- After Jesus told the story, He asked which of the three (the priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan) was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hand of the robbers. The Jewish expert in the Mosaic Law wouldn't even answer the question simply with "the Samaritan". He replied, "The one who showed him mercy." The animosity that the Jews had towards the Samaritans was evident. The Good Samaritan exemplifies not only what it's like to love your neighbor as yourself but also what it's like to love your enemy. According to my dictionary, mercy = kindness, compassion, and forbearance shown to someone, such as an offender, who expects severe treatment. The Jews probably expected hatred, ill treatment, or indifference from the Samaritans. However, this Samaritan showed genuine love and care for a Jewish victim who (most likely) hated him, risked his own life (robbers could still be nearby), rearranged his itinerary, spent his own money (2 days' wages for a laborer), planned to return to reimburse the innkeeper for any extra expense, and was never rewarded or honored or thanked as far as we know. He had the right attitude of agape love which expects nothing in return. It's very interesting that Jesus chose to use a Samaritan as a hero of human kindness even though He was previously rejected by Samaritans (Luke 9:52-53). Again we see His heart of love, forgiveness, and mercy.
- Jesus talks a lot about kindness and compassion. Being kind and compassionate is one of the most desirable, distinctive character traits in His followers. Our kindness and compassion please God and glorify Him. We are to love everyone. Are we kind, helpful, thoughtful, caring, compassionate, friendly, gracious, and merciful? Are we good neighbors to those who need us? Are we always willing to meet others' needs even when it costs us (time, money, energy, effort, inconvenience, etc.) ? True kindness and compassion is an outpouring of agape (unconditional, selfless, sacrificial love) expressed in action. Jesus commands us to go and do likewise. Don't just feel moved but then do nothing. "Sympathy is no substitute for action."(David Livingstone) "No one would remember the Good Samaritan if he had only had good intentions." (Margaret Thatcher) Faith without action is dead. Love without action is hypocrisy. What are we doing to reach the lost, to help the needy, to give hope to the hopeless, to save the unborn, to feed the hungry, etc.? Sympathy and good intentions just don't cut it!
"One kind act will teach more love of God than a thousand sermons." (Unknown)
"I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now." (Unknown)