Bible reading plan Bible reading plan

Our Heavenly Father’s Heart

15 October 2023

A view of three hands holding each other

This week in our reading plan, we have one of the most famous parables in the Bible, the Parable of the Good Samaritan.  It is a powerful message, probably very well known by most of those reading this blog.  You have probably heard already all that there is to say about this parable but still I felt God’s prompting to write about it.

 

Now my focus for this blog is not so much on the story, but the question Jesus asks at the end:

 

Which of these three do you think proved himself a neighbour to the man who encountered the robber?  He answered, ‘The one who showed compassion and mercy to him.’  Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go and constantly do the same.’ Luke 10:36 AMP

 

When reading this verse, I found the emphasis of the question very interesting.  Our Lord Jesus could have asked, which of these three pleased God?  Or which of these three did the right thing?  Or even, who proved to be the best neighbour in the eyes of God?  But no, He asked: Which proved himself a neighbour to the man?  Immediately the question invites you to put yourself in the shoes of this man (the one that received the help) in order to answer it.  The answer: ‘the one who showed compassion and mercy to him’

 

The parable says that the Samaritan, when he saw the man, was deeply moved with compassion (v.34).  The Samaritan was not moved by religious duty; he was not trying to look good; it does not even say he desired to please God (but of course he did).  It says he was moved with compassion.  The origin of the word ‘compassion’ is ‘suffer with’ or ‘suffer together’; we are talking here about a true concern for the suffering of the other person.

 

In situations when someone is in need of help (like in this story) only compassion can move us to act in a way that can truly restore others.  This was the way our Lord Jesus modelled when He took the decision of coming to this world and to die for us.  Compassion is an act of love.  ‘No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends’ John 15:13 AMP.

 

The Samaritan’s heart motivation meant he was able to truly help this man.  He went beyond what would have been considered good enough and showed love.

 

Our Lord Jesus calls us to go and do the same as the Samaritan, now.  That ‘same’ is not to go and fill our schedules with good deeds, or to go and give over and above everybody else, or to go and rescue every person that is in need (nothing wrong with any of those things); however, that ‘same’ is to love people for their sake and not ours, to act with compassion, ensuring our intentions are fixed and birthed in love.  People know when you truly care for them in the same way we know when someone truly cares for us.  Help without love is never helpful.

 

This is the heart of salvation. Our all-powerful Heavenly Father decides to put Himself in our situation (He makes His: our misery, our hunger, our pain, our humiliation, our persecution, our sin, He shows us compassion) through our Lord Jesus, not so life can be easy but so we could experience and have an understanding of what Love is and do the same, for ‘we know that we have passed from death to Life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death’ 1 John 3:14 NIVUK.

 

I am not saying we are to be people’s saviours - we have only One Saviour - but we have a part to play both in our own salvation and that of others and it is centred in love.  Let’s take a minute and make sure our heart intentions are rooted in love and compassion every time we have the opportunity to be a neighbour to someone, so we can show we are the children of our Father in Heaven.


Photo of Alicia Sanchez

Alicia Sanchez

CAP Debt Centre Manager
GoChurch Manchester