And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Just like the lawyer, we know all of the right answers. Maybe the lawyer also knew the answer to the last question he posed to Jesus, or maybe he didn’t. Either way for us, there’s no harm in answering, “Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him,“Go and do the same.”
Put yourself in the man’s shoes. If you were left naked, beaten, and half dead on a road, how would you feel? Of course you would feel helpless and in need of compassion. You would need just one person to help you. It wouldn’t matter who the person was, you would just need anyone. No matter of race, social standing, wealth, or age, all you would long for is some one to see you.
That’s what compassion is – putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and thinking, “What if this was my situation?” For most of us, if we put ourselves in a horrible situation, we would want nothing more than a person to just reach out and help us without asking questions, but just simply caring and having compassion. That’s what the good Samaritan did. He didn’t think twice about it; he just helped. He met a need. He saw that a man was suffering, knew he needed help, and so, he did what he could. He went out of his way. His love for his neighbor was a sacrificial love. He did what it took to help, and then he went above and beyond.
When’s the last time you went out of your way to love your neighbor?
Your neighbor is anyone who is on the same path you are on. Your path may be different every day or it may be the same. You may run into complete strangers daily, or you may see the same people as part of your routine. Whatever it is, they are all your neighbors. The good Samaritan kept his eyes open as he went on his way. He saw and responded to a man who needed love and compassion.
Brother and sister, do you see a helpless soul who needs your love today? Don’t be like the priest or the Levite. We know the right answers. We know we must love our Lord and love our neighbor. Your actions of love will speak loudly to those in need. And what better example to follow than the example Jesus displayed for us on the cross. Remember Him today and keep your eyes open for those who may need you!
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.