I was in Newcastle, Northern Ireland, to speak at a pastor’s conference. In an opening session, the Rev. Colin Woods, a veteran Christian leader from Northern Ireland, shared a brief devotional. For me personally, it was one of the highlights of my time there.
Like so many, I’ve heard numerous devotionals and sermons on the Parable of the Good Samaritan as recorded in Luke 10. This one was distinctly different. Although many years have passed, I still clearly recall the main points Colin presented. In the parable, Jesus told the story of a traveler and the different types of people he met on his journey. As the Jewish traveler was going up to Jerusalem, he encountered three types of people:
- First, robbers met him. The traveler “fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead” (v30). This type of person says, “What’s yours is mine – I’m going to take it.”
- Secondly, two religious men came by. “Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side” (v31-32). This type says, “What’s mine is mine – I’m going to keep it.”
- The third type that came by was a Samaritan. Samaritans were an ethnic group who were hated and despised by Jews. “But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 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. And the next day he took out two denari and gave to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back” (v33-35). This type of person says, “What’s mine is yours – I’m going to share it.”
Jesus spoke the parable in response to a lawyer who was seeking to trap and embarrass Him in public. The lawyer had apparently asked in derision, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus turned the tables by sharing the parable and then asking the lawyer, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” The lawyer now had little choice but to respond, “The one who showed mercy.” Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
As we journey through life, we encounter many people in need of our compassion. May I ask you which of these three are you? Your answer, in large measure, will determine if you inherit eternal life.
Prayer: Lord, may I be like the Good Samaritan. May I have compassion and show mercy even as you showed compassion and mercy to me.
~ Brother Roy