Our devotion for July 29th comes from the Rev. Andrew Pearson.
…“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him…Which of these three, do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37, ESV)
“The Good Samaritan”—who hasn’t heard some reference to this story? In church, preachers will profile each of the characters in the parable: The Priest, The Levite, The Samaritan. “Which one are you?” Of course, the right answer is the Samaritan. And maybe that’s true sometimes—maybe we have, at some time or another, found ourselves walking in the sandals in each of the three. However, upon closer inspection, what seems more fundamentally accurate is that we are none of them, but the man in the ditch.
We are the dying man in the ditch who waits for rescue. The Priest passes us by. The religious man, the one who preaches to sinners, walks on by. The Levite, the lawman, the do-gooder, walks on by. But it is the Samaritan, who stands as the opposite, an outcast and a nobody, who shows compassion and mercy to a Jew who ought to have nothing to do with him.
The first two may have had good excuses as to why they didn’t stop. The Priest, if he touched us, might be made unclean and then couldn’t do his priestly duties. The Levite may have been too busy, may have been worried it was a trap. But the scoundrel stopped and helped.
This is the story of the Christian. We find ourselves in the ditch in need of rescue, but the world and its moral fixtures will not save us. Only the unmerited compassion of one “scorned and rejected” will accomplish that. Jesus condescends and we receive his rescue.