1. Trouble in the text: Compassion is lacking
The religious men were not moved with compassion to take action. They are not malicious, they don’t attack him, but neither did they attend to him. They ignored the problem; they were passive. Dante’s Inferno: “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those, who during a time of moral crisis, do nothing.” The innkeeper treats the problem professionally. He agrees to take care of the man for a fee.
Jesus tells the story because we fail to realise that inheriting eternal life comes from living life in the present tense with a heart of compassion.
2. Trouble in the world: People are beaten and bleeding and we lack compassion
John 10:10 tells us Satan has come to steal, kill and destroy. He has stolen their self-respect; he has destroyed their dreams, their noble thoughts, and their noble deeds. This story describes the world we live in. We live in a world that does not show much compassion to those who are different, those who are crippled with sin and have been assaulted by Satan.
3. God in the text: God’s compassion compels him to act
The Samaritan is the hero and he solves the crisis. The theologian could not bring himself to say the name “Samaritan.” The Samaritan provides aid to one who despised him. The Samaritan is like Jesus because his compassion was more than pity; it was a driving force that compelled him to act on behalf of those wounded. He healed (Mk 14:14). He taught (Mk 6:34). He provided food (Mt 15:32-38). He forgave (Luke 7:37-48). He loved people and people moved him to action.
4. God in the world today: God’s compassion compels him to act on our behalf.
The road from Jerusalem to Jericho was known as the “Bloody Way.” The road from Jerusalem to Golgotha is also known a bloody way. That road travelled by our Lord out of compassion for us opened the way for God to pour out his love into our hearts. Where was God when trouble came to the man on the road to Jericho? Where is God when I’m in trouble? God was working in the heart of the Samaritan.
God showed up in the form of a Samaritan with a random act of kindness that day. Romans 5:5, tells us “God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”
So too will we:
2 Corinthians 6:11-13 “We have spoken freely to you Corinthians and opened wide our hearts to you…As a fair exchange, open wide your hearts also.”
Open your heart to see what God wants you to see on the highway of life. Pray sincerely, “Let my heart be broken with the things that break your heart, O God.” That is a dangerous prayer. Don’t pray it unless you mean it because it might take you to places you never thought you would go.
2. James 1:19 “Be quick to listen and slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
Refrain from giving pat answers to people. Listen, listen, and listen some more!
3. Romans 12:15 “Weep with those who weep.”
Don’t preach at those who weep, weep!