I was talking with a friend recently and I asked about another friend. I had not seen her in quite some time. I found out that she had been ill. It touched my heart in such a profound way. You see, when I had surgery (my first serious illness), this person reached out to me in compassion and love. It meant so much to me—she was just an acquaintance. She didn’t know me at the time—but she cared! I received love from someone that I least expected. Others who knew me did not reach out to me as this lady did. She was my “good Samaritan” in my time of need. I was truly sorry that I had not been there when she needed me.
In penning this blog, I am reminded of the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37. Merriam-Webster defines a parable as a short fictitious story that illustrates a moral attitude or religious principle. So, Jesus is telling this story to illustrate a religious principle—to demonstrate how we should love one another. He had been asked a question by a law expert, in Luke 10:25-26. The lawyer asked Jesus a series of questions. He initially asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” He then asked, “What is written in the Law?” And then. “How do you read it?” He was trying to test Jesus.
Jesus answers him with what had been written in the law. He quoted, Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all you might; and your neighbor as yourself, . . . Do this and your will live.
The man responded with another question in verse 29; the Bible says, he was “trying to justify himself.” He asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus responded with an example of a neighbor; he told the legal expert the story of the parable of the good Samaritan. As the story goes in Luke 10:30-37:
30 . . . “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” (Jesus posed this question to the lawyer.)
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him (the lawyer), “Go and do likewise.”
The lesson concerning who is a true neighbor and what it means to love thy neighbor as thy self is multifaceted. Here are some godly principles that we can glean and adhere to as believers.
1. The Jews despised Samaritans. (Samaritans were a mixed people.) And yet, one of the hated Samaritans was the one who demonstrated the love of a neighbor. The ones who would have been expected to help—the priest and the Levite—did not offer help to the wounded man.
2. Jesus considers a neighbor anyone who lends a helping hand and shows love and compassion to others; showing love to someone is not just for those we know or those who live near us.
3. The priest and Levite were more concerned about being defiled and going through a process of purification than helping a wounded man who had been robbed.
4. It was inconvenient for the priest and Levite to stop and help the man. They were obviously on their way to a destination.
On the other hand, the Samaritan, one of the despised and rejected half-breeds of Israel, did not hesitate to aid the half-dead man. With compassion, he bandaged up his wounds; took him to a safe haven; cared for his needs. and then told the innkeeper to charge any additional fees to his account.
So, where’s does that leave you, (and me) my friends? As Christians, this should cause us to pause and examine our treatment of others on our journey to being like Jesus. Yes, most of us love the Lord with all of our heart, soul and might, but do we love “our neighbor “ as we love ourselves?
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1John 4:8
So now faith, hope, and love abide these three, but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35
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