As I walk through this season of life Jesus has shown me a love for the Parable of the Good Samaritan like never before.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan is a story that we are all too familiar with. We all would like to think that given the opportunity we would respond like the good samaritan so much so that there is a law named after this parable that protects the person trying to do the right thing. But why is that? Why do we all want to be the good Samaritan?
The parable begins with a lawyer asking Jesus the question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Then the lawyer went on to say that according to the scriptures, “he shall love the Lord his God with all his heart, soul, strength and mind and your neighbors as yourself.” Jesus said to him, “Do this and you will live.” But the lawyer tried to trick him [Jesus] and asked “Who is my neighbor?” Boy am I glad he asked!
Jesus said, ” A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead” (Luke 10:30). Wait a minute!! Is that not what the devil does to us? He robs our joy, takes all that we have leaving us feeling hopeless, beats us down with the afflictions of this world and just like a thief he departs leaving us half dead (John 10:10). How true is that of believers, we know there is a God who loves us and is for us but yet we let the enemy get the best of us. The enemy beats us down, tackles us with trials and afflictions and leaves us feeling half dead. We walk around like zombies halfway living and not enjoying the fullness of life. John 10:10 says, the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came to give us life and have it abundantly. The enemy (the devil) is the robber in this parable.
Now there is some beauty is being half dead and that is that the the enemy cannot fully kill us because we belong to Jesus. So what does the enemy do? He kills us halfway because we give him that much control over our lives. We let him to beat us down and allow him to take our joy and before we know it we find ourselves halfway dead!
As the parable goes on we see a Priest show up on the scene. The priest was a religious man, a jewish rabbi, a guy who knew and studied the scriptures, he read his Torah, the bible. The priest represents the church, the christians of our time. Because he was a priest we can assume he knew the greatest commandment of both the old and new testament and that is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. But what does this priest do? He gives this poor man what I call the “Christian Heisman”, the cold shoulder refusing to help and keeps walking! Excuse me, what?!
Here is someone who professes to know God and yet walks by the man who has been beaten down, robbed and left for halfway dead and is in desperate need of help.
Next, we met the Levite. The levites in the old testament were in charge of the tent, altar and sanctuary of God (Num 18). The church, the building where people came to worship, confess and offer their sacrifice. The Levites knew the way of the Lord. They were chosen, set apart to be a royal priesthood. The levite knew the greatest commandment, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself”, but yet he too walked by giving this man the “Christian Heisman” and had nothing to do with him! Again, what?! The levite worked in “ministry” for crying aloud!
Lastly, we meet the Samaritan. The Samaritan people were considered unclean, outcast, so much so that the jews did not associate with them. The Samaritan in this parable is the world, the unchurched, the non-believers, the unstudied, the ones that have not made a commitment to God, but yet he is the one that stops to help the man lying on the ground half dead. He sees a man that has been rob, beaten, and left for half dead and he shows compassion by binding his wounds and pouring oil and wine. Then takes him an inn to be taken care of and covers his medical bills.
When the world responds better than the church there is a problem!
When the world comes to the aid someone who has been hurt and church does not, there is a problem! I know what it’s like to be be halfway dead, to be beaten down and rob. I know what it’s like to be the man in story that is left for half dead. I know the kind of pain that is only there to remind you that you are still alive. When I found out I was pregnant I wanted to die! The joy that I had in Jesus left me. I was covered by fear and shame so much so that I honestly wished I was dead. I jokingly said to a friend, “I wish you would just shoot me!” The sad part was a I really wished she would but by God’s grace she said, ” I will not shoot two people!” I am so thankful for her response because in that moment I knew that life was no longer just about me. There was a precious soul growing inside of me and a Holy Spirit living in me that had greater things to accomplish through me.
I’m going to be bold and say that the priest and the levite knew what to do and yet walked on by and did not bother to help. As believers, we are the priest and the levite in the parable, we are church, we are those who know the scriptures, we are the ones who have made the commitment to follow the God of the bible. We are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). We have been given the greatest commandment. To love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love your neighbor as ourself, but when we chose to walk on and not help our wounded we are no different than world who does not know God.
Through my pregnancy I watched the church, a group of believers give me the “Christian Heisman” and want nothing to do with me because my sin did not fit into their box of ministry or their box of christianity. Yes, I was fired from my job, a Christ- Centered School in the West Dallas area for sinning and that was hurtful. I found myself pregnant, alone and jobless, but the most hurtful part was watching Christians exile me from the community because my sin did not fit the kind of imagine they were trying to uphold all while professing grace. The school went as far as to offer me money to keep quiet and disappear (more on that to come because that is a good story!). As the body of Christ I believe it is our job to love our wounded, not kick them while they are down. Jesus said, the world will know who my disciples are by the way the love one another (John 13:35).
As I finished reading through the parable of the good Samaritan I realized that I don’t want to be the samaritan in the story, but rather the priest. But a priest who does the right thing for I have been called to a chosen race, a holy nation, Royal Priesthood, a people for God’s own possession (1 Peter 2:9). I know the God who has called me to love Him and love my neighbor as myself. I pray that if I am ever in that situation that I would reach down and pick my somebody else up and remind them of their purpose and calling.