Two questions asked by a lawyer allowed Jesus to use a parable and introduce us to several kinds of people.  The lawyer's first question was asked to trap Jesus. "What shall I do to have eternal life?" (Luke 10:25)  His second question was asked to justify himself. "Who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10:29) The parable is called, by most, the parable of the "Good Samaritan." (Luke 10:25-37) In the parable a brief look is given at several kinds of people.


     We meet a man who was traveling alone. He was on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. This was a road that was sometimes rough and rugged. It covered a distance of about twenty miles. "A certain man" traveled that road alone. Why he traveled alone is not known. He had a right to travel the road and he had a right to travel alone. Many travel the road of life lonely and alone, not by choice, but due to circumstances. Let us observe and see those who travel alone and try to lift up these lonely travelers on life's road.


     We meet some evil men, who were robbers. These men were evil and cruel. They were thieves and they were heartless. They were under the control of the Devil. Satan had deceived them. "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (Revelation 12:9)  It would have been better for these men if they had never been born. They took from people and from the world. Their presence makes the situation worse, not better. It is amazing how wicked people can become when they live without God. Let us resolve to never be among this number.


     We meet some very selfish and heartless men. The Priest and Levite observed the outward form of religion, but they were selfish, heartless and therefore, also godless. The focus of their life was self. They did not want to get involved. What they had, they wanted to keep instead of sharing. They did not rob and take from the poor man beside the road, but neither did they make his life better. People like them do nothing for those who are suffering and hurting. Observe the words of Jesus, "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:  'for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 'I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'  Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?'  Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me."' (Matthew 25:41-45) Let us never be like this godless pair -- the Priest and the Levite.


     We meet a compassionate and loving man. He was "a certain Samaritan." He was a man of a different race from the injured man. But, like Jesus, he had compassion on those who are hurting. He made the man's life better. He is the kind of person who makes the world a better place. He knew the man needed help and he helped him. He had compassion on the man and our challenge is to "go and do likewise." This Samaritan was a good man, who made the world a better place to live. The world needs many more like him. Let us imitate him.


     Let us never be cruel and selfish people; but compassionate, like the Samaritan who, "as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion." (Luke 10:33) Our world is full of unfortunate people who need to be lifted up and encouraged by the people of God. To truly encourage others you must be strong in the Lord yourself. To become a Christian hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Luke 13:3), confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21)  Have you put on Christ in baptism? Are you living a life of service to God and to man as you "go about doing good?" (Acts 10:38)


By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037