Passed By on the Other Side or Crossing the Street?
Luke 10:31-32, “And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.”
Luke 10 is the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. We learn some tremendous lessons about the Spirit-filled life and how to be a good neighbor from this passage. We clearly cannot be good neighbors without the fullness of the Spirit of God and love flowing through us to others.
The characters in today’s verse are the two people who pass by on the other side of the man who has been beaten, stripped, robbed, and left in a position where he cannot help himself whatsoever. The first visitor to this scene had been working in Jerusalem all day; now he’s “clocked out” and headed home. He is a priest. He had served all day but somehow found excuses and reasoning to not stop and help this gentleman. Perhaps he did not see it as his job description. Perhaps he felt like he had done his time. Maybe he thought, “I have served my time and now it is time for me to have my time.” Regardless of the reasoning, it is clear that the priest (one who was supposed to serve the Lord) had found reason not to.
The second visitor was the Levite. Again, he was leaving Jerusalem and going that direction which means he had already “punched out” and was headed home. He was one of the men who worked in the Temple, perhaps as a doorkeeper or shoveling the ashes. For some reason, this Levite felt it was not his job either. If anyone would understand common folks in trouble it should be this guy.
Today, I think of churches that have Sunday School teachers, ushers, deacons, janitors. They all have titles…but are they willing to be good neighbors? Are they willing to be filled with the Spirit of God and work after hours to see radical grace given with the purpose of salvation to those who desperately need it? It is clear that the Levite at least stepped over to see exactly what was going on, but was much too busy or preoccupied to stop as he passed by.
My challenge to you – if you are a member of a local New Testament church, God has called you to “go and do thou likewise”. It is clear in the Scriptures that He has given us direction to be filled with His Spirit and be willing to grasp each and every opportunity to be a good neighbor. Let me remind you that your neighbor is the person closest to you. The neighbor in your home – your wife and children – will be different than the neighbor next to you at work, or riding in the car as you go to and from work, or sitting in the pew at church, or waiting on you in a restaurant, or checking you out in the store. We ought to view each and every one of these people as our neighbor and take advantage of the opportunities we are given to be a good neighbor to them.
Just tonight my family stopped by a drugstore to pick up an item. We were able to talk to a young lady whose mother passed away 1 year ago from a drug overdose and invited her to our church. Please pray that she will come. I’m convinced what this young lady needs is an “ambush” from the grace of God to see her life transformed.
Will you choose to just pass by on the other side? Will you be content to live on the other side or will you cross the road? Will you bend your schedule to make a difference? I can assure you that if you do, it will affect your priorities; it will affect your pocket book; and it will affect your future plans.