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A teacher of the Mosaic law asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus responded, “What is written in the Law?” The teacher answered that you are to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, strength, and mind and your neighbor as yourself. Jesus realized that he knew the law, but his follow up question to Jesus revealed his true motive,

But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)

The intent behind his question was to limit his responsibility. People have a tendency to lessen God’s standard so that they may appear acceptable in their own eyes. Jesus told a story that revealed our need to truly care for others.

A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. Two people saw him, a priest and a Levite, supposedly people who could help him, but they passed by on the other side.


Jesus then does the unthinkable, he introduces a Samaritan as the hero into the story. The Samaritans were despised by the Jews. Notice the difference in behavior between the Samaritan and the Jewish religious leaders,

But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, (Luke 10:33)

The Samaritan apparently was on a business trip but he saw the man in need and he felt compassion. The word compassion literally means to be moved in one’s inmost being with reference to the bowels since they were thought to be the seat of pity. Jesus revealed that genuine compassion includes action,

and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.” (Luke 10:34-35)

We see three lessons from this story enabling you to show compassion toward others:

  1. Awareness – the Samaritan saw the need. Bob Pierce, the founder of world vision, prayed that God would break his heart with that which breaks God’s heart.
  2. Time – the Samaritan interrupted his journey to care for the injured man.
  3. Resources – the Samaritan paid for his stay at the inn.

If you want to demonstrate care to others, then you must practice biblical compassion as demonstrated by the Samaritan. Caring for others is actually caring for yourself. As you demonstrate care and concern toward others, you will discover that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Caring for others starts with a heart of compassion.

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