But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved to pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. (Luke 10:33)
There’s more going on in the story of the Good Samaritan than we might initially see.
The obvious point is that Jesus wants us to act like the Samaritan, who tended to the man who had been beaten, stripped, robbed, and left to die by the roadside.
The less obvious point has an edge to it. To understand this edge, we need to know that the Jews despised the Samaritans. The Samaritan in this story—the supposed unholy outsider—does the holy work of taking care of his neighbor, whereas the supposed holy ones—the priest and the Levite—don’t.
The edge in this story reminds us that insiders can sometimes forget what it means to follow God and that outsiders sometimes need to remind them. Few of the insiders in Jesus’ days were glad to receive this reminder.
Recently I was praying with this story and saw something I’d never seen before. We’re like that man who was beaten, stripped, and robbed. What the Good Samaritan did for that man in the parable Jesus does for us. He sees us, has compassion for us, picks us up, bandages us, heals us, and pays for us.
How does Jesus do all that? By allowing Himself to become beaten, robbed, stripped, and killed for us.
When we remember all that Jesus has done for us, we’ll be encouraged to reach out to the lost and lonely and beaten around us, not out of duty but out of gratitude for what we have already received.
When we remember all that Jesus has done for us, we’ll be encouraged to never consider any other child of God to be an outsider to God’s love and grace.
- What do you think Jesus wants you to learn from the parable of the Good Samaritan?
- Do you know someone who moves you to pity? Someone, you need to pick up, bandage, and provide for so that they can be healed? Who do you need to be a Good Samaritan for?
- Do you identify with that broken, stripped, and bruised man on the side of the road? If so, are you willing to ask for help? Could your own Good Samaritan not be an insider but an outsider?