The Better Samaritan

A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest and then a Levite happened to be going down the same road, and when they saw the man, they each 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, bandaged his wounds and put him on his own donkey. He took him to an inn, paid his expenses and told the innkeeper that he would reimburse him for any extra expense he may have.

The Samaritan continued on his way to Jerusalem and when he completed his business, being a merchant, he made his weekly trip to Jericho. On this trip he again found a man who had fallen into the hands of robbers–possibly the same thieves–who had likewise stripped him of clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. The Samaritan bandaged his wounds and took him on his donkey to the inn and paid his expenses. The Samaritan continued on to Jericho.

On his return trip from Jericho the Samaritan encountered yet another man robbed and beaten by thieves whom he likewise helped.

As the Samaritan made his weekly journeys he continuously encountered men who had been robbed and beaten by thieves. While some he was able to help he was too late for others. Kneeling over the remains of a victim one day the Samaritan was grieved in his spirit and vowed on all that he held dear that what he saw would stop.

He abandoned his business to stay in Jerusalem persuading the elders of the city to help. He made speeches and organized rallies and agitated until he had raised a posse to pursue the thieves. Due to his courage and perseverance the thieves were brought to justice and the road was made secure.

Buoyed up by his success in Jerusalem he traveled to Jericho, Capernaum and other cities showing them what could be accomplished. He organized a regional police force to make highways secure even for non-Romans. With safer roads the economy prospered and there was an outpouring of gratitude for the civic efforts of the Samaritan.

But not everyone praised the Samaritan. He still had his critics. Among the murmuring three accusations stood out. They were (1) He had abandoned his ministry. While he had had a successful and critical ministry of helping robbery victims he had walked away. In his absence the victims he would have helped experienced great suffering. Indeed, some had died without his help and their blood was on his hands. (2) He lacked a redemptive heart in his dealings with the thieves. In organizing a posse he did not even consider their spiritual needs but rather sought only to capture and punish them-hardly a Christian attitude. And (3) he abandoned his humility. In his previous ministry the Samaritan quietly served the needy. Now he apparently didn’t have time for the needy but primarily sought out the company of elders and kings-those with the resources to help his grand plans. The Samaritan was speechless.

 

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