Scriptures: Luke 10:25-37; I Corinthians 13:7
What made the certain Samaritan good? A certain lawyer, one who studied the Torah, asked Jesus what shall he do to inherit eternal life. Jesus used the Socratic method. The Socratic method is responding to a question with a question. In this method, Jesus could discern the thoughts of the lawyer. The lawyer responded with the answer from the law in Deuteronomy 6:5, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, strength and mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Willing to justify himself, he asked who was his neighbor.
Jesus gave him a parable. Parables were used to teach a moral or spiritual lesson. He often used characters/objects that the recipients of the parable were familiar with. He used three main characters and asked the lawyer to identify who was the neighbor. He spoke of a man who went to Jericho. He was robbed, greatly wounded and left on the road for dead. The first character was a priest who saw him and passed on the other side. The second character was a Levite who saw him and he passed on the side too. Now one would expect that either of these would have quickly helped the wounded man. The priest attended to the religious needs of people. The Levite was appointed to attend to the needs of the sanctuary and the religious needs of the people. Both were familiar with law. They taught it. But it was obvious that they lacked something when it came to actually living the law.
The third character was a certain Samaritan. The Samaritan came and he saw the wounded man. He stopped and took care of him for he had compassion on him. He took to him, bound up his wounds, set him on a beast, took him to an inn and cared for him. He did not have much money. But he willing took two pence and gave it to the host. He left word with the host if there was anything else owed, he would take care of it on his return. The Jews were not friends with the Samaritan because they had a history of involvement with non-Jewish people.
Jesus asked the lawyer, which of these three did he think was neighbor to the man. The lawyer responded he that showed mercy on him. Many times ministry leaders are so much in performing duties because it is expected of them and they become absorbed in themselves. They fail to discern human needs. The Samaritan was not good because he helped a stranger. Many people help others. But for other hidden motives. What made the Samaritan good was the spirit in which he provided the help. He had compassion. Compassion is feeling the discomfort and needs of others. Compassion comes from within. He studied, applied and lived the law of God. He had a love for God and his people. Jesus did not say he was Jewish or a Gentile. The ethnicity or the social class of a neighbor should not matter. Compassion is not not necessary taught. It comes as our love for God word is rooted in our heart. Paul taught that love:
- bears all things – accepts other burdens.
- believes all things – applies the promise to God.
- hopes all things – a vision of a positive answer or result
- endures all things – does not give up
Jesus told the lawyer to go and do likewise. He was to live the law that he taught. We must not become people of habit, absorbed in our own self-interest. It is our duty to reach out to others who are in need. One of the greatest services we can do is to help others in the love of Christ. The death of Christ was for the whole world. Salvation is not for a specific race of people. All have equal opportunity to accept him as their personal Lord and Savior. It is through his life of compassion, that we must have compassion on others. Let the words that you give to others, be in you. That is what makes a good Samaritan.
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From the Path of Righteousness Church in Christ