Yesterday, we talked about the long-standing hatred between the Jews and Samaritans, and we learned how radical it was for Jesus to infer that a Hebrew rabbi should consider a member of this hybrid race his neighbor. Today, I want to look at the parable of the Good Samaritan — the one that our Savior used to drive the point home. This ancient tale of compassion begins on the Jericho Road, which was a very steep and narrow passage between Jerusalem and Jericho that was, in some places, only 18 inches wide. It was a treacherous journey, and since the way was so slim, there’s no chance a passerby would have failed to notice a man lying on the road, especially one who was severely wounded and had the appearance of being “half dead.” However, due to his injuries and the possibility that he was deceased, he was considered ceremonially unclean in the eyes of Jewish law, which meant that he could not be touched. This is precisely why the priest and the Levite passed him by; it’s not that their hearts didn’t go out to him, it’s just that their affection for the rules was greater than their commitment to compassion. In a strange turn of events, a Samaritan came on the scene, and even though his culture was also bound by Torah, compassion prevailed in his heart, and he was moved to help the man. In a heroic effort, he bandaged up the traveler’s wounds and carried him to the nearest inn, which was at least 12 miles away. While this doesn’t seem like much to us today, it was easily a day-and-a-half-long journey, which meant that he forfeited whatever plans he had in order to be a minister of mercy to a member of an enemy race.
My friend, Jesus came to establish a kingdom of love, and compassion reigns supreme. Especially in hard times, it’s important to reach out to the ones who lie wounded on the road of pain and silently cry for help. While their hurt is not always obvious, you can pray for eyes to behold the people whose isolation is draining their very life-blood and let them know that they are seen and treasured. As a minister of Christ’s care, you have a powerful opportunity to bring His love to the marginalized in a manner that turns their hearts toward Heaven and leaves them wanting nothing more than to enter into a relationship with their Savior!