Luke 10:29-37

29 But the legal expert wanted to prove that he was right, so he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 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. 31 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. 32 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. 33 A Samaritan, who was on a journey, came to where the man was. But when he saw him, he was moved with compassion. 34 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. 35 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.’ 36 What do you think? Which one of these three was a neighbor to the man who encountered thieves?”

37 Then the legal expert said, “The one who demonstrated mercy toward him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”


The fact that it must be pointed out that this Samaritan was “good” implies that other Samaritans were “bad.” In fact, Samaritans were hated by the Jews, and they were avoided. People would travel far out of their way to avoid going through Samaria if it was possible.

Today we have laws regarding “Good Samaritans.” In most places, you can’t be sued by someone for acting in good faith on their behalf if they need help. I just learned that there are “Bad Samaritan” laws as well which give punishments to those who know about sex trafficking but turn a blind eye. It is interesting that a legal scholar asked Jesus the question about who might be our neighbor, and we now have these laws about his answer.

Now, regarding his answer. If you have ever taken a first aid/CPR class, you may remember that you can choose to either render aid or not. You are not required to assist just because you are certified to assist.

But that is not what Jesus said. He talked about the Priest and Levite walking by the man who was beaten and left for dead. Then the Samaritan does what is required – he gives mercy to the man and cares for him. When the legal scholar answers that the Samaritan was in fact the neighbor, Jesus says go and do likewise.

Jesus expects us to help those in need. He expects that we will not ask people if they are here legally or illegally, if they are gay or straight, if they are Christian or Muslim, because the list could go on for a very long time before we ever decide to help. Instead, we are to do what we can to assist others. That is part of MUMC’s mission statement – serve people. It isn’t always easy to be a Christian or a Good Samaritan, but that is what Jesus says we should do.

by Jaanet Waryck

For Pondering & Prayer

How difficult is it to lay aside preconceived thoughts about someone in order to help them? If we are questioning if we should help, do we ask the Holy Spirit for guidance?

Prayer: Dear Jesus, please give us wisdom and confidence to act when you would have us act to help our neighbor in need. In your name we pray, Amen.