|The Ark of Salvation|
Most of the times, when I read Luke 10: 23-37, I always think that the message is just about becoming a good Christian like the Samaritan. There are many layers to this passage. I would like to point out just one today, which is the place where the Samaritan took the wounded man. He brought him to an Inn. The word Inn has been defined as “an establishment that provides accommodations, food, and drink, especially for travelers.” (http://www.dictionary.com/
The Greek word for Inn is Kataluma which means a place of lodging, where people to a break from their journey; a place to refresh; a place of comfort.
The "inn" mentioned in Exodus 4:24 was just the halting-place of the caravan. Later on, places like this were erected for the accommodation of travelers. In Luke 2:7 Kataluma is a place for loosing the beasts of their burdens. It is "guest-chamber" in Mark 14:14 and Luke 22:11 .
Now, please pay attention to this, in our gospel, Kataluma is more than just a halting place. This place, this Inn had an "inn-keeper," who attended to the needs of the travelers.
What does this Inn represent? This is what we call ecclesiology, meaning the theology as applied to the nature and the structure of Christian gathering that we call Church.
So Jesus is using this parable to teach us what the Church is called to be: a place of healing, a place of safety, a place of refreshment, a place of maturity.
Now, please allow me to quickly go over three aspects of the church as an Inn.
1. Aspect of being a Hospital. The Good Samaritan brought the wounded man to the inn, which represents the church. The church is the hospital for sinners. It is the place where people are reconciled with God and other people. We can only answer broken relationships by developing new, healthy relationships in their place. This is why the church is so important.
2. Aspect of being a place of teaching. I used to think that the church could just give without calling people to join the church; that the church could be involved in some social projects (hospitals, schools, orphanage, etc.) I now believe that’s not the only thing the church is called to do. We cannot really help the wounded without developing relationships with them. We need to keep a bond with them. This requires a place where people can learn about God and begin to develop a network of stable and healthy relationships with God’s people. It is the place where they learn a new sense of their own identity and learn how to function more effectively in the world. This requires the church.
3. Aspect of being a place where gifts are used for maturity. The Good Samaritan committed himself to the wounded man, but he did not do everything. He brought him to the church, where the gifts of other people could minister to his needs. This shows that the church needs both external missionaries who go out and bring others to the people of God and internal missionaries, who minister to those who are brought to church. I challenge everyone of you to discern where your gifts fit into this mission.
But all this is NOT about making us happy. It’s not just about us. It is for us to be able to love our neighbor as ourselves and to do a true and laudable service to God.
Peace and blessings!
"For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay??? (Habakkuk 2:3).