Thoughts from Mark Jerndt
A Lenten Meditation-by Mark Jerndt
We live in a world filled with corruption, squabbles, graft, lust, and the list could go on. Our nightly news shows us those who are struggling, hurting, confused, and lacking in hope. It is sad to see such reports, but there is hope. That hope is in Christ, and our world is in desperate need of that. Our world is in desperate need of helping hands to assist those who are struggling, hurting, and lacking in hope.
One of the simplest and most beloved among the gallery of Jesus’ Parables is that of the Good Samaritan. We call him good, but the Bible does not refer to him that way. It refers to him as a Certain Samaritan, and that should have special meaning for us as I will explain.
The story is told in Luke 10:25-37. Beginning in verse 30, Jesus speaks of a man going from Jerusalem to Jericho who is attacked by robbers. He is robbed of everything he had including his clothing, and beaten to within an inch of his life. I am sure that this parable of Jesus caught the attention of His hearers, because in the time of Jesus this road was notorious for its danger and difficulty, and came to be known as the “way of blood” because of the blood that had been shed on this road. I invite you to read the full story in Luke 10, but let me set an abbreviated scene for you.
First there were the “robbers”. We don’t know how many, but it’s their attitude that should interest us. “What’s yours is mine, and I’m going to get it”. Then there is the “Priest”. He showed no love or compassion. He would have known God’s law, and by nature of his position he was to be a person of compassion, desiring to help others. His attitude may well have been I’m on my way to something important and don’t have the time to take responsibility. Then there was the “Levite”. He does exactly what the Priest did, and showed no compassion. He also would have known the law, but unfortunately “love” was not a word that required action on behalf of someone else. Instead, he like the Priest passed by on the other side of the road. It is certainly a scene of our world today is it not?
Then there is the “Samaritan”. He was probably the least likely to have shown compassion for the man. Samaritans were considered a “low class” of people by the Jews and would have nothing to do with them. The Samaritan did not consider the man’s color, race, or religion. He only saw a man in dire need of his assistance, and assist him he did.
An entire sermon or Bible study could be preached/taught to dissect all of what Jesus was conveying to His hearers. In summary, I tend to see the lesson of this parable as three-fold: (1) we are to set aside our prejudice and show love and compassion for others no matter who they are. (2) Our neighbor is anyone we encounter who is in need. (3) We are to love one another as Christ loves us.
You and I have the capacity within us, through virtue of our baptism, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and thus the love of Christ. We are called to be just like that Certain Samaritan. We must never see ourselves as that “Priest” or “Levite” who would rather look the other way.
As we journey through this Lenten season, may it be at the forefront that God would direct you to reach out to those in need. May you do so joyfully out of a spirit of giving with compassion, and extent that loving care to one, or others, in need of your assistance as God in Christ would lead you to do.