Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Bad Samaritan

The Bad Samaritan
Feb 21, 2011
James 4:17 "If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn't do it, it is sin for them."

In the parable we often refer to as, "The Good Samaritan," a stranger takes care of an injured man, at a considerable cost. Recall the story. A man fell into the hands of muggers and was left on the side of the road for dead. Along came two devout holy men, who saw the man but decided not to tend to his needs. Then came a third man, from Samaria, who had compassion for the stranger, tended to his wounds, and paid for his recovery. It is a nice story, told by Jesus, to teach us we "should" be kind to our neighbor. It is interesting, though, that Jesus never called the man who took care of the stranger "good." The title, "The GOOD Samaritan," was created by us, many centuries AFTER the original manuscripts were written of Jesus' story telling. If you read your Bible, there are nice headings in it, for ease of reading, but the original manuscripts didn't have that.

When Jesus told the story, He was saying that it was actually the Samaritan's job to take care of the wounded man. It wasn't really an option for the Samaritan, if he was following the Lord's will, to ignore the man's needs. But in today's society, where everyone gets a trophy for getting out of bed in the morning, the Good Samaritan should be lauded, hence his title "GOOD." We like this title, "Good," because we also want to give it to ourselves for doing something nice for someone else. But God was saying that it is a requirement of ours, this doing good for others, if we are to be considered as following the Lord and doing His will. When you are in the employment of someone else, you don't get a nice title to make you feel good when you do your job. It is a requirement, when you are at work, to do your job.

When reading the Scriptures, we learn the Apostle James says further that anyone who doesn't do good things, when he knows he should, is actually in sin. He is telling us that it is a sin if we do not do our job for the Lord. In reading the parable of "The Good Samaritan," had the man from Samaria not tended to the needs of the wounded, he would have been in sin. Furthermore, the passage in James is suggesting that the two other men, who passed by the fallen man, were in sin by not helping him. Wow, what perspective if we are going to be servants of the Lord Most High! We like to consider it an "extra" if we help someone else, but it is actually our job and we are in sin if we neglect our duties.

When you read the words of James, "If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do...", the word "good" is defined as "good deeds" or "works for the Lord." It is taking care of your fellow man, both physically and spiritually. Jesus further proved this when He said, "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Jesus was saying if you claim to be a Christian, a Christ-follower, you are in His employ and the person you are serving, when taking care of the needs of others, is God. The "Good" Samaritan wasn't tending to the needs of the wounded man on the side of the road, the "Good" Samaritan was serving God, doing it for the Lord. This is a hard perspective to have, because we like to look at the face of the one we are helping, taking a picture of their smiling face when we do good for them. But God says don't look at their face, look at His, because He is your employer and if you neglect taking care of someone else, you are in sin. This sin is described as deliberate disobedience to God.

So, the next time you see someone who has a need, picture God's face looking at you, instructing you to help them on His behalf. It's your job.

1. Do you look for the needs that others have or do you only take care of yourself?
2. When was the last time you sacrificed to take care of someone else's needs?
3. How can you picture the face of God every time you help someone else this week?

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Matthew 25:40, Luke 10:25-37, Luke 12:42-44, Gal 6:9, Titus 3:8 & 14, Heb 13:16, Heb 13:21

1 comment:

Baby So Smart said...

Spot on! Thank you for speaking the truth, even when the truth is hard to take.