People tend to read the story very literal—the religious leaders in the story ignored the injured man and continued on their way, but one man stopped and helped him. This is an accurate interpretation; however, in many of Jesus’ stories, there are always at least two lessons to be learned.
The “Good Samaritan” is not only about busy religious people, but it is also a story about spiritual salvation. Everyone has worth because everyone is created in the image of God. Everyone is redeemable— even a person who is “face-flat” in the gutter. Some “upstanding” religious people have forgotten that they were in the spiritual “gutter” at one time. We had no hope, until God reached down and picked us up. Just like the man who was beaten and left to die, our clothes were torn and dirty, but He gave us new clothes to wear. He bandaged up our wounds and saved us from impending death. Jesus said, “Go and do the same.” But how can a person do the same as Jesus?
This story not only talks about spiritual salvation, but it also refers to spiritual renewal. We can see the story from a different angle— Christians will be beat spiritually and fall down for various reasons. Some will turn to alcohol or drugs, some will be abused, and others might be overcome with the feeling of hopelessness. We who are Christians are to pick up the person, lead them back to Christ, and walk with them in their Christian journey.
It is so easy to say that a church member who has fallen into sin was probably never saved, but is that not the same as the religious people who walked past the beaten man in the story? We are to do the same as the Samaritan, not the religious people. No Christian should ever say that he or she will never fall into sin, because we are no better than the unsaved. It is God who separates. We should never think of ourselves as better than others—we are still made of flesh. These are easy words to say, but very difficult to practice. The longer we are Christians, the more likely we are to set higher standards for other people. The truth is Christians are nothing without God. Some of them may feel they are special, but they are being deceived.
1 John 3:17, James 2:15-17, Prov. 17:17, John 14:12
Copyright © 2007 M. Teresa Trascritti