What is my responsibility to other people? - The Parable of the Good Samaritan
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 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 was attacked by 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, 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.’ “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.”
~Luke 10:25-37 (NIV)
Compassion literally means “suffer with.” God calls us to come alongside of people who are suffering and suffer with them so they are not alone. It doesn’t mean we can fix the problem, but it does mean we can enter into their pain. Before we act on or practice this belief, we must believe it is God’s call on the life of all Christ followers. When we believe this in our heart, we will show compassion to all people, especially to those in need.
Throughout history God has graciously shown compassion for his people, with the ultimate demonstration being the sacrifice of his only Son, Jesus Christ. Because the only just response to the sins of humankind was death, our just God, according to his righteousness, issued the death penalty on us. Then, out of his grand compassion, he offered Jesus as a “substitutionary atonement”—that is, Jesus took humanity’s place. Through this one act God demonstrated his complete compassion without budging an inch on his complete justice. We who are guilty are made just by the sacrifice of the only person who was completely righteous.
Often misunderstood as a story about helping the needy, the primary point of this parable was to define the “neighbor” that the Torah commanded one to love. This parable was also a story of reconciliation between two Old Testament enemies who shared the same blood: When the people of Israel attacked the people of Judah in the days of King Ahaz, the people of Israel (the territory of Samaria) were commanded to return the captives of Judah to Jericho. They “provided them with clothes and sandals, food and drink, and healing balm” (2 Chronicles 28:15).
Heavenly Father, we know that You have made us for Yourself, to love You and to love our neighbors. Yet still we cannot help but live for ourselves, and every day we justify ourselves by our own standards, not Yours. But Lord, you have found us in the ditch, and You have rescued us. Now soften our hearts to Your will, and make us to love others as You have loved us; especially those who are most in need, whom we pass by every day. In Jesus’ name, Amen.In Jesus,
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New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. Devotion taken from NIV Believe.
I believe God calls all Christians to show compassion to people in need.