Let's take the parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:30-36 but consider some different circumstances. I want you to think, first of all, about the fact that some Biblical scholars feel this was not a parable, but a true story which Christ related to the lawyer who questioned Him. Secondly, I want you to reflect upon the idea, that these "different circumstances", these What If's that I will be speaking about, are also, all too often, perhaps not literally but figuratively, true.
As you know the man in the story was traveling to do business and was attacked on the road by thieves. Everything he had was stolen, even his clothes, he was beaten to a pulp and left for dead.
Psalms 3:1 A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son. LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.
Along comes a priest, one of the chosen and appointed of God. He sees the victim lying there, goes to the opposite side of the road from the victim and continues his journey. There are many idioms or expressions that would apply here such as "putting blinders on" or "sticking ones head in the sand". But the object is that he ignored the situation. There is an old saying that what you don't know can't hurt you, but that is simply not true. We are taught in Hosea 4:6 that God's people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. This same scripture clearly states that there is a huge difference between knowing a thing and admitting that one knows it, or "refusing" it. And in James 4:17 we find that if one knows to do good and doesn't do it, to that person, their failure to act is a sin.
Proverbs 24:11-12 If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
James 2:14-16 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
1 John 3:17-18 But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
Psalms 109:16 Because that he remembered not to shew mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart.
Here, let us digress even further from the original story and suppose that next came along a "good" person.
Deuteronomy 15:7-8 If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth.
For the purpose of this particular blog, we come now to what will be our last traveler, the Levite. Again we have a member of one of God's chosen groups.
Deuteronomy 10:8 At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD to minister unto him, and to bless in his name, unto this day.
But not only was the Levite one of God's chosen and appointed ones. They were also included in another special group, in Deuteronomy 14:29, with the widow, the orphan and the stranger. These were folks whom God's people were directed to tend to. They were to be taken care of, given special attention and consideration. So this traveler not only had the obligation of his special office towards the victim in this story. He also was, himself, one of the less fortunate of people. A fellow sufferer with the wounded man. But seeing the victim, the Levite goes up for a closer inspection of the situation, then continues on his way. Kind of puts one in mind of a busy highway on which an automobile accident has occurred. Almost everyone slows down, straining their necks to check out all the details, but no one stops and renders aid.
seeing that the victim now has a covering over his body and a supply of water by his side, the Levite decides that he could certainly use those things himself and he takes them from the victim. Not only that, he notices that the original thieves have dropped some of the coins they had taken from the victim and a few bills fluttering in the bushes nearby, so he collects those as well and puts them in his pocket. And before continuing on his journey, he takes out his frustrations and anger at his lot in life on the victim as well, placing a few well directed kicks to their head and body, spitting on the victim and cursing them.
Throughout the Bible we see comparisons of the church and Christians to flocks and herds of animals. And like flocks and herds of animals, God has appointed those who are to be husbandman to the members of the Church, pastors, ministers, teachers, etc.
Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;".
All of Gods people have certain responsibilities to their fellow creatures that reside upon this earth.
Deuteronomy 22:1-4 Thou shalt not see thy brother's ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother. And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again. In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother's, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself. Thou shalt not see thy brother's ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.
Having such responsibilities to the lesser creatures that dwell amongst us, how much more so do we have the responsibility to "lift them up again" when it comes to our fellow man or our brothers and sisters in Christ?
Isaiah 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
And if this be the responsibility of all Christians, then is it not even more so the responsibility of the leaders of the church, those called and appointed by God into special service?
Where are the "Good Samaritans" of today? Are we, those who call ourselves by the name of Christ, being what He would have us to be and doing what He would have us to do? Isiah 61:1-3 speaks of many of the things which we are called to do. We all need to be more conscientious of whether or not we are answering these calls or if we are being like the travelers in this tale. Remember 1 John 3:17 states that "whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need" and Deuteronomy 15:7 says "thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother:". This means that God does not expect us to give what we do not have, He does not expect us to do that which we are not capable of.