SAMARITAN: GOOD OR BAD
In Bible days the word Samaritan often carried a bad connotation. However, no doubt because of the parable of the Samaritan in Luke chapter 10 we have come to call this Samaritan the “Good Samaritan”. The story develops from the fact that Jesus was questioned by a certain lawyer tempting Him. He questions Jesus on the great topic of eternal life. Jesus also asks him a question and the lawyer quotes from Leviticus 19:18. Jesus now admonishes him to obey the Scriptures which he seemingly does not wish to do. To get around the admonition he asks “And who is my neighbor?” The passage indicates that Jesus answered the Lawyer in what is now considered the Parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:29-37.
We are all very familiar with what transpired in this wonderful passage of Scripture. A man was robbed and beaten and left “half dead”. We are also aware that there were those who observed his condition and plight in life. Yet they did not respond to come to his aid. In the next few days, we will be directed to “see” the need in our lives and the lives of others. We may be confronted with the same question that the lawyer asks the Savior, “And who is my neighbor?” When we move this “Good Samaritan” story into our time, life and setting we too may be asking the same question when we observe those around us.
Many and most of us as we observe our friends, family and society at large are struggling whether we are going to cross over and pass by on the other side when we see someone we may know are someone we are not necessarily familiar with.
A few years ago while reading this parable, I ask the Lord to give me something that could be translated for us today or in the “now” for our life and ministry. After reading this passage over and over there emerged to me a turning point in this beautiful parable. To me it appeared to be verse 33 which reads, “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion on him.” Suddenly one word jumped from the page not to my eyes but to my heart and the word was in all bold caps and the word is “COMPASSION”. There is a verse in the little Book of Jude verse 22 that reads, “And of some have compassion, making a difference.” It was a pastor of the past generation who made a statement regarding Jude 22 somewhat paraphrasing this verse this way, “Shed a tear…now make a difference.”
After the turning point and the word that drives the turning point one can readily see that the nature of compassion makes a difference in the way we see the situation and the way that others may view the trouble that has befallen those around us.
There are three other words that one must pursue as one closes this parable: the COST, the CARE and the COMMAND. We only have room to observe the COMMAND, “and he (Jesus) said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him (lawyer), Go, and do thou likewise.”