Focal passage: Luke 10:25-37
Imagine you were given only three minutes to prepare to share Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan with a friend. What would be your main point? Would you vividly describe the dangers of traveling alone from Jerusalem to Jericho? Would you focus on the lowly status of Samaritans in Jewish culture? Would you contrast the kindness of the Samaritan with the disgraceful behavior of the priest and Levite?
Although each of these is a vital aspect of the story, I fear we are often tempted to neglect Jesus’ primary reason for sharing this parable. You see, an expert in the law wanted to test Jesus by asking how to inherit eternal life. In response, He declared, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
Jesus intended the story of the Good Samaritan to be a practical picture of loving God. Love is not merely warm feelings or a “second hand emotion” as Tina Turner might have us believe. It is a call to action, a call to sacrificial and supernatural love of others.
I am certain the priest and the Levite would have professed to deeply love God. Perhaps they would have even pointed to their actions in the synagogue as proof of their love, but in the moment they walked past the injured man those words became hollow. Despite their claims, they ignored a desperate man, a man made in God’s image and loved first by Him.
I have no idea what situations we may pass by today, but I do know we have been called to love others. I have no idea how much that love will cost, but I do know that when we truly understand the costly love God has lavished on us, we must love God by passing that love on to others.