33But a Samaritan while traveling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity
Moved with pity. Luke uses this Greek word two other times in his Gospel. Jesus is moved with pity for the widow of Nain as she carried her son to burial, and the father of the prodigal son was moved with pity for his hungry and broken son. Outside of Luke, Jesus has compassion for the crowds who were like sheep without a shepherd, for the crowds who are hungry, for the leper who is cleansed, and for the boy with an unclean spirit that convulses him. It is a word used of God’s compassion for us, God’s suffering love.
When the Samaritan is moved with compassion, we should see Jesus.
We need to hear this message that we are neighbor/kin to others. They are not our neighbors, creating an obligation for us; we are neighbors to them, creating an identity in us. We are those who see others as members of our family. We are those who, like Christ Jesus, are moved with compassion for the wounded of the world. We are members of the royal household sharing the love of the king for those of his realm. We are the body of Christ in the world, the agents of Grace. It is not about which of my neighbors has claim on me; it is about God who has claimed and inspirited me to live his compassion in the world.
We need to hear this message. But, in the Samaritan, we also need to see Jesus.
Jesus is the Good Samaritan. He pays the price to rescue a broken and beaten world. And he is our Good Samaritan. He finds us at the side of the road beaten by life, and tends our wounds with wine and oil. He carries us to safety. He stays at our side through the darkness of the night. He provides for our needs. And he returns for us, paying any debt.
So, we are Good Samaritans not because we should (though we should), but because we have been brought into the reality of the true Good Samaritan. We have lain at the side of the road and been met with a surprising and unexpected mercy. We have tasted his goodness. And he has given us his Spirit.