Luke 10:29-37, “And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him. Go, and do thou likewise.
Last week we began discussing the story of the Good Samaritan. This story depicts the picture of a man going from the city of God (Jerusalem) down to a city of condemnation (Jericho) but is rescued by a Good Samaritan, who is a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ.
To me, this is a very clear example of a missionary endeavor. We see a person of one nationality going into another country and ministering to a person of a different nationality. Even more specifically, you may look at it as reaching out to a typical RU student. Mark 16:15 says, “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Unfortunately, many church members forget that it says “every creature,” therefore they leave out those who are hurting with drug addictions and those who have maybe painted their body with tattoos and piercings on their skin.
In this story, there are three different people who had an opportunity to minister to this man: a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan. We discussed last week that a priest was a religious leader, and a Levite was a religious person who worked with a religious leader. This week, we are looking at the Samaritan who had no religion and really wasn’t anything, yet he stopped to help his neighbor.
As God’s people, under the influence of the Spirit of God, we can be a good neighbor. First, we must have compassion. Compassion will cause us to see the needs of others. Compassion will cause us to put on someone else’s shoes and walk a mile. Compassion is “their pain in our heart”. Remember, the Samaritan had no religious background – at least none that we can see in the Scriptures. His compassion was of a social nature and not spiritual, but it didn’t matter to the Lord; He still commended the man anyway. This is good news for those who get saved as God begins to transform their life. Even though they may not have a religious background, God (through His Word, the preaching of His Word, and the conviction of the Spirit) will teach us how to have compassion for others. If we have compassion for others it is sure to replace condemnation. It is impossible for a man who is serving the Lord to have condemnation and compassion at the same time.
Secondly, compassion led him to where the injured man was. We find that this Good Samaritan did not pass by on the other side as the religious men had done. He did not tell the man that he would call 911 or find another person to help. He was willing to roll up his sleeves, stop, and look face to face with a hurting person who needed help.
Thirdly, compassion will cause you to not only see people, but also to identify their need of help. The Good Samaritan saw him in need of help and made himself available. He did not make excuses as we discussed last week; he simply used the resources God had given to him to help this person in need. It is important for us to note that this kind of compassion leads to action. Yes, you may be inconvenienced, but Jesus said the Samaritan who was a stranger to the injured man was a real neighbor.
We must remember the historical context in which Jesus was instructing this young lawyer concerning who should be considered a neighbor. The Samaritan people and Jews were bitter enemies and had no dealings together of any sort. Is this not a perfect picture of our Good Samaritan, the Lord Jesus Christ? We have been beaten up by our enemy, the devil. The Lord came and took us into His loving arms, saved us, and then planted our feet on solid ground. We must remember that the Scriptures give us a clear command that, under the power of the Holy Spirit, we are to be like this Samaritan – a good neighbor.
One final note: so many are reluctant to roll up their sleeves and help hurting people. There are thousands of excuses that we could give, yet somehow we justify passing by on the other side with excuses directed toward those who are hurt and injured. In this passage, God gave no assurance that this man would not end up in a ditch again. There is no promise that he would be a success story, that he would be the poster child for some program. God simply told you and me and this lawyer to “go and do thou likewise”. With God’s help and the fullness of the Spirit, we can love God and love others as ourselves.