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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“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.”—Luke 10:30-31 (NIV)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan is one of my favorite lessons in the Bible. And over the next three days, we’ll be dissecting one of Jesus’ most famous parables.
Here, Jesus tells us that a traveler was taking a road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Now, in these first few verses, the thing that sticks out to me is that Jesus gives no details about the man who was robbed. But we do know two things about him: 1. He was left half dead and unconscious, and 2. He was completely robbed of all he had and stripped naked.
Why are these two things important? Historically, a person could be identified in one of two ways: his clothing or the way he spoke. But this man was stripped of his clothes and jewelry, and left unconscious. He could have been anyone. He could have been a king or a peasant. No one knew. You can’t overlook this because it’s essential to Jesus’ lesson.
The first person to pass him was a priest who moved to the other side of the road. This tells me he didn’t believe this man was his neighbor. He didn’t feel the need to love this man as he loves himself. In fact, he put himself first.
The priest didn’t see the man before, so he didn’t know if the man was a non-Jew. By touching a non-Jew—possibly a dead one—the priest would become unclean. He couldn’t even get within six feet or he’d defile himself, which would take a lot of time and money to reverse.
Now, I’m not saying it wasn’t a tough situation. But even though it could have made things difficult and costly for him, the one who loves his neighbor as himself wouldn’t hesitate, because loving your neighbor as yourself means putting your neighbor first.
Philippians 2:3–4 (NASB) says: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
If we want to love our neighbor and fulfill the second greatest commandment, we need to put others first. And when we do that, God will bless us! Maybe we won’t receive that blessing in this life, but our reward will absolutely be waiting for us in heaven!
DIG: Have you ever avoided helping someone because it would make things more difficult for you?
DISCOVER: What does putting others first look like?
DISPLAY: Find a person today whom you can help.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.