The story of the Good Samaritan
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?”he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,”Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “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. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 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. The next day he took out two denarii 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.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
How to love like the Samaritan today
The Samaritan’s love Saw him
Imagine, a man on the side of the road beaten to a pulp, bloody, bruised, and in pain. Can you just see, a woman – Head hung low, face full of sadness, fear or worry. Imagine, a child – huddled in a corner of the room, fearful of doing the wrong thing. Do you see them? I mean, really see them?
The priest and Levite both “saw” the man in the parable – but imediately put him out of their mind, turned their back so they could no longer see, and “minded their own business”. The Samaritan on the other hand, saw and took pity on him. He let it reach his heart – he had compassion. This is what it means to really see – to understand and to have compassion for where they are.
He went to him
The Samaritan allowed the compassion to motivate him to action. He went out of his way to help. The others went out of their way to avoid. He took the time to move towards this man who was in such a state.
Do we move towards people who are hurting? Towards people who are different from us? What about people who are currently where we were, but are no longer? Do we allow our past pain to stop us from helping someone in their present pain? What are some ways you can get down in the dirt and really be there for someone?
The Samaritan’s love bandaged the man’s wounds
Once he went to him, he saw the immediate need and met it. He bandaged the man’s wounds. Then he took the resources he had and put them to good use. He didn’t skimp, he poured on the oil and wine as was needed.
God has given each of us resources to use for his kingdom. We all have gifts, as well as material things that can be of help to others. Are we willing to give of our resources, whether we have an abundance or just a little? Do we make the effort to find ways we can be a help to those hurting around us? Do we take the time to love like the Samaritan did?
He took him to the inn
After caring for the immediate need – to bandage the wounds and make sure he would live – he took the next step too. He took the man to an inn, a place of safety.
There are so many ways we can love like the samaritan and provide a safe place for the wounded around us. Who is our neighbor? Anyone we come in contact with. It starts in our own homes – with our own hearts. Our home should be a safe place for our families. Our hearts a safe place for ourselves and for others to find comfort.
He took care of Him
The samaritan took extra time and helped the man heal. He cared for more than the surface wounds by taking the time to care for any internal injuries and safety concerns as well.
How often do we throw a handful of change at a problem and feel like we are so generous? When God brings people into our way and we are moved to compassion for them, are we really willing to CARE for them? Are we really willing to love like the Samaritan?
How can we find ways to really be a help, to go the extra mile knowing they can’t pay us back?
The Samaritan’s love paid for the room
After cleaning him up, getting him to safety and caring for him as he was able – he then made sure the man would continue to get the care and safety he needed to finish healing.
Are we aware of resources that can help people to heal and stay safe? Can we make ourselves more aware? Helping people find the right communities and support systems is so important. He didn’t send the man back out to the dangerous highway – he made sure he was in a safe place and provided for.
Who are our neighbors?
We are commanded to love our neighbor as ourselves. Our neighbor – as Jesus pointed out – is anyone we come into contact with. The man who has been beaten up by the gang, the woman who has lost her identity to an abusive relationship, the child who has been told they can do nothing right.
We can love them, and we should love like the Samaritan did. See them, acknowledge them, draw near. Meet the immediate need, and then use your resources to help them heal. Find safety and community for them to thrive in. Find Ways for the man to have healthy community, for the woman to find her identity in Christ and love herself again, and for the child to know they are worthy and capable.
Remember, you were once the one beaten and broken and God rescued you. Even if their ditch looks different than yours did, you can remember what it felt like to be there. We all know what it is to feel pain