by Beth Fore
“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.”
Who am I, Lord?
A man went from Jerusalem to Jericho
and was attacked by robbers one day.
They stripped him of his clothes, beat him,
left him for dead, then went away.
A priest happened along the same road,
and he saw the poor beaten man.
He passed by him on the other side
and didn’t offer him a helping hand.
Then came a Levite traveling the road,
and he saw the man and passed him by.
Neither of these men showed compassion
and abandoned him on the road to die.
How often I see another person’s needs,
and I don’t take time to minister to them.
How often I see . . . yet still pass by
and ignore them just as they did him.
But then came the outcast Samaritan
whose heart was filled with compassion.
He took him to an inn and paid for his care
as he would have done for his own son.
I wonder which one I am like, Lord.
Which one of these do I desire to be?
I want to be like the good Samaritan
and love my neighbor and show mercy.
Open my eyes to see others, Lord,
and to take time to meet their needs.
Help me respond like the Samaritan
with kind words and merciful deeds.
*Many people encounter the same person who is in need of help; but each person responds differently. Jesus tells this parable about The Good Samaritan and tells the Jews that the one who had mercy on him was the good neighbor and that they should “go and do likewise.”
In this parable, Jesus shows us how three different people respond to the same situation. Each one comes upon a scene where a man has been attacked by robbers, stripped of his clothes, been beaten and left for dead. This is a tragic scene! Imagine, for a moment, that it is YOU who come upon this scene. How would it affect you, and how would you respond?
The priest, a godly man, came upon this scene and chose to pass by the poor man without helping him. Perhaps the priest was on his way to the temple for a special service, or maybe he was on his way to visit with a renowned Jew, or maybe he was beginning his vacation. Whatever the reason, the priest did not think this person was worthy of his time, his attention, and his resources. Though it is easy for us to be critical of the priest, it could very well be that we might respond to this situation just as the priest responded.
Then came a Levite traveling the road, and he also saw the man and passed him by. The Levite was from the tribe of Levi, the Jewish tribe chosen to be the priests of God. Once again, we have a person (designated to be a priest of God) who chooses not to address the situation he encounters, and he goes on his way leaving the poor man to die. Perhaps the Levite thought attending to this man’s wounds would make him unclean or defile him in some way, or perhaps the person was of a different tribe or nation; but, whatever the reason, the Levite did not stop and help the wounded man.
*Jesus tells this parable about The Good Samaritan and tells the Jews that the one who had mercy on him was the good neighbor and that they should “go and do likewise.”
Then came the Samaritan, the “half-breed outcast,” who was looked down upon by other classes and groups of people. It was this man who was filled with compassion, who stopped and tended to the man’s wounds and then took him to an inn and paid the innkeeper money to care for him.
Jesus is not interested in our status or class in our culture. He is not interested in our profession or position in the church. Jesus is interested in our hearts! He desires that we show love, compassion, and mercy to other people we encounter in our daily lives. We never know who, or what, we will encounter in our daily lives; but, regardless of the circumstances, we should be ready and willing to show “love for our neighbors and for one another” whenever we encounter someone in need.
- Think of a time when you encountered a person in need and you helped them. How did the person respond? How did you feel?
- Now, think of a time when you encountered a person in need and you passed them by. How did you feel? How do you think the person felt?
- We are confronted by people around us who are in need of help every day. How do we decide who to help?
- Does one’s position in church, or society, sometimes affect that person’s responses to people of lowly position and circumstances who are in need of help?
- Give some examples of how Jesus responded to the people he encountered who were in need of his help.
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