“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, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii 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.’” …
Wouldn’t it be great if, when the world thought about Christians and the church, the first images in their minds were of selfless acts of compassion? I think Jesus would be pleased if the people called by his name were known best for love and service, like the Samaritan in this parable. Of course, many Christians do give of themselves in wonderfully loving ways. There are orphanages and homeless shelters run and funded by followers of Jesus. There are medical clinics and facilities that care for pregnant women and their children, also operated by people who serve in the name of Jesus. There are churches that reach out to their communities in sacrificial ways to lift up the hurting and care for those who suffer. Jesus’ followers show compassion in many ways that the world may overlook or choose to ignore, but we also need to admit that we often fall short of loving as purely and as selflessly as Jesus wants us to.
The Samaritan in Jesus’ parable gets love right from beginning to end. First, he sees the injured man and feels compassion for him. We know from the first part of this story (and from the experience of our own lives) that it’s easy to look the other way when someone is in need, but the Samaritan sees the man, takes pity, and goes to care for him. He bandages the man’s wounds, touching him with healing love. Then the Samaritan carries him from that desolate place to an inn where he can be tended to and watched overnight. He even pays for the man’s care, promising to return and cover any additional expenses. What extraordinary compassion! What generous love!
Jesus told this story to show us what love looks like. It looks like hands that heal. It looks like time and expense given without complaint. It looks like carrying someone who can’t carry himself. It looks like a promise to keep loving, far beyond obligation and to the point of full restoration. That’s the type of love Jesus shows us. He came into our world with healing power and compassion for those who suffer. He walked alongside broken people, giving them hope by pointing them toward a better life. He gave up his own life to save us, offering us the greatest gift of love the world has ever known. Now, Jesus calls us to love others in his name, and when we do, the world catches a glimpse of God’s compassionate heart.
Lord, You are perfect in love and full of mercy toward people in need. Thank You for seeing my needs and lifting me up. Show me how I can spread Your love to others and offer compassion in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian