They took his clothes and left him half-dead by the side of the road – but he was alive! Have you ever felt half-dead? Depressed, worn out, disappointed, tired of all the setbacks; you can’t get up off the couch, you’ve run out of ice cream and all your comfort food is gone. It feels like the whole world has collapsed on top of you! But – you didn’t die. The devil went in for the kill, but there was something in his way.
“Who is my neighbor, who is my friend?” the man asked Jesus.
Jesus answered with a parable – the good Samaritan.
Your Levite cousin and the rest of your relatives took a detour when they heard about your problems.
The people you thought were your friends headed to the other sidewalk when they saw you, and there are all kinds of ways people can cross to the other side of the road: they didn’t answer your texts or your phone calls, and when they sat across from you, they avoided bringing up the subject you needed to talk about because they knew that you would talk about your wounds and they didn’t want to “get involved,” so they crossed to the other side of the road.
I have a friend – he’s not a believer – who told me about how people avoided him when his wife died. They didn’t answer when he called, and they avoided him in town when they saw him. These were the very people that he thought were his friends.
“I couldn’t figure it out, Tommy,” he said, with tears in his eyes.
I just hugged him and didn’t say anything. But I could figure it out. They simply didn’t want to hear about his wounds, about his need to talk about what had happened. They just didn’t care about him. He was bleeding, but the people he thought were his friends avoided him.
I couldn’t relate to him, because when I was laying half-dead and the devil went in for the kill, not only was Jesus there but also many others who helped and comforted me. My church is fantastic when it’s at its best.
Finally the Samaritan comes, he cleans the man’s wounds, he places him on his donkey, he gets him a room at a hotel. The Samaritan pays for it and says that if that’s not enough, put it on his account and he would pay the rest when he got back.
Have you ever thought about how we’ve all been there; we’ve all been half-dead? But Jesus came, gave you his seat on the donkey, took you to a church and said:
“What I’ve paid won’t end up being enough for him. He’s going to spend more, make mistakes and fail, but put it on my account – I will pay for all of it when I come back.”
So who is your neighbor? Not always who you think, but rather the one who helps you when you really need help. It might not be your Levite cousin or your friend at work, but Jesus answers that it is the outcast Samaritan.
Jesus is being cast out of society today, but be sure of one thing: when you are lying there, abused, drowning in your own blood, Buddha will just walk past you, the gods of Hinduism will step all over you, Allah will just see you as weak, the wild beast will rejoice and the whore won’t care. But Jesus, who you may have cast out at one time, is the one who truly sees you, he breathes life into you, he cleans your wounds no matter what you’ve said about him, he exchanges places with you and leads you to the church and pays for you, covering everything you need that will help you.
Friends lift us up, comfort us, dress our wounds and give constructive criticism. Find people like that! Don’t hang out with people who are like you when you’re down. When you’re depressed, don’t hang around depressed people. When you are having marriage problems, don’t hang around people with the same problems, because you’ll probably just drag each other further down. Instead, look for the places and church services and friends who lift you up. The man who had been stripped, abused and robbed would not have been helped by someone who was half-dead at the time. You need a healthy Samaritan, a true friend who sees a “neighbor” in you.
Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray for the one reading right now. For those who have run out of optimism and ice cream, I pray in Jesus’ name that his light would come, and that he would send someone in your path today. I pray for all those who have been half-dead, but who are now healed and restored, that we will all be filled with your love for the broken people that we meet. You have given us life again, Jesus, and thank you that now we can give that life to as many as possible.
You are loved!