hit and run “act of passion.”
The above 9 components of Jesus’ apologetic by parable may be applicable in many situations where we are inclined to defend our faith instead of giving a reason for the hope within us. An Advent Apologetic is one that’s courageous, compelling, caring, helpful, hopeful, unselfish, generous, sacrificing, available, hospitable, and neighborly. What do you think?
For the past 10 years, we been adventing during the holiday season by providing tons of food to the families in need during the holiday season. It’s not a fanfare and forget event. We go back throughout the year and visit with them, pray with them, and give them a message of hope. Please consider sponsoring one family this year. Find out more here.