Luke 10:29-37 – But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins 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.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Perhaps fearing that he may condemn himself if he’s pressed closely on it, our lawyer friend moves quickly away from the first and greatest commandment and raises a question about the second great command.  He was INTENT ON JUSTIFYING HIMSELF.  He wasn’t willing to speak any further on the topic of loving God supremely, but, on the matter of his neighbor, he was sure that he measured up.  It’s helpful for us to be aware that Jewish teachers had corrupted this command to be binding except for when it came to the Gentiles.  Loving their neighbors was only for those of their own nation and religion.  Gentiles were not considered to be their neighbors.  They would not put an Israelite to death for killing a Gentile, nor would they go out of their way to save a Gentile in danger of death.  They felt no obligation to help save his life.  Under this social and religious structure and environment, it is easy to see that the lawyer may feel quite confident that he could justify himself.

However, our Lord corrected his improper notion with a parable which represented a poor Jew who had fallen victim to thieves, who stripped him of his clothes, beat him senseless and left him half dead along the road.  Indignation toward the highwaymen who so brutally treated this man would be totally justifiable, and COMPASSION FOR THE VICTIM should also be rightly expected.  Sadly, this victim of wicked men was slighted by those who should have been his friends, who were not only men of his own nation and religion, but one of them was a priest and the other was a Levite.  Both were men of high public and religious status, who professed noble attributes and character.  They were the models and teachers for their people.  They happened to travel the same road, and when they saw the beaten man they passed by on the other side of the road.  They got as far away from the man as fast as they could.  It’s a sad indictment when those who should be examples of the mercies of God, cruelly turn their backs and refuse to act with the compassion they teach others to act upon.
It was a stranger, a SAMARITAN, from the nation the Jews detested above all others, who opened his heart of compassion without worrying about nationality or race.  He did not see a Jew, he saw a man, a man in deep trouble.  The Samaritan obviously knew that this poor fella could have been him, and therefore he took pity on him as he would have liked to have been pitied if it he had been the victim of such brutality.  Notice five things: 1) He WENT to the poor man, whom the priest and Levite kept at a distance from.  2) He gave him first aid – he used his own resources, washed his wounds with wine and poured oil over them for healing and he bandaged them.  3) He put the man on his own donkey, went on foot himself, and took him to an inn.  He used his own means of transportation and delayed his own agenda to help with a more urgent need.  4) He took care of him at the inn, got him a bed, made sure he was properly fed and looked after, and maybe even prayed with him.  5) He left a generous amount of money with the inn keeper, to be used for the care of this wounded soul, with promise of more should it be needed.  All of this kind and generous behavior was the act of a stranger!  Which one of the three was the neighbor?  The one who wanted to justify himself was told, “Go and do likewise.”

Thursday: Meet together with at least 1 or 2 other believers to enter the Throne Room of Grace.

Friday: Pray for the Good News families of the week: John & Carol George, Matt & Megan George (Nicole, ?), Pete & Laurel George (Annabeth, Luke, Josiah)

Saturday:Praise God for the gift of life, health and compassion!

Sunday: Worship the One who has tended to the needs of souls who have been beaten down by Satan.

Monday: Love God with all your heart and soul, mind and strength!

Tuesday:Love your neighbors and do unto them as you would have them do unto you!

Wednesday:Celebrate the love and compassion of God as you care for your neighbor’s soul.

 

Prayer Challenge: Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Colossians 3:12-17

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