2006-05-04 - Among Thieves
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. (KJV)
How many times in this life's journey have you felt this alone and helpless?
Maybe you were ambushed and humiliated verbally by a family member, a co-worker or someone you genuinely respect. Maybe you were physically attacked by a stranger and left injured as in this case of the man traveling to Jericho. That can be a very lonely moment. Many would ask, "Where was God when this man was being beaten?"
First, we are accountable for our own actions. This argument is insipid. Whether or not you believe we are moral creatures, theft and assault of an innocent person are not accepted in civilized societies. Accept the legal guidelines if you will not accept the moral call. This does not help the victim, but that leads to another facet of these thoughts.
The victim becomes an opportunity to help someone who can not help themselves. Christians are very often leading the way into tough neighborhoods and emergency rooms, and court rooms to help victims. Sadly there are times when God calls the victim to eternity before they can be helped. If we believe that God is in control, then we must accept the fact that this person is now in the hands of God for better or for worse.When help arrives in time, as it did with the traveler in Luke 10, this help becomes a beacon.
The Samaritan, very likely the last person expected to help by the audience of the story, treats the man's wounds and tends to his needs out of his own pocket. When he must leave for a time, the Samaritan makes sure that his charge will be cared for during his absence. Those who are witness to this effort to save the victim are the targets of God's reach. God's effort to touch their hearts with a message of hope are facilitated by the Samaritan's efforts. Imagine the impact on the Innkeeper and the staff of the inn, and those who saw the Samaritan bring the man to the inn and care for him. Imagine the gratitude of the traveler and his openess to why this stranger was so willing to help.
Are there traps? Yes. The wise Samaritan must be very cautious both then and today. I have heard stories of people from friends who have been beaten and robbed when they stopped to help a motorist in trouble on the side of the road. Are there genuine needs? Of course. Use the mind and the common sense that God gave you.
Finally, are we not like this victim before we accepted Christ? Many of us had to reach the end of our physical or emotional resources before Jesus' message of hope could be heard. The message of the gospel was the wine and bandages to our souls. Sin was the thief that stole our hope and eternity that Christ restored with his care, at no cost to us when we were unable to help ourselves. When we do things like this motivated by the love of our Savior, He is honored and we are His hands and feet.
Lord Jesus - help us see the light in the dark places of this world and be mirrors that reflect Your light to the hearts and minds around us. Amen.