“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.” –Luke 10:36-37
Jesus told the story we know as “The Good Samaritan.” It is very insightful, powerful, and to be perfectly honest, very challenging. Let’s look at the main characters:
• The Traveler: Here’s a nice guy minding his own business when he gets attacked by the robbers. He has everything stolen, is beaten and is left for dead. We definitely meet a man in need of help.
• The Priest: This person looked holy and spiritual. He knew the Bible, did the right kinds of things, said all the right stuff, but it was all for show. On the outside he appeared religious, but on the inside he was nothing but a hypocrite. Jesus described this as “whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean” (Matthew 23:27). (You can check out Matthew 23 for what Jesus thinks of hypocrites. Believe me, it’s not a pleasant chapter!)
• The Levite: Here’s a person who is basically self-centered. I really believe the Levite (he was not called a Levite because he wore Levi’s!) had a sincere heart for God but simply never got around to living for God. He meant well, but his actions spoke louder than his words. Ultimately, he was too busy to care for the needy traveler and thought someone else would do it. (Ouch! I can relate to this guy too often in my life.)
• The Samaritan: Samaritans were not popular with Jews. In fact, Jews didn’t socialize or even speak to Samaritans. Yet this Samaritan had a heart for God. He noticed the needy traveler and responded with his time and his money. The Samaritan was an ordinary person doing an extraordinary act of love. Oh, that we may become more like the Samaritan and learn a lesson from this story.
• Which kind of neighbor are you?
1. What is the central theme of this story in the Bible?
2. What can you do this week to put this lesson into action steps for your life?
Luke 10:25-37; Psalm 103:11-13