Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.
“By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
“Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’
“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.
The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”
Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
Luke 10:30-37 NLT
I was recently discussing this parable with some students. I asked them, would you go out of your way for yourself? They were confused; probably much like you are right now. Let me explain, I was driving a bus of students to a conference when the tummy rumbles hit me, HARD! There wasn’t a bathroom in sight. I had to find a bathroom if I wasn’t going to soil myself. I took the first exit I saw off of the highway. There was still nothing in sight. I took the road until it forked, and you won’t believe what my eyes saw. There was a parade and multiple road closures. Due to the urgent matter at hand, I joined the parade briefly, long enough to turn around at least. I then proceeded to back track to the last gas station I saw which was nearly 20 miles before the major tummy rumbles. I’m happy to tell you, I made it to the bathroom successfully!
I diverted 30 students off course, interrupted a parade and made our group an hour late all for my benefit. I started this with, would you go out of your way for yourself? Yes, and I’d do it again. I think all of us would. Jesus’ question with this parable is would I go out of my way like this for someone else? Will I love my neighbor like Jesus teaches?