“But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 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. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 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. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[e] 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.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10.25-37
When Jesus is asked, “Who is my neighbor?” by the expert of the law, he replies with this parable. I thought it was fitting today on Father’s Day to relate this to my father, and to those fathers who act with mercy, love and compassion.
As you know from the story, Jesus tells of a man who was walking from Jerusalem to Jericho, a road I have driven but never walked the distance of 15 miles or 25 KM. A Jewish man was making that trek and was attacked by robbers. He was first passed by a priest who saw him but walked on the other side ignoring the man completely. Then a Levite, holy and faithful in keeping the temple came by, and also ignored the man. But a Samaritan, representing the half Jewish race and an outcast from the Jews, came to the man, saw him, “took pity on him.” He bandaged his wounds with oil and wine, “put the man on his donkey and brought him to an inn and took care of him.” After a night of caring for the man, the next day he gave money to the inn keeper to look after him, offering to reimburse him for any extra expenses.
Then Jesus asked, which of these was a neighbor to the man who was robbed? The expert replied, “the one who had mercy on him,” and Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”
This is an incredible story and one which certainly offended the Jewish people. Like all of us, they believed their priests, levites and those in authority are merciful. And sometimes they are. But in this story of Jesus, the merciful one was the lowest on the social ladder, a Samaritan, who knew what it meant to be oppressed and beaten down.
As I write this I think about good fathers on this Father’s Day who show mercy to their children and wives, neighbors and strangers. Those who do so typically are faithful believers in Jesus, following his ways and abiding by his teachings and decress. I know that my own father, although certainly not perfect, is a man of compassion and peace. I strive to be the same type of father, showing mercy to those who Christ has called my “neighbor.”
Today, whether you are a father or not, let’s exemplify the Samaritan in the story by being a good neighbor to all people and honoring our fathers who show this kind of mercy. By God’s grace and for His glory.
“O Lord God, you are good. Thank you that you are the Good Father, that you are loving, kind, compassionate and holy. Thank you that we can strive to become fathers who are like our Heavenly Father, and that you are a God who portrays love like no other. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and love. Help me be all you want me to be as a holy father, loving to my wife and children. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen