The story of The Good Samaritan in the Bible is truly fascinating. Jesus tells this parable in response to being asked about how to receive eternal life. The man who asked the question knew the law and understood that he was to love God with all his heart and love his neighbor as himself. But, because that’s such an uncomfortable thing to do, the man sought some clarification. He asked Jesus who his neighbor was. And Jesus’s response was illuminating.
“Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”” Luke 10:30-37 (ESV)
Jews hated Samaritans. Samaritans hated Jews. They had been taught all their lives that the other was their enemy. Yet, this is the image that Jesus gives us of how to love our neighbors. We love our neighbors when we love those who are the opposite of us. It’s really easy to love those who think like us, but it’s really hard to love those with whom we disagree.
Today I am praying:
- That God would expose and heal any hatred or prejudice in my heart preventing me from loving others
- That those who I have been taught to hate would come to know Jesus and experience his freedom
- That the church would be filled with loving neighbors like The Good Samaritan
What is God saying to you?