It is without a doubt one of the most beloved and timeless stories in the entire Bible, courtesy of Jesus Himself.
In this PODCAST, you will hear the story has you have never heard nor read it before.
A story for Jesus’ day; a story for our own day.
A story for Jesus’ disciples; a story for us as Jesus’ disciples.
Just imagine that the principle player in the story told you his story in his own words, in his own voice.
A much needed story for us all to hear, especially at this tender time in our nation’s history, especially in this day when so many precious people are so woefully divided one from another.
This is one of those special stories that gives us a glimpse into the enormous heart and sizable soul of Jesus.
Let’s start out by reading Luke 10:25-37
25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”
29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
We should look at this story from the perspective of the Jewish man who was traveling alone, by foot, on the long, winding, narrow, steep road from Jerusalem to Jericho. He was attacked, robbed, stripped, beaten, stabbed and left for dead. His only hope was that a fellow traveler might come across the same path he was left alongside and take mercy on him.
And somebody did.
He knew the person who came by first. It was one of the priests that he had seen serving at the temple who was on his way home. He had finished leading God’s people in Jerusalem and was now on his way back home to Jericho. Surely, this fellow Jew, this man of God, would help.
Instead, he looked away. And then he walked away. Leaving the man to die.
Then a second man came along: a Levite! A Levite was a volunteer at the Temple, much like volunteers in 21st century churches. Surely this person who sacrifices time, effort and money to serve others would take a half-second to reach out a helping hand to a fellow Jew.
But he didn’t. He looked away. And then he walked away. Leaving the man to die.
Then came the footsteps of a third person. But the sight of this person disgusted the man laying there dying. This third man wasn’t a Jew. He was from Samaria. Even on his deathbed of dirt and blood, the beaten man despised the Samaritan. Jews and Samaritans had hated one another for 800 years. And this day was no different.
But instead of turning a blind eye, the Samaritan reached out and touched the dying Jew. He anointed his wounds with healing oil. He dried his parched throat with wine. He wrapped his bloodied body with his own tunic. Hoisting the Jew on his animal, the Samaritan had to walk the remainder of the way. He then took the time to turn around and go the opposite way along the path to an inn where the Jew could rest and recover. By doing this, the Samaritan put his own plans on hold indefinitely.
To the innkeeper, the Samaritan said, “This is my friend. I need you to care for him. Here is all the money I have. Give him a room. Give him food. Call a doctor. Do whatever needs to be done to save him. Whatever the total bill totals, I will return to pay in full. Do whatever it takes.”
The Samaritan saved the Jew’s life. He saved his soul by participating in the healing of his heart. Because after that day, the Jew no longer looked upon his neighbor as a “despised Samaritan”, but a fellow human being who was made in God’s own image.
If only we, in the 21st century could learn to view everyone else without labels. If only we could learn to stop viewing one another as “others who are different than me”. If only we could see each other as fellow human beings who are made in Gods own image, and treat each other accordingly.
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