Although the Parable of the Good Samaritan is familiar to us, what is the important meaning that Jesus would have us to know?
To the Jews, the very name of “Samaritan” was unspeakable! Yet this despised and rejected man, a Samaritan, showed by his actions of unselfish love that he was better at loving his neighbor than the other Jewish leaders!
Jesus would have the lawyer see that by asking such questions, the lawyer was the priest and Levite, and therefore would miss totally the real “Good Samaritan” – Jesus Himself! Jesus was “despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:6) Jesus came to where the broken and hurting people were and gave of Himself to help them. Jesus came to give both actions and words!
In a much greater way, Jesus came to all who hated Him, while we were dead in trespasses and sins! By nature, all of us were enemies of God, doomed to eternal life in hell. Because of sin we had no hope of eternal life, no matter what we tried to do! Therefore, God came to us in our greatest need. And God spared no expense. God’s Word tells us clearly: “…while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son…” (Romans 5:10). Jesus is truly the greatest “Good Samaritan”! Jesus spared no expense in order to be our “Good Samaritan!”
Today, as always, this saving knowledge of what God has done for us comes through faith. The lawyer asked the wrong question when he asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Instead, we should ask: “What has Jesus done in order that we might receive eternal life?” It is through faith that the Holy Spirit leads us to confess: “He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. Because of His grace He made us right in His sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” (Titus 3:5-7)
And now instead of asking the question, “Who is my neighbor?” we ask the correct question: “How can I be a neighbor?” And the answer comes as Jesus again reminds us that He is the Real “Good Samaritan” who has provided for all our needs, so that now, through faith active in love we might put away our excuses, repent of the times we have “passed by” on the other side of those who are in need, and through God’s love that flows through us, we might heed Jesus’ command: “Go and do likewise.”
God’s blessings this week as we “serve our neighbors”. (PASTOR DAN MYERS)