The Wrong Side of the Road

Luke 10:30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 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. 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

A lawyer came to Jesus. He was well educated in the spiritual and civil law in Israel. He was testing and tempting Jesus perhaps to trip him up and see if he gave the same answer to his question that he gave the rich young ruler.  He wanted to cause trouble and being a lawyer he’d be ready to fire back at the response. He asked Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? Instead of giving this lawyer an answer Jesus asked a question. What is written in the law? how readest thou? The man said Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. Jesus told him he had answered correctly and told him that is what he should do. Then the Bible says in verse 29  But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?  He was still trying to push it. Jesus offered the story of the man who fell among thieves and was left to die.

There must be a personal relationship with God to have eternal life. It must create a change that affects our relationship with others. A right relationship with Jesus will make us love our neighbor. Who is your neighbor? Someone near you, not just someone who lives near you. Jesus set the framework. We’re on a road, the straight and narrow way. Jesus described this one as going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. Even if you’re homebound, someone on a telephone call, even a telemarketer, can be a neighbor. People the Lord puts in our way are our neighbors. How we deal with them is the practical side of our relationship with God.

Loving our neighbors as we love ourselves is that practical side of loving God. I can’t say I’m a child of God without letting it show in some way. That’s how baptism works. We do that not to be saved but as evidence that we are. Without salvation baptism means nothing. Communion means nothing without a real relationship with God. We cannot say we practice Christianity without drawing near to the Lord. People can go to church and read their Bible and still go to hell.  Faith and trust in Jesus is the basis that is followed by practice in our relationship with others. How do we do this? One way is noted in Matthew 25. Jesus said this:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

We serve God by serving others. We can’t take the other side of the road. We can’t hide our relationship with the Lord. There is a wrong side and a right side of the road. People drive on the wrong side all the time; they get preoccupied and then it causes problems. Stay in your lane. Jesus also wants us on the “right” side of the road.

The man in this story was victim to a robbery and left to die on the side of the road. The devil robs and wounds. Regardless of the capabilities of the lost, they have a disability without the Lord. They need help for their soul so they will be spared eternity in hell. They may tell you they need nothing but without Jesus they are under bondage of Satan getting closer to hell every day.  A priest came by. Jesus will guide us to those in need. If you ask him to lead and guide you, he will. There is work to do and it’s time to practice what we preach. We need to show it to those who are without. The priest saw him and passed by on the other side. He changed lanes. I guess his Christianity was reserved for the temple. We can’t wait until we get to church to show we’re a Christian. You can’t hang your Christian hat up as you exit the church. Stay on the right side of the road as a daily practice. Do not step over those who need to see your relationship with God. The Bible says the priest saw the man. He had no excuse. If God puts someone in our way, we have the means to  help.

Next came a Levite. He knew the doctrine of the scriptures and even taught it. He saw the man. He looked at him. Maybe he even wished him well. Then he passed by on the other side of the road just like the priest did. Did he do better than the first man? No. People need more than a casual look and a “hope you do better” response. They need the Lord. We have to do more than look on someone in need. God wants less talk and more action. It’s easy to talk down to and about the lost but they need our compassion, help and love. What is jesus had looked on us as a lost cause?

A third man came by. He was a Samaritan, looked down on and shunned by the Jews. But he served the Lord well. He bound up the man’s wounds, picked him up and took him to an inn to care for him. The next day he gave the innkeeper money to continue the care and promised to pay more when he came back through if needed.

Jesus asked the lawyer who was neighbor to this man who was by the side of the road. He said that the one who showed this man mercy was a good neighbor. Jesus told him to do likewise.

Our relationship with Jesus is private, but then again it’s not. We have what others need. Don’t go to the wrong side of the road. Stay on the right side. Regardless of who God puts in our path, take Jesus to them.

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