Go and do likewise (08-02-22)
Bible Reading: Luke 10:30-37
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 travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.'
"Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
The second great commandment is ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’. Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan to answer the question put to him by a lawyer, ’Who is my neighbour?’
Living in rural Northamptonshire we can feel very distanced from the poverty of some of the communities in our neighbouring towns, to feel remote from the violence and knife crime in London and some of our other major cities, and to feel far removed from the countries around the world struggling with famine, war, disease and natural disasters.
It can be easy to think that it is not our problem, that they brought it on themselves or that their own people should sort it out. But, in a world where information and images are just a click away as, to some extent, so is the means to help, the question remains for us, ‘Who is my neighbour?’
As I try to imagine the story of the Good Samaritan on our streets today, I realise how much he did for the man who had been assaulted. Today we might well stand at a distance, dial 999 on our mobile phones and wait for a paramedic in a rapid response vehicle to come and give the victim first aid. This would be followed by an ambulance who would take him to A&E where he would be assessed, treated and then cared for on a hospital ward by doctors and nurses, funded by the NHS, until he was fit to go home.
Not so the Good Samaritan; he did it all. First off he overcame any racial prejudice he might have had, as well as any fears of going near the man when the robbers might still be in the vicinity. He then gave the man first aid, transported him to a place of refuge, took care of him over night and then paid for his on-going care, with the promise to come back and pick up any subsequent costs.
Having established that the Samaritan, a man from a different place and of a different religion, was neighbour to the man in need, Jesus says to his questioner, and to us all, ‘Go and do likewise’.
Lord, as the world shrinks through modern technology, help me to overcome my fears and my prejudices, to expand the concept of my neighbour,
and to respond with mercy to those in need, both near and far.
When I needed a neighbour