A Samaritan Kind of Love.
I’ve read it a few times. Heard the story countless times. Yet in a blink of an eye it all came to me in a fresh new way.
The words came popping off the page in a manner I never knew existed, they penetrated my soul giving me insight I thought only the holiest of priest might experience.
This good Samaritan was not just some guy. He didn’t just lend a hand to a poor dude. This story was more than a Sunday school tale told to keep the kids occupied. This was the gospel. This was knowledge vital to God’s people.
The story begins with an expert of the law asking Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. And if you zip by this sentence you might read that the question as just asking how to get to heaven. And quickly you think of what is the ticket to enter the holy gates. What is the checklist I must complete to earn my gift.
But as the words began to illuminate from the page, I read that sentence with a steadiness that revealed a new reading of those very words. The words were portraying a different question than was written. What if the man was actually asking, “How do we live as sons and daughters of God?” Because to be a child means u can inherit what your father has.
Jesus has the expert refer to the law that says “love your neighbor as yourself.” But the expert asks who is his neighbor? It is in this moment that the page took completely new form.
Jesus maps out to his people exactly who our neighbors are and what it means to be a child of His. He begins speaking prophetically of what environment we will meet our neighbors. He tells them of the people they will see pass the neighbor and not take care of him. We will see priest, the men we expect to stop because they speak the word, they are the church, they are the healers. But they won’t be the ones who stop and take care of the broken neighbor. You will see a Levite or a man of the law, the men we expect to stop because they know the law, they know more than anyone the unlawfulness of stealing. But they won’t be the ones to stop and take care of the robbed neighbor.
He then prophesies that the man who will stop will be the Samaritan. The Samaritan, hated for his ethnicity. The Samaritan, the “half-breed” hated by Jews. The Samaritan, ostracized from society because of his bloodline.
The Samaritan’s willingness and strength to help the presumed Jew lying on the outskirts of society, would come from his ability to empathize with the man.
Empathy, the same noun that lead Jesus to walk among us before He took the cross, so that he may “vicariously experience the feelings, thoughts and life of another”.
“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him”.
– Luke 10: 33
It is here Jesus calls us to draw on pity, ” a feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by suffering or misfortune of others.” Defining His children as the ones who had mercy on the man, “compassionate treatment of those in distress.” Our Father, concerned with transforming our hearts into malleable organs that are more earnest to distribute authentic love than blood.
With hearts made ready, Jesus then gives clear instruction on how to actively serve our neighbor. First, He tells us to tend to the wounds, bandaging and placing oil on the torn skin of the persecuted. Being sure to not ignore the pain right in front of us. Then He tells us to put him on our donkey, and carry them on our own strength. Being sure to be the mode of transportation to the immobilized. Then He tells us to take him into the inn and take care of him. Being sure to provide a space to be tended to. Then he asks us to look after the hurt and persecuted. Being sure they can be looked after for the entire course of their recovery. Finally He is sure to ask us to pay the extra expenses for their healing. Being sure we pay the price for them, using our resources when they have been robbed.
Jesus ends the lesson with the simple commandment, “Go and do likewise.” A sentence not a question. He has not asked us to do this for our neighbors, but rather commands us with urgency to serve our neighbors in such a manner. Reminding us that this is not to be done in the future nor the near future, but this minute.
We ask our Father, ” What do you desire of your daughter? What do you desire of your son?”
And replies, “Serve your sister. Serve your brother.”