Seeing Others Leads to Selfless Action

(Luke 10:30-33) Part 2 of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus answers the man's question with a story that challenges all of us to lead with empathy.

Older man smiles and laughs with a young autistic man.
Photo by Nathan Anderson / Unsplash

The Story is the Answer

We left off yesterday with the expert in the law asking Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” He didn’t ask for more detail to widen his gaze. Instead, the passage notes he wanted to “justify himself.”

The man knew Jesus hung-out with sinners and the lower castes of society. He wanted to trap Jesus in His words.

Well, prepare for the Jesus mic-drop! 🎤

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
“A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, 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.”

Luke 10:30-33 (NIV)

He Saw Him

The priest and the Levite would have been considered ceremonially and religiously “clean” (and more educated). But the ones trained in the Torah “passed by on the other side,” denying help to one of their own.

But it was the Samaritan who stopped, “saw” the injured man, and then “took pity on him.” This may have shocked Jesus’s listeners: Though Jews and Samaritans both claim descent from the tribes of Jacob, a rift separated their views on the proper place of worshipping God.

Elsewhere, the New Testament hints at this divide. When Jesus approached the Samaritan woman at the well and offered her salvation, she hesitated—the narrator expresses how “Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”

"Culturally, it would have been unthinkable for a Samaritan to help a Jew."
(ESV Bible Study)

But the Samaritan saw the need of the helpless Jew and responded, crossing cultural and religious differences.

This story challenges us to see others past ethnic, socio-economic, and political differences. Since we all are made in the image of God, seeing others requires stopping, considering their situation, and then responding with appropriate action.

In other words, it takes selflessness, empathy, and love directed towards someone else.

As you make your way through your day, stop and see others. It’s only then you can respond appropriately to their needs.

But wait—Jesus has more! His parable has a powerful conclusion, and we will explore it the next two days.

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