“For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.” – Hebrews 6:10.
There are many Bible stories that we can honestly say we have heard over and over on Sunday in small groups or in personal Bible study. There are a handful of stories in the Bible that are so familiar that we don’t think about it much anymore. Yes, we know it by heart, but have we stopped using it to impact our hearts? One of those stories is the famous story of the Good Samaritan.
We are told that a lawyer stood up to test Jesus, asking Him what he must do to inherit eternal life. This man was not remotely interested in hearing the real answer, but in tripping up Jesus with some minor point of the Law. You know the story: A traveler is beaten up and robbed, and left for dead along the road. A priest comes by but deliberately avoids the man. A lawyer also comes by but he too avoids the injured man. Finally, a Samaritan comes by, and he helps the injured man, in an act of mercy and compassion. The term Good Samaritan has become synonymous with helping others.
The story is pretty cut and dry, or so it seems. But is it? God doesn’t want His people to simply follow a list of rules; He’s after the heart, and He wants His followers to love others as He does. We are to respond to others as God would respond to them, just as the Samaritan responded to the half-dead man on the side of the road, which is basically the way God responded to us when we were dead in our sins and in need of radical grace. It is more than if this happens, then I need to do this.
When we love others as Jesus loves us, we will do things that seem hard to understand. We will forgive those that seem unforgivable. We will go out of our way to help those who may not deserve our help. We may sacrifice everything for people who would not sacrifice for us.
One of the best parts of the story is one that we don’t tend to think about: You have a man lying in the road that didn’t have to earn anything to receive mercy and grace. In the same vein is a man who died on a cross for the people who abused and hated Him; He rose again so that He could extend salvation and grace to those same people. So we are lying on the side of the road, basically dead in our sins and the Son of God extends His hand with free, radical grace—something that we could never earn or repay. All we have to do is accept it and Him. And because we received this grace, will we go and love others likewise; will we do great things because something great has been done for us?
- What lessons did you learn from Sunday’s sermon?
- How can we all express more compassion and care for one another? Does loving your neighbor as yourself help explain how Jesus loved?