The Good Samaritan story may be so familiar we have forgotten its importance. Pastor Matt Cumberland preached a sermon recently on Luke 10:25-37, where Jesus illustrates what it looks like to love your neighbor as yourself. In the story, a Jewish man is attacked by bandits and left for dead on the side of the road. Two religious leaders pass by the wounded man, avoiding him as they continued on their way.
I was reminded of this two weeks ago at Devoe Beach, when a pontoon boat ignored my little niece’s floaty tube that had drifted out of the buoy area. My brother-in-law had to paddle a raft way out and back to get it, and he did not feel loved by his “neighbors” on the pontoon.
Back to Luke 10, it is not a religious ruler or even a Jewish citizen who helps the victim on the road. It is a Samaritan who has compassion. The Jews and Samaritans generally despised each other. We read in John’s Gospel, “The Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans” (4:9). So, it is all the more remarkable that it was a Samaritan who stops to help the suffering one: “He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him” (Luke 10:34). Beyond this, the Samaritan paid for the man’s lodging and further care.
What a picture of loving your neighbor as yourself. It’s taking care of someone the way you would want to be cared for. Probably most significant is that Jesus implies everyone is our neighbor. Even those we disagree with or prefer not to be around. May God give us grace to really love all our neighbors.