Jesus replied, “A man went from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way robbers stripped him, beat him, and left him for dead. By chance, a priest was traveling along that road. When he saw the man, he went around him and continued on his way. Then a Levite came to that place. When he saw the man, he, too, went around him and continued on his way. “But a Samaritan, as he was traveling along, came across the man. When the Samaritan saw him, he felt sorry for the man, went to him, and cleaned and bandaged his wounds. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day the Samaritan took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. He told the innkeeper, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than that, I’ll pay you on my return trip. Of these three men, who do you think was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by robbers?” The expert said, “The one who was kind enough to help him.” Jesus told him, “Go and imitate his example!”
Most of us know the parable of the Good Samaritan quite well and remember it being taught in Sunday School each year. What we forget many times is that Samaritans were one of the most hated groups of people in Jesus’s time. Once we know these facts, it makes it very memorable that the Samaritan stopped to take care of the naked, beaten victim at the roadside.
This Samaritan goes above and beyond reasonable expectations in helping the beaten man. He binds his wounds, gives him his clothes, puts him on his horse, takes him to an inn, pays for his room and food, comes back to check on him. How many of us would go this far to offer comfort and aid to someone we do not know and may even despise? We are more concerned about what is in it for us?
Real caring begins when we put aside our own needs and meet the needs of those around us first. Unlike the Samaritan, our neighbor may not be lying at the side of the road; their need for our care may not be as obvious as the injured party in the well-known parable. Although their needs are not as obvious as the victim in the parable, we still have an obligation to offer care when and where it is needed and when and where we can. Caring for our neighbor should be the number one priority for everyone. Think what kind of world we would live in with caring like that. Putting others’ needs ahead of our own can be so rewarding.
Jesus is the ultimate Samaritan. He put mankind before himself and, in the end, gives us the ultimate example of caregiving. He was an outcast who was willing to seek and save people who were dying, both physically and spiritually. He was opposed to the religious establishment of his time, especially their strict interpretation of religious laws and custom. He was and is the ultimate neighbor whose compassion conflicted with Jewish religious leaders who had no compassion for those who were suffering. He taught that a person should be a neighbor to anyone he meets who is in need.