In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, 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 neighbor 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 10:30-37 NIV
Today we are looking at a familiar story to many of us. Jesus tells the story of the Samaritan who had compassion on a man who was a victim of being robbed, beaten nearly to death, and then left in the road between Jericho and Jerusalem. Let’s set the stage a little bit. Jerusalem is at 2,500 feet above sea level, and Jericho about 17 miles east, is about 800 feet below sea level. When these men were traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, they would descend about 3,300 feet, in a fairly desolate, rocky 17-mile road. Robbers and bandits knew the terrain well as an opportune place to waylay travelers as did Jesus’ listeners.
Now, let’s read this story in Luke 10:30-37. First read it for content. Once you have read it through once, read it again, slowly, and imagine yourself as one of these characters in this story, or as someone who witnessed part or all of this drama. Now try reading it again using a different translation. Some to try are the New Living Translation, or the Amplified Translation, The ESV, the NIV, the New American Standard, the New King James Version or the original King James version.
What did you notice? Did God reveal something new to you as you read this story in a different version than you are used to using? How can you show compassion to someone today? Can you help someone with a task, or offer a word of encouragement to someone today? Listen to what God tells you to do or say as you reflect on this familiar but very relevant story.
By Grace Hunter