But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:33-37 (NKJV)
After the priest and Levite had left, a Samaritan came by. Now if there was anyone in the world that Jews hated, it was the Samaritans. The Jews considered Samaritans to be half-breeds, both physically and spiritually. Basically, Samaritans were the descendants of Jews who had intermarried with pagans who had been brought into Samaria by the Assyrians. The Jews also considered the Samaritans to be opportunists. When the Jews were prospering, the Samaritans would want to take part in this prosperity by emphasizing their Jewish lineage. However when thing were going bad for the Jews the Samaritans would stay far away emphasizing their non-Jewish lineage.
Those listening to Jesus tell this story probably thought the real villain of the story had just arrived. Imagine Jesus telling this story today and saying that first a pastor walked by without helping the wounded man. Then a deacon walked by without helping wounded man. Then Osama Bin-Laden came by…Those listening to Jesus probably expected this Samaritan to walk over and stab the man to finish him off or do something horrible to make his suffering worse. Instead, Jesus shocks His listeners by having the Samaritan as the good guy.
It is important to notice the Samaritan’s response to this poor man. He not only sees him, but he sees in a way the others did not, he sees with compassion. This compassion motivates him to do something to help this man. He gets personally involved in this man’s life. He bandages his wounds, pours his own oil and wine on the wounds, puts him on his own donkey and then takes him to an inn where he continued to take care of him. The next day he pays the innkeeper to take care of him and says that if the bill runs higher he will take care of it when he comes back.
For the Samaritan to help this man he had to spend a good deal of time. This wasn’t something that was over in a couple of minutes. Not only that, but he also had to get involved in the messiness of life. This wasn’t a clean sort of help. He had to bandage up this man’s wounds. He even put the man on his own donkey and walked him to the inn in town. He got personally involved in what had to be a messy, uncomfortable situation. There was also a significant cost associated with this. The oil and wine he used probably wasn’t cheap. He also paid the innkeeper the equivalent of 2 days wages and promised to pay more if the need was there.
The Samaritan’s attitude was, “I’ll do whatever it takes to help this guy out.” He was willing to sacrifice time, comfort and money to help out this man in need. This is the attitude that Jesus wants us to have. Jesus tells us at the end of the story to go and do likewise. Go and do for others as the Samaritan did. This is what it looks like when we love our neighbor’s, as we love ourselves. When we love our neighbor’s as we love ourselves then we will get involved to help them. This is how we should want our lives to be. This is how we must be if we are going to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We need a love for others that compels us to help them in their time of need. It’s not enough to say, “I love you. Sure hope things get better for you.” We have to do what we can to help them. This will require us to get out of our comfort zones and risk getting involved in people’s lives.
Words without actions are virtually meaningless.
“If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?” James 2:15-16 (NKJV)
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you.” Proverbs 3:27-28 (NKJV)
“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10 (NKJV)
“When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” Matthew 14:13-14 (NKJV)
Loving our neighbor means helping them in their time of need.