Luke 10:25-37 – There are roles in this story that we can identify with at different times in our lives.
Parables are interesting. We like stories. Jesus told stories that a lot of people could relate to. His parables should be taken to make a simple point. At times we can try to pull too many things out of these parables.
We’re not really told whether this lawyer was hostile towards Jesus or not, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that he was asking a genuine question.
As Jesus often did, he turned the question back to the lawyer. “How do you believe it? How do you see it?”
The lawyer new the answers, he had the texts. Love, God first and others too.
Jesus agreed… You’re right! So do it! Practice this law and you will have life.
This lawyer new the mechanics of the law. He probably could explain logically how he had kept these verses.
Love is more than an idea, it finds expression in action.
The lawyer probably felt a little like a school boy who had forgotten his homework.
Jesus tells this story then to illustrate who our neighbor is.
This is a short story, but there is a fair bit of drama in it. The road to Jericho went through a pretty rough route. Merchants went up and down the road, but the bandits were also pretty prominent. The trip was rocky, dry, and dangerous.
The people listening to Jesus knew exactly where Jesus was talking about. They knew the situation. They probably were questioning why he was walking alone!
This man going down to Jericho was caught by the bandits. He was half dead.
But wait! Here comes someone… he is a priest! He should have been the ideal person to help this man out. But he walked on by.
Again, another person comes by… again it is someone who should care enough to help him out.
Finally a third fellow comes along… with a donkey, but he recognized that the man was a Samaritan. Hope probably faded away again.
But the third man stopped! He helped the fellow out. Took him on his donkey and cared for him in an inn that night. The next day he left some money to take care of him, and said he’d be back through and would pay any more it cost.
You’re Right, Now Go Do Likewise
There are several things that we can take from this.
- Jesus wants us to love others regardless of who they are.
- Our neighbor is anyone who is in need that I have the ability to help.
- Having the ability to help means that I have Jesus love in my heart.
This is pretty simple to say, to read, but it is harder to grasp and then try to accomplish. In fact it is impossible to accomplish on our own.
There are people all around us who we come in contact with. If they are our neighbors wont we be overwhelmed with needing to love them? Will we turn away and walk on by?
Helping people in need can mean a few things. These might be a few reasons that the first two didn’t stop to help.
- It might mean getting dirty.
- It might be risky.
- It might mean that we won’t get to all of our important things on our schedule.
- No one was watching! Sometimes we do things when people are watching that we might hesitate to do when they aren’t looking.
So, why did the Samaritan stop and help? What equips us to help those in need?
- He had true love in his heart. He knew that God loved him and he knew that he had a debt to pay to humanity because God had loved him.
- He had felt pain and rejection from others. He had empathy.
- He was able to help! He had been blessed with health, a donkey, and he even had a few coins. God had blessed him and he was responsible to use the things he had well.
This Samaritan left an example for all of us. Are we a priest? Are we a Levite? Are we in a hurry? Or maybe we are wounded and we need help!
There are many opportunities for us to use this “heart love” that Jesus can give us. May God give us wisdom and grace as we walk with him, and with our neighbors, in the coming week.