“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’” – Luke 10:33-35.
This past Sunday we found ourselves in Luke 10:25-37, examining the Parable of the good Samaritan. While many of us know the story, I hope we all came to a deeper understanding of what Jesus was doing in and through this story. We now understand that the parable of the good Samaritan is more than a story telling us to be nice to others. Jesus was showing the young legalistic lawyer what he must do to have eternal life. The questions this parable raised in Jesus’ day, continue to be raised in our world today.
A religious lawyer or expert in religious law is having a conversation with Jesus about what it means to be saved, and when Jesus tells him to love his neighbor as himself, the man wants to confuse and blur the lines of the issue by asking, “Who is my neighbor?” he asks.
Jesus responds with a parable about a man taking the dangerous journey from Jericho to Jerusalem – a rocky, downhill road that requires a traveller to leave the safety of Jewish territory. It is an ideal place for bandits, and along the way, the man is beaten, robbed and left half-dead. A priest and a levite walk by. They are not heartless, but have reasons that they believe take precedence over helping the stricken man. Finally, a Samaritan comes along, and despite the bad blood between the Samaritans and Jews, he stops to help. He goes the extra mile and makes sure the half-dead man is taken care of by an innkeeper.
The parable of the good Samaritan tells us how we are to be as Christians — we are to show mercy to others whenever the opportunity is before us, and indeed we are to seek out opportunities to do good and serve. We are to “go and do the same.” (Luke 10:37), just as the Samaritan did.
So here is the challenge. How big is your circle? Who is your neighbor? I want to challenge each of you to go back and think about the good Samaritan. Have you made yourself aware of your opportunity to love your neighbor? Do you have compassion for those in need? I challenge you to take advantage of the opportunities around you. Once you become aware of a place where you can love your neighbor- take the next step and access the place and put your abilities to work because somewhere out there is a neighbor who needs what you have. Jesus said it so simply, “Now that you know who your neighbor is; now that you know who you are responsible to love, go and do the same.”
- What is your definition of a hero?
- Is the good Samaritan another way of showing how Jesus loved? What does it impact how we view people today?
- In what ways do we justify our lack of love for others? How does it feel when someone has mercy on you? Who do you know that is hurting and has no one to call on? What are you to do?