And he said, “The one having shown compassion toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “You go and do likewise.” Luke 10:37
“Jesus was radical in the way He taught about love for one’s neighbor and the implications for those who desire to partake of the eternal life that God promises. The ones in the story [Luke 10:25-37] who appear to be “in” are “out” and the one who is “out” is “in.” The priest and the Levite are insiders—those who are closest to following God’s law and presumably closest to understanding and receiving eternal life. However, they are really “out” because they fail to perceive the significance of expressing their love for God through an act of kindness to a fellow human being. Proper belief was insufficient.
When the priest and Levite saw the wounded man, they crossed to the other side of the road, continuing their busy lives of service for God. They were unaware of how this lack of compassion affected their standing in the eyes of the One they were committed to serve. The Samaritan is the outsider—the one who is furthest away from God and eternal life—but in the eyes of Jesus, he’s “in” because he gets it. The Samaritan has every reason to reject this wounded Israelite whose people have vilified his, yet he demonstrates that his affections and care for another person created in God’s image are appropriately ordered. He cares for the wounded man, seeking His good and invests time, money, and energy. He may even risk his own safety. The picture is extraordinary. It’s a picture of the condition of the heart…
Jesus chose the Good Samaritan as the hero. The one who is unorthodox according to the law is living in a way that captures the essence of what is important to God. Jesus didn’t tell us to be like the priest or the Levite. Jesus declared that it is better to reject religious duty than to neglect a deed of mercy. He pointed to the actions of the Good Samaritan and said, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). Note that the words of Jesus charge us to “go and do” not “go and believe.”
Paula Fuller in “Participating in God’s Mission” in The Kingdom Life: A Practical Theology of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2016) 205-206.
Our lack of compassion reveals the condition of our heart.
This is a powerful reading. Compassion is what the Good Samaritan extended to the hurting person through his actions.
What do your actions reveal about your heart?
I am reflecting on how my actions reflect the condition of my heart as I rest over the weekend in the mountains. Go and do likewise.
And let us be sure that our reflection results in compassionate action.