Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
As the time of the Judges comes to an end, somehow, God managed to preserve his people in spite of their apostasy. Yet, this nation was full of people who had no clue how to worship God according to the Mosaic law.
The rest of the book of Judges switches its focus from the threat of foreign invaders to its own inward chaos. The author is persuading the reader that Israel desperately needs the leadership of a godly king. The story recorded in Judges 17-18 is so preposterous that it seems cartoonish!
And the man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and household gods…
And Micah ordained the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. Then Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, because I have a Levite as priest” (Judges 17:5; 12-13).
Since when did people start having their own personal priests?? And this priest doesn’t have an altar or a tabernacle, no, he has Micah’s shrine and carved images to facilitate proper worship. It’s ludicrous!
Fast forward to today’s reading in Luke. At this point in history, the Jews were so absorbed with proper worship – that they had added many extra laws which made the old laws seem permissive. This concern with observing the Mosaic law is obvious from the details in Jesus’ story of the good Samaritan. There was a distinction between the Priest and the Levite. Not just any Levite could be a Priest. Only a descendant of Aaron could be a Priest. I’m sure this detail was overlooked by Micah, our character from Judges ;)
But it is interesting that Jesus takes all of these religious regulations and turns them upside down. The story of the good Samaritan illustrates that it is not the “law-abiding” Priest and Levite that meet the standard of the Law – but rather it was the hated “half-breed” Samaritan who did what was acceptable – that is to sacrificially love his enemy.
Isn’t Jesus wonderful??!! He wants so much more for His people than mere religion!! The rules only teach us we’re not good enough! Then we can look to Jesus with a desperate need to be rescued. This is proper worship! Humble, reliance on the Savior.
Mary understood. She knew that nothing was as important as sitting at the feet of her Lord. All of life could wait – Jesus was in her house! What could be more important than that?!