Perhaps the best known of all of Jesus’ parables is . . .
The Parable of the Good Samaritan [Luke 10: 25-37]. Radio, television and the movies refer to those who do a good deed as being a good Samaritan. Of all the parables, this one, portrays the life -- His compassion, His mercy, His love, His mission -- of Jesus; it evens exemplifies much of His teaching.
In His Sermon on the Mount, He said, “bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you” [Matthew 5: 44]. The Samaritans were hated and mistreated by the Jews, the Romans and by most others, possibly even by the man who was beaten and robbed, yet this good Samaritan stopped and had compassion on this man when others didn’t. Jesus said, “Give to him who asks you” [Matthew 5: 42]. Obviously this beaten man was crying out for help, yet others ignored his cry, but this good Samaritan gave him the help he needed. Jesus also taught, “And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two” [Matthew 5: 41]. This Samaritan did not stop at treating this poor man’s wounds, but carried him to an inn and took care of him. And when he had to leave, he gave the innkeeper money to care for him while he was gone -- that’s going the extra mile. Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth . . . For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” [Matthew 6: 19, 21]. Caring for this beaten and broken man was more important to this Samaritan than his time and his money. His treasure was truly in heaven and his heart was for people.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan is also a reflection of Jesus’ life and ministry. One of the most despised people who lived in Jesus’ day were the lepers, yet when they came to Jesus, He did not turn them away -- as others did -- but He had compassion for them and healed them. The sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet and dried them with her hair and the woman caught in an act of adultery -- those others wanted to condemn -- Jesus showed them mercy. Then there were those who were tormented by demons and were forced to live alone in the tombs -- cast out of society by men who feared them. Jesus showed them love by casting the demons out and giving them a life worth living.
The parable does not tell us why the priest and the Levite refused give aid to this man. It does imply that they thought themselves too good to stoop to such a level, even though, by their position, they should have been the first to help. Such an arrogant attitude reminds me of James’ and John’s attitude concerning a Samaritan village and of Jesus’ reply to them -- “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” [Luke 9: 55-56].
Help each of us Lord to live in the manner of Your Spirit to save, heal and deliver. May we “Go and do likewise” just as You did. Amen.