And behold a certain lawyer stood up and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, what is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, thou hast answered right; this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, and who is my neighbor? And Jesus answering said, a certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, 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 on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, he that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, go, and do thou likewise.
Looking at this passage, we see that on a certain occasion, an expert in the law wanted to test Jesus. And by test, I mean having the audacity to have a battle of the wits over pettiness. As we read this familiar passage, notice the lawyer's tactics with a series of questions. The first, “Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” We read Jesus answered him saying, “What is written in the law and how do you read it?” And if we wanted to contemporize it for today, we would say Jesus said “what does the book say and how do you understand it?” I can picture this lawyer standing there with his chest poked out because he was an expert in the law after all and he knew the answer he was about to give was “all good”. Jesus replied saying “you have answered right, do this and you will live.” However, the lawyer, feeling cockier and well-versed in “the law”, did not want to stop there. He just had to try for more praise and justification. He asks Jesus, “and who is my neighbor?”
There is no need to presume at this point, because this lawyer already knew the answer and had full knowledge of the law before he asked the question. Instead of focusing on the lawyer's behavior, let’s be glad today that God is a patient God. In our own lives, we go to God with many issues and many questions we already know the answer to! Sometimes the answer requires us to have to step out of the box and out of our comfort zones. Sometimes the answer requires us to lay aside our personal feelings to help someone else in need! Most times, all we have to do is be willing vessels and go where He sends us. Therefore, since we are believers (Christians) of the promises of the Most High God, denying ourselves and following Him daily, we have to lay aside our differences and our traditions and willingly help our fellow man. Our example of doing this is Jesus. He does not decide whether He is going to associate himself with us based on the neighborhoods we live in, the money we make, or the titles we hold. (Romans 2:11) My friends, that is something we can be glad about everyday!
As we continue to look at the scripture, we see Jesus answered the lawyer with a parable of a man choosing to travel down a questionable road. First, it is important to know that the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was a very steep and winding road, with lots of rocky ravines and caves that easily hid robbers. So not only would you have to contend with the rugged road as you travel, but you had to look out for the robbers! This piece of road was called the “Path of Blood”. The parable goes on to say that, a certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell-among thieves, who robbed him, beat him, and left him for dead.
Let us take a closer look at this nameless man falling for a minute. This man must have known the path he was taking was a dangerous one, and that he was going to encounter some problems along the way. Just as we walk along our journey of life, we know that the road will get rough. We know that we may run into unforeseen problems and they can overtake us. We often make life hard and stay on the cycle of self-destruction the enemy intended us to be on based on our mistakes. But we can be glad about it today because God is still on the throne. We ought to be glad about it because the Lord does not use our status or our poor decisions to judge whether He wants to help us. Friends, that part deserves an Amen. The parable goes on to talk about how this certain man laid out half-dead along the side of the road.
Friends, we may not be dead, but sometimes life beats us down in so many ways, we wish we were dead!
It says a certain priest passed him. In those days the priest represented the highest religious leadership among the Jews or as we would say today, he carried “some weight”. So, it should not have been a problem for him to help this nameless man. But he didn’t. The story goes on to say how a certain Levite, who also carried a little weight, being that he was an “associate” of the priest, passed by the nameless man too. But along came a certain Samaritan, an everyday guy with no social status or weight in the neighborhood. He saw this man on the side of the road and had COMPASSION for him.
The significance of this act is mighty because according to the way things were back then, Samaritans were not the kind of people one would readily want to associate with. This parable would have left the lawyer and all who heard Jesus tell the parable with a shock factor or dumbfounded, maybe even feeling a bit stupefied.
We can be glad about it today because when life had us down, we felt as if we were “kicked to the curb” and at the end of our road, the LORD had compassion on our souls! We can be glad about it today because through it all, the LORD, has kept us! We can be glad that the Lord is our provider; that the Lord is our waymaker; and that the Lord is our all in all! When we look back over our lives, we do not have to ask the question we already know the answer to, but we can truly say that the LORD has shown compassion for US. We can say unequivocally that we love him because Jesus picked us up, turned us around and He placed our feet on solid ground! His compassion for us saved us!
Are you glad about it today?
In His Service With Love,
Reverend D.A. Whitney is the Founding Partner of Blessed 4 Life Ministries (B4LM), host of “Let’s Be Blunt With The Rev” and co-host of “Chatting With The Whitney’s” on Impact Radio USA @ https://pod.co/blessed-4-life-ministries The Rev is the author of several books including “Overcoming Principalities”. Contact The Rev at www.blessed4lifeministries.com or at email@example.com