Day 144 – Mr Perfect
But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:33-37
After the lamentable hand-washing of the two previous passers-by, Jesus now introduces us to a man who did exactly the opposite – he stopped, rolled up his sleeves and got his hands dirty. The care he gave was costly – he shared his time, his resources, he took a risk that the same robbers might return to give him the once over, he took the injured man to a place of safety, spent money … and then promised to return to check the man was OK and cover and additional costs.
Who is this man – Mr Perfect?! Actually, Jesus went further. He chose, as His case study, a Samaritan. Samaritans and Jews were like supporters of rival football teams from the same town – no love lost. So not only did this man love his neighbour, he loved his enemy. Takes us back to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.” Luke 6:35
Back to the original question: ” Who is my neighbour?” Clearly, not everyone – or we’d spend our entire life chasing our tails trying to be nice to impossibly huge numbers of people. Rather, anyone in need who we have the power to help. And that includes whether we like the look of them or not.
Dubbing him “Mr Perfect” was not mischievous! It reflects Jesus’ comment that concluded his teaching on the Mount about loving our enemies, not just our friends. He described it thus: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
Lord Jesus, You set such different standards for those who would be Your followers. Enlighten me to seek, and Empower me to achieve those standards, that onlookers might see there is a Better Way and praise Your name. Amen
Today’s image is a holiday snap I took on Lake Garda, as we pulled away from a landing stage on a high speed ferry. As I took the picture, a young boy was being sick on my shoe! Everyone swiftly cleared the area and he began to cry, as much at being suddenly deserted as feeling seasick. God filled my heart with compassion for the poor lad, and I sat down to reassure him and start to clear the mess. His mother was so thankful, the boy cheered up, and it made my day to be of help. Job done!