One of the most popular parables in the Bible is the Good Samaritan. What is Jesus trying to teach us? What does it mean to love your neighbor? Who is your neighbor? As Jesus often does, He takes it a step farther. This is not about salvation. Doing good deeds to your fellow man or woman does not save you. But it is the right thing to do. It is what a saved person would do. And as we discussed in the previous post, there are no excuses.
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.”
We all know the story of the Good Samaritan. Do we know what Jesus is teaching us? Do we do it? What is our attitude for helping others? Not only did he help him, but he went above and beyond. And the first thing Jesus said about him was that he had compassion.
Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
In other words, treat others how you want to be treated and don’t turn your back on someone in need no matter who it is, as the priest and Levite did.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?”
Jesus always takes things a step further. I think often His teaching is to show how we fall short and that is why we need His saving grace. But also it is show that we need to not just do something because it is what we are supposed to do, but because of the love in our hearts.
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” “YOU SHALL NOT MURDER,” “YOU SHALL NOT STEAL,” “YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS,” “YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
All the commandments are summed up as love God and love others. It is not only our actions, but our thoughts and our words.
For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
Being kind is not just actions. It is the words that we say. Words can cut deep and they can also lift up and encourage. What you choose to say to or about someone else can make a big impact on their lives. Love is shown by what we do and what we say. And it must come from the heart.
1 John 3:14-18
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
The evidence of our salvation will be shown in how we love others. The Holy Spirit will guide us to do what is right, to say the right things at the right time, and to help those who need it most. Sure, we will mess up, but with the right attitude, we will do the things that honors God. One day Jesus will come back to bring His people home. Those who trust in Him will spend eternity with Him. Those who trust in Him will want to do what is right and will help others. Jesus says what you do to others, you do to Him.
“Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’”
Let us be that Good Samaritan.