Jump Start # 2535
Luke 10:30 “Jesus replied and said, ‘A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went off leaving him half dead.”
Our verse today comes from the amazing parable we call the Good Samaritan. Jesus told this for a reason. This story was the Lord’s answer to a question. A Jewish lawyer was quizzing Jesus. He was asking about the what it takes to inherit eternal life. Lawyers knew that. They weren’t attorneys of law like we have. These were people who spent their days studying the law of God. Exactness and accuracy was what they were after. So, he pretty much knew the answer even before he asked. He wanted to see what Jesus knew.
Jesus turned it on him. “What does the law say,” is what Jesus asked. The lawyer responded, it seems without hesitation, love God and love your neighbor. That’s it. You answered correctly, is what Jesus said. But the lawyer wasn’t satisfied. He wanted to push the buttons of Jesus. He asked, maybe even sarcastically, “And, who is my neighbor?” The good Samaritan parable is the Lord’s answer. That’s who your neighbor is. Any one in need that you can help.
The focus of the parable is on the good that the Samaritan did. The priest and the Levite did nothing. Their closed hearts and closed wallets nearly left the half dead man completely dead. The hero wasn’t a Jew. It was a Samaritan.
Our verse starts the story. It tells us all that Jesus needed for us to know. But is it enough? There are some gaps that we just want to fill. There are some things that we want to know. For instance:
· Why was he travelling alone. That wasn’t smart. Even though this was just a story, it wasn’t make believe. That winding, twisting road was known to be dangerous. It was a sure place to get robbed. This guy wasn’t street smart. Why wasn’t he travelling with others?
· Why didn’t he carry some protection on him? The story may have been different if he was armed with a sword. He should have known better.
· Why didn’t he tell others of his plans so they could have been waiting for him and watching for him?
· Why did he not see the robbers and run from them? Was he not paying attention?
· Was he followed out of the city? Had the robbers seen this man flashing cash around and thought that he was an easy target? Was he aware of what was going on around him?
· If this stretch of road was known to be a high crime area, why didn’t soldiers patrol it and make it safe? Where was the protection? Taxes were paid, yet where were the soldiers?
None of these questions make Jesus’ story. He doesn’t address any of these. You and I could sit and kick these thoughts around for a whole Bible class. We could say what he should have done. We could talk about what would prevent this from happening in the future. Around and around we could talk about this. Some could even conclude that “he got what he deserved. He shouldn’t have been on that road.” And for all that talk and all that discussion and all that guessing and speculation, without realizing it we find ourselves on the other side of the road, standing with the priest and Levite.
Along comes the Samaritan. He felt compassion, not questions for the injured man. He bandaged him up, put him on his donkey and brought him to an inn and took care of him. The Samaritan had other places to go. He left money to take care of the injured man and he left a promise to repay any more that was spent. He didn’t have to do that. It wasn’t his responsibility. It wasn’t his problem. He had done enough. But that’s what compassion will do.
The Samaritan doesn’t seem to ask any of the questions that we might have asked. It didn’t seem to bother him that the hurt man was a Jew and Jews didn’t like Samaritans. He understood that pain is pain. And pain doesn’t recognize the color of skin, one’s faith, or one’s status. A man was hurting and he could do something. And, he did.
The spirit of the Samaritan is lived and illustrated in Jesus Christ. The Servant of God who cured lepers, helped Gentiles and was a friend to tax collectors. I wonder if we ask too many questions today. I wonder if we want to put someone through a process similar to being pre-qualified for a loan before we are willing to help. I wonder if we look for ways to back out of helping because a guy wasn’t smart in his decisions, or he wasn’t doing what we would do.
I think the Samaritan realized two things:
First, all of us have been helped by God. God sends the rain and the sunshine to all of us, not just the righteous. Not just His people. God has helped us. When one gets that, he is more likely to help others.
Second, travelling that same Jericho to Jerusalem road, the Samaritan knew that it could have been him that was beat up. Likely, any Jew coming along would not have stopped. One never knows when the time comes that they will need help. It’s great to be a servant and God wants that from us. But, there comes a time when we must allow others the opportunity to serve. Sometimes our pride keeps that from happening. We don’t open up. We won’t allow others to help. We keep things close to the vest and much too often we suffer, when we wouldn’t have to.
God arranged for His children to help each other. Family, even spiritual, needs to step up and do their part. That’s the way God made things. We can count on each other. We are there for each other. We support each other. Most do not like asking for help. We’ve seen others who abused and took advantage of this. It seems like we’ve failed and not done our part, if we must ask for help. But there are times when the hole is too deep for us to crawl out of on our own. We need a helping hand to pull us up.
You will notice in the Lord’s story that the injured man never speaks a word. He never asks for help. He never says “thank you.” The Samaritan saw a need and he jumped into action. If we wait for a person to ask, sometimes they never will. If we only do good to get a shout out or a pat on the back, then our intentions are not as they should be.
The Samaritan showed the lawyer who is neighbor was. It was a stranger. Different in faith, different in background. And, the Samaritan showed what it means to love your neighbor. It means to put some action behind those words. It means to jump in and do what you can.
That’s love. We have a big family in Christ worldwide. There are folks needing help all the time. Keep your eyes open. Do what you can. Have compassion. Pray deeply.