The Good Samaritan – Luke 10 [NASB]
30 Jesus replied and said, A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you. 36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers hands? 37 And he said, The one who showed mercy toward him. Then Jesus said to him, Go and do the same.
Such a well known story, so taken for granted, do we really understand it’s full meaning? We have a man, obviously a pure blood descendant of Abraham, who is mugged and left for dead. The two people who had the most obligation under God to help him, a priest, and a fellow Levite, both avoided the man like the plague itself, openly refused to be of assistance. I wonder, was anyone else watching? Where these ‘church’ (temple) leaders witnessed as avoiding the man? The challenging part is this – the man who stopped to help, who showed so much compassion, was basically the man’s enemy. The Samaritan was a product of an invading nation mating with the local women and producing children that were considered outcasts, children of the devil so-to-speak. It was one of these outcasts, one of these ‘enemies’ that stopped to help the man in need. This is not just a nice story about helping others, it is a story of people laying down their preconceptions, hurts, and so forth to help others.
Jesus did much more than that for us.
This says much about how our attitudes towards others should be, even those that treat us badly…