It’s been interesting with Covid this past year.  We now wear masks and social distance all for ours and the other man’s good.

When I go running and I see another pedestrian coming my way, we no longer pass each other on the sidewalk.  One of you must venture out onto the road so that you are far enough away to maintain social distancing.  

It’s all about keeping your distance.  Your good and the other man’s good.  Stay away from anyone lest you get infected with what infects them.

This week as I continue my painfully slow reading through the book of Luke, I came across the parable of the Good Samaritan. 

It’s a pretty common story but in case you are unfamiliar, it’s about this guy – a Jew.  Jews and Samaritans had no use for each other.

So this Jew gets robbed, beaten and left for dead.

One man, a priest, sees him and goes to the other side of the street to avoid being anywhere near him.

Another man, a Levite, does the exact same thing. 

Interesting…a priest is one who represents God and a Levite is someone who has been set apart to do religious things.

Both of these men are spiritual guys, presumed to be living a life of serving God and yet they both avoided him.  They crossed the street not thinking about the other man’s good.

They both chose not to love.

the other man's good

The beaten man would have had every right to expect these guys to help him since their life was supposed to be devoted to serving God.  

Yet he lay there in agony and watched them walk by…not just tip toe around him but cross to the other side to get as far away from him as possible.  

Finally a third man comes walking along. 

A Samaritan. 

If the beaten man was coherent enough he would have seen this man coming and held absolutely no hope at all since the two groups of people hated each other. 

He would have assumed that he, too, would cross to the other side of the road.  

But this Samaritan, this man, he SAW him and he looked and took pity…he felt sorry for him.  Human to human.  No Jew or Samaritan titles.  

He dealt with his wounds, his active hurts, places still losing blood.  He sacrificed his own oil and wine to help heal someone else.  

He put the man on HIS donkey…the one HE should be riding. 

the other man's good
He touched him,
lifted him,
struggled for him,
maybe got blood on himself…
all for the other man’s good.

At the Inn, he PAID for him.  Took on debt for this man’s well-being.  He did whatever was necessary.  

Maybe he couldn’t stay and do it all himself but he did what was required to complete the mission of healing and restoration.  He delegated some of his mission to the innkeeper.

After the story, Jesus asks who was a neighbor to the man.  The answer was obvious – the one closest, the who helped, the one who didn’t cross to the other side. 

The neighbor was the man who had mercy.

“Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:37.  Yep.  Go and have mercy.  

Don’t just learn and study and read
but walk on the same side
of people who are broken
and need healing. 

Think about the other man’s good.

You don’t need to be a priest, or a Levite, or some religious expert.  You just have to have mercy.  No studying or degree required for that.  

It doesn’t matter if someone is different, wounded, unliked, not like us…we’re just supposed to love. 

Maybe a question Jesus could have asked is, “Who is the beaten man in your life?”

I’m guessing He would have said, “Anyone you try to avoid.  Anyone you see as not worthy of mercy.  Anyone that you cross to the other side of the street in life to avoid.”

I can think of a few people who I do these things to.  Can you?

Notice that the good Samaritan didn’t ask the man questions to see if he qualified for mercy.  He didn’t try to find out the backstory or if he contributed to the problem. 

He saw the hurt and he simply got his hands dirty.

As I was praying in my journal after reading this, another thought hit me.  One that I have never ever realized in my whole life.  

This whole time, I’ve been reading the gospels to get rid of any of the thinking I’ve had about God my entire life.  I’ve been reading it with no commentary or teaching. 

I just want to see what God is like.  That’s it.  

If I found the Bible in the desert and had never seen it before and had no one to teach it to me, what would I think of God after reading it?

“Oh, my God.  You.  You are the good Samaritan.  How did I never see this before?  You stay on the side of the broken.  You don’t walk away or around.  You do everything for our healing.  Pay whatever, enlist others.  You have mercy.

You don’t need to ask questions to see if someone qualifies. You don’t ask questions to see if I qualify. 

You don’t try to find out our backstory in order to establish if we brought this hurt on ourselves.  

Oh, my God. 

You see the hurt and

you simply get your hands dirty.”

All for the other man’s good.

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 

31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 

32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 

33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 

34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 

35 The next day he took out two denarii[a] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

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