I love the story of the Good Samaritan.
Most of the times I’ve read that story or heard it taught the application is to be more like the Good Samaritan. We are called to reach out to those in need. Jesus wants us to be a true neighbor to everyone in our lives. We should do whatever we can to place the needs of others above our own.
Those are all fine applications. In fact, if that’s all I ever learned from the story of the Good Samaritan then I would be better off for it.
As I was reading through it recently, though, I saw that we could see ourselves in all of the characters in the parable.
We can definitely see ourselves as the Good Samaritan, reaching out to those in need.
We can also see ourselves as the priest and the Levite, ignoring the needs of others. Unfortunately, I must confess, I have been the priest and the Levite far more than I have been the Good Samaritan.
We might actually have the most in common with the man who was attacked, though.
I’ve never been mugged, beaten up and left on the side of the road. I can’t see myself in the man in that way.
When I look at my life, though, I have very often felt like I was lying alone on the side of the road, helpless to improve my situation. We have been so beaten and broken by sin that we are all like the man who was attacked. Sin beats us down, breaks our will, separates us from God and then leaves us alone on the side of the road.
And if it weren’t for Jesus, the true Good Samaritan, then that’s were we would still find ourselves. The religious systems that had come before Jesus, the priests and the Levites, weren’t enough to pick us up and heal our wounds. We need Jesus to come along, to take us in his arms, place our needs above his own and nurse us back to health. Instead of healing our wounds in a hotel room, Jesus healed them on a cross.
We should definitely follow the example of the Good Samaritan. We need to remember, though, that we can only do that because Jesus rescued us from the side of the road. We were mugged by sin, beaten and broken beyond recognition. But just like Jesus reached out to us and placed our needs above his own, we can do the same for those around us.
Where do you see yourself in the story of the Good Samaritan?