Unexpected help

But the legal expert wanted to prove that he was right, so he said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor? Jesus replied, A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He encountered thieves, who stripped him naked, beat him up, and left him near death. Now it just so happened that a priest was also going down the same road. When he saw the injured man, he crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. Likewise, a Levite came by that spot, saw the injured man, and crossed over to the other side of the road and went on his way. A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was. But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. The Samaritan went to him and bandaged his wounds, tending them with oil and wine. Then he placed the wounded man on his own donkey, took him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day, he took two full days worth of wages and gave them to the innkeeper. He said, Take care of him, and when I return, I will pay you back for any additional costs. ~Luke 10:32-35 (CEB)

While visiting my parents one weekend, my dad shared with me a perspective from the parable Jesus told to help us understand the question, “who is our neighbor?” Usually when we hear a lesson or sermon about this scripture we hear thoughts on the priest, the Levite and the Samaritan. My dad shared with me some ideas from the perspective of the man who was injured.

Jesus probably intended the hearers to think of the injured man as a fellow Jew since the traveler was coming from Jerusalem. What could the man have been thinking laying there injured and vulnerable? When I have heard the story before, I imagined in my mind’s eye that the man is lying there unconscious and oblivious to the Priest and Levite passing him by. But what if he wasn’t? Can you imagine how he felt when his fellow Jews passed him by? I have heard theories of why these men may have passed by this man lying there… they didn’t want to break any laws that would make them unclean and then not be able to participate in the temple duties, they didn’t want to fall for a setup that then put themselves in danger. How frightening might it be to see your chance of help walk on by?

Then here comes the Samaritan. Is he going to finish off the job the robbers started? This is the last place he expected a helping hand. After the Samaritan has not only saved him and cleaned his injuries, he also brings him to an inn.  What costs is the injured man going to incur while he lays there helpless? But then further surprise of surprises the Samaritan pays his bill. When you pray for help, you never know who God might send.

Heavenly Father, sometimes You send me help from the last place I expect help to come. May I always be open to Your care no matter from where that help comes. Amen.

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