Jesus exhibited compassion for the weary and hungry multitude because they were “like sheep without a shepherd.” His compassion for a blind beggar and his buddy moved Jesus to graciously grant them 20-20 vision. And Jesus disrupted a funeral procession because He had compassion on a broken-hearted widow.
In Luke’s tenth chapter Jesus told a story of a good neighbor and concluded with an emphatic command to be compassionate.
It all started with a religious pin-head who wanted to paint Jesus into a theological corner.
When Jesus led him to summarize the law, he got it right. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,” and “your neighbor as yourself.” ... “But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ ” (Luke 10:27-29, CSB).
To answer his question, Jesus told the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
You know the story. Bandits attacked and robbed a traveler. “They stripped him, beat him up, and fled, leaving him half dead” (Luke 10:30, CSB).
First a priest came along but ignored the plight of the dying man.
Next a member of the tribe of Levi passed by. The Levites served in the temple. If the priest could be compared to a modern-day pastor, then the Levite could be compared to a deacon. The Levite did the same thing the priest had done. He snubbed the poor fellow and left him in the puddle of blood.
Then, Jesus said, a Samaritan appeared. The Samaritans were the hated half-breed Assyrian/Jewish mongrels. A Jew would cross the street so that he didn’t have to be near a Samaritan. Jews were more prejudiced than the 1960’s KKK in the deep south.
But Jesus said it was a Samaritan that stopped to help the brutalized traveler.
“When he saw the man, he had compassion. He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him. When I come back I’ll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend’ ” (Luke 10:33-35, CSB).
That’s an example of compassion!
After painting this picture, Jesus told the religious leader to “Go and do the same” (Luke 10:37, CSB). Jesus commanded him, just as He commands us.
Love like the Samaritan! Be compassionate!
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor