And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
The point of Jesus’ story about the good Samaritan was not so much who the neighbor is, but who we are. We are to show mercy and kindness to others regardless of who they are. We are to do right no matter who it is and no matter what the circumstance. We are to demonstrate the love of God to others in a real and tangible way, not in word only.
The Samaritan had demonstrated great compassion. He’d gone above and beyond. He made a real difference in a wounded man’s life. And when he gets up the next day to continue his journey, he entrusts the care of that man he helped to the innkeeper. He compels someone else to continue his kindness going forward, to care for the man as he had. He wants someone else to be willing to give time, attention, and money, and it wouldn’t be without reward. When he has to leave, he makes sure the work he started would continue.
Jesus came and showed compassion and mercy to the beaten and the broken, the lowest of the low. He was willing to get involved in people’s lives, to spend and be spent. And when He goes away, He compels us to pick up where He left off, to become ministers of grace ourselves, to go above and beyond, to make a real difference in the lives of others. The heart of what Jesus was about was helping people. He helped us with our sin problem. He helps us with the struggles and hurts of life in a sinful world. He ministers to those greatest needs of our hearts. And when we become His own, we become an extension of Him, still reaching out into the world to continue His work.
Jesus’ final statement regarding this story is “Go, and do thou likewise.” In other words, we are to follow the example. We are to be the kind of person demonstrated in the story. We are to imitate the love and service not just of the Samaritan, but our Lord who exemplified those characteristics Himself. We are to be the Samaritan in the world around us—not the thieves who seek to destroy, not the priest who ignores or the Levite who passes by, but the one who will do the hard thing, the right thing, and seek, out of love, to make a difference for Jesus’ sake.