Luke 10:25-37: “Compassion from an Unexpected Source”
“And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What is your reading of it?’ So, he answered and said, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ And He said, ‘You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.’ But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’
“Then Jesus answered and said, ‘A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise, a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.
“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 10:25-37, NKJV).
At the time that this article is being written, the country is undergoing riots, intimidation by radical groups focused on destruction and anarchy, political savagery, a war on law enforcement, rank hatred bordering on the demonic towards our leaders, and a continual stoking of the fires of an ungodly resolution to bring this nation to the point of destruction. What we are witnessing has its roots in pure hatred and blindness to the needs of others within our respective communities.
In terms of biblical prophecy, it is this type of situation that will be a major factor in bringing about the rise and rule of whom Paul refers to in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-11 as the “man of lawlessness” or “the Beast” of Revelation 13:1-10. We have had periods of demonstrations, both good and bad in this country, but the borderline chaos we are watching unfold is closer to the words of Scripture than at any other time in civilization. The mantra of the revolutionaries is “racism” and a shaming of citizens whose only crime is to have a different skin color or background that, to many ideologues, smacks of “privilege,” and an excuse to spread more hatred and mistrust among the citizens of the U.S. This ugly harvest of contempt is spreading throughout the world as well, and there seems to be no viable solution that can be offered on enacted.
Hatred, prejudice, mistrust, violence, and a desire to rid the world of those with alternate viewpoints is nothing new (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Unfortunately, prejudice has flourished under the guise of religion, and in the time of Jesus, there was bitter animosity between the Jews and their neighbors the Samaritans. The Samaritans had their origin in the time of the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, which had been steeped in idolatry and apostasy ever since it split from the southern kingdom of Judah and established by Jeroboam I (1 Kings 12).
Israel fell to the Assyrians approximately around 750 B.C. The Assyrian king sent colonists to inhabit the land (2 Kings 17:24-41; John 4:9). After the exilic period (530 B.C. (est.), the people of Samaria in the time of Zerubbabel the priest, sought to form an alliance with the returning Israelites from their captivity in Babylon, but were rejected (Ezra 4:2-3). Instead of worshipping God at the newly rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, they built an alternate temple on Mount Gerizim, which was later destroyed by Jewish zealots around 200 B.C. This resulted in a bitter and hateful feud between the two nationalities that was still around in the days of Jesus.
The mutual hatred had been passed down through the generations, so when the Lord Jesus made the Samaritan traveler the hero of the story instead of His own countrymen, it no doubt sent what would be termed “shock waves” throughout the people who had listened to Him. It would have the same effect on a modern audience as a man wearing a MAGA hat coming to the aid of a member of ANTIFA who had been seriously injured in a demonstration, and out of compassion, gets the radical to a hospital. A couple of generations ago, the idea of a black man coming to the aid of a member of the KKK would have sent the crowd into a probable state of frenzy. Those of you reading this can probably think of some examples that would apply to your life or to someone you know.
This parable is the foundation for the concept of hospitals and their development over time. It was the benevolent acts of Christians during the days of Roman persecution who brought the sick and injured into their homes to provide care that was non-existent to the pagan world, where the unfortunate were often left to die and be subject to the forces of nature and chance. Many hospitals today were founded or are governed by various Christian denominations and were a form of ministerial outreach to the sick and injured, providing physical and spiritual care to the patients and their immediate family or caretakers. The concept of Christian rescue missions throughout the United States was for the rehabilitation and salvation of those who were destitute, helpless, addicted, and abused.
As a former mission pastor, I have seen the dedication and compassion of believers and personnel towards those who lost everything, came to Christ, and restarted their lives for the better, something that the world in and of itself does not seem to demonstrate at times.
Another point to consider is that this parable puts the idea of self-centeredness to death and makes us realize that we are not the center of all being and not “Number 1” as some so-called “self-help” books promote.
We are to think of others and be considerate to their needs as the situation presents itself. This is a major step towards a virtue this nation is sadly lacking, and that is maturity. Nobody wants to grow up and take responsibility for themselves or set aside personal ambitions and ideas in order to come to the assistance of someone in need or some other situation. There are very few people today who would set aside their personal goals and focus on another person’s welfare and chance to have hope and sometimes a reason to keep going. They exist but get little attention in a world where “selfies” are the norm today.
The story of the “Good Samaritan” is about concern and care for someone in need at the expense of your own comfort or reputation. This was the case for a brilliant diagnostician and medical researcher named Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981). His mind was such that he earned his M.D. degree before he was twenty and had been an assistant to the physician of the English Royal Family. Dr. Lloyd-Jones’ budding medical career seemed to be destined for greatness and a sound reputation as one of the UK’s best physicians.
Over time, he saw that these doctors and teachers, as well as the patients whom they were caring for, all had a common trait in that, while they were successful, they were not happy. He felt the same way about his own future and then wondered about where the idea of God fit into all of it. He had believed for years that he was a Christian due to faithful church attendance and religious instruction from his parents and pastors. After a long period of thought and contemplation, he came to the realization that he was not a true follower of Jesus Christ.
Lloyd-Jones got married to Bethan Philips, who was also a practicing physician and one of the first women in the UK to hold that distinction, and later were both drawn to receive Christ as Lord and Savior, figuring that they could serve Him in the field of medicine. This was not to be, as he felt a call to preach. He wrestled with the idea for weeks and lost twenty pounds due to the stress of the decision. He did surrender to the gospel ministry, gave up a thriving practice, and he was soon called to a church in Sandfield, Port Talbot, Wales, a poor mining area where there was a plague of alcoholism and other troubles.
For eleven years (1927-1938), he faithfully preached the gospel and was afterwards called to the Westminster Chapel in London as pastor, staying there from 1939 until 1968. Lloyd-Jones gave up a life of probable luxury and riches to be a “doctor of souls” for generations and is considered one of the twentieth century’s greatest preachers.
It is also obvious that when we look closely at the character of the Samaritan as compared to the religious figures, we are seeing that it is our LORD who picks us up from the side of the road, battered and bleeding from sin, cares for us, and sees to our needs in times of despair. By His death on the cross for our sins, He did what no other religion or leader could ever hope to accomplish, and that was to redeem us because we can’t in any way do it on our own (Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:8-9). If He was willing to do that for us who were His enemies (Romans 5:6-11), then those of us who are His disciples need to put away the things that keep us fixed on self and comfort, grow up, and go to the Jericho Road. There is always someone needing help.