- Luke 9:51-56; 17:11-19; 10:1-24
- Matt. 11:28-30
- Luke 10:25-42; 11:1-13
- John 10:22-42
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” 27 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.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 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. 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 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?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
(Luke 10:25-37 NIV)
The passage we just read is often referred to as the parable of the good Samaritan. This is one of the most important, practical and fundamental lessons that we need to know. This is a lesson that applies to every person, regardless of their background, religious beliefs, or where they are from. Everybody needs this lesson! You see, every person has opportunities from time to time where we see someone who is in need. It is one thing to say that you love GOD, but when we see someone in need, our response to that person demonstrates whether we really love GOD.
It doesn't matter if the person who is in need is your worst enemy, Jesus says that he's your neighbor, and you need to help him. The Jewish priests had a special relationship with GOD, which indicated that this person should have loved GOD, but he passed by the injured man. The Levite should have stopped to help, but didn't. But this Samaritan, a people whom the Jews despised, had compassion on the hurt man and went over and helped him.
Let's consider three ways that the Samaritan showed love to his neighbor, and let's think about ways we can show the same love for our neighbor today:
- He stopped what he was doing in order to show compassion. We are so busy that we've almost always got somewhere to be at a set time. Rarely is it convenient to stop and help those in need. That's why this is so challenging to do in life, because we always feel so torn and pressured to be at whatever we committed to do before we saw the need. But when we see a deep need like this, it's important that we show love and compassion and stop to help.
- He gave up his time to take the injured man to someone who could help him. It's one thing to stop for long enough to help someone. It's entirely another level of giving when we go the opposite direction in order to get the person the help they need.
- He gave money to take care of the man's needs while he was gone. Sometimes people need some money, and we need to be willing to share the money we have been given with others when we see the need. In certain situations, or for certain people, this can be the most challenging. GOD doesn't expect us to do more than we can do, but He does expect us to do what we can do.
Let's remember the good Samaritan who loved his neighbor, and imitate his example when we see our neighbor in need.