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 10:30-37
This story is self-explanatory, so I will not spend too much time digging into it. However, I’d like to shed some light on why I think this story is significant.
The Samaritans were seen as outcasts and treated as if they didn’t matter in the society. Their religious beliefs had digressed from Judaism and so they were despised for that. These Samaritans are like some of the people in our World today who are being treated as “less than”.
Imagine that you are a Samaritan and you’re told to love and show mercy to those who have oppressed you. Well, that is exactly what Jesus is saying. He wants us to show His love and mercy to those who have made us their enemy. You and I can easily agree that this is not an easy task and if we are thinking about physical abilities, we may not be able to do it. Some of us would need an overwhelming takeover of God’s Spirit in order to show any act of kindness. The Samaritan man expressed true kindness, love and mercy to the injured man. His kindness was so great and unpredictable, so much that he is spoken of today as the “Good Samaritan”. He is not known as the “Good Priest” nor the “Good Levite” nor the “Good Jew”, but the Good Samaritan. Can we be like the Good Samaritan? Do we have genuine love for those who have made themselves our enemies? Can we show them mercy? For some of us, just the thought of helping someone who has treated us unfairly because of race, ethnicity or gender will make us cringe. We need the Spirit of God to overcome our flesh so that we can show God’s love to others, without cringing. Remember that Jesus too was maltreated; He was whipped and then nailed to the cross just for proclaiming that He’s the Messiah. He did this because he loves us. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Jesus is asking us to demonstrate the love of God to others as well. I understand this is challenging and that is why we need the spirit of God. If that spirit is not us, we cannot express the love of Jesus to others. We need Jesus to help us become good neighbors. We must do our part and let Him fight the real battle for us. Note that your hate will not change the heart of people, but your kindness is a good start. Then God will perfect the rest.
Prayer: Lord, help me to be obedient to your instructions. I want to be filled with the spirit of God so that showing love and kindness will be an easy task for me. Help me to remember what Jesus did for me when I find it difficult to love others and show mercy. Amen
Some questions to ponder upon: Can those who have offended you trust you to take care of them in their time of need? Can God rely on you to show mercy to others as he has shown you mercy? Can you sympathize with those who do not particularly fancy your friendship? Can you express the love of Christ to those who need it, regardless of how you feel about them?