Summary: Challenges listeners to put their love into action and demonstrate the love of Jesus through acts of compassion. Also discusses the power of acts of compassion as ways to open doors of evangelism.
What is compassion? Compassion is an expected output of true love. “Compassion” = A feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for someone in the midst of a tragedy, accompanied by a desire to alleviate the suffering.
It’s the most important thing you put on every morning. Every day, we get up, take a shower, and go through a whole routine to make ourselves presentable to the outside world. Deodorant, brush teeth, comb hair, etc. Some of you (especially ladies) may spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what you’re going to wear. This week, I hope you add another thought to your morning routine. In addition to all the things we do to prepare ourselves OUTWARDLY, let’s give thought to preparing INWARDLY by what we put on. Colossians 3: 12, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Let’s make a conscious effort this week to prepare ourselves each morning to portray kindness, compassion, gentleness, and patience toward those we encounter each day. 1 Peter 3: 8, “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.”
The lessons of the Samaritan
On one occasion, a man came up to Jesus and asked Him what he must do to inherit eternal life. He was an expert in the Old Testament law and likely wasn’t really inquiring for information, but Luke 10: 25 says he was testing Jesus. Jesus replied to him: Luke 10: 26 - 28, “What is written in the Law?’ He replied. ‘How do you read it?’ “He answered: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’” So they agreed that the essence of the Christian life was to love God and love our neighbor. But the scholar raised an important question in verse 29 when he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus then spoke to the issue of loving our neighbor by telling a story.
A man in desperate need
Luke 10: 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.” The distance from Jerusalem to Jericho was about 17 miles. The road between the two towns ran through rocky, desert country, which provided isolated places for robbers to hide and lie in wait for defenseless travelers. It was likely that the people of that day had heard reports of similar things happening to unfortunate travelers
Those who passed on by
Luke 10: 31 – 32, “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.” It’s important to note that the people Jesus described as passing the poor man by were RELIGIOUS people. One was a priest and the other was a Levite. That would be the modern day equivalent to a Senior Minister and an elder or an associate minister.
Rationalizations of those who “passed by”
“I’m in a hurry and have important things to do. I just don’t have time to stop and deal with this.”
“Somebody else will stop and help them. I wouldn’t know what to do anyway.”
So they pass on by, perhaps pretending not to see him. Now, before we get all judgmental on these guys, let’s note that we often do the same thing. We see people every day that have needs. The guy that’s trying to support his family off of his and his wife’s minimum wage jobs. The lady at work whose husband just left her and she needs someone to listen. The guy at work that everybody says is an “oddball” and everyone avoids. The kid at school that sits at the end of the table by himself at lunch.
How do WE rationalize “passing on by?” “It’s the government’s job to take care of people who are struggling financially. I pay my taxes. I’ve helped them enough.” “I have enough problems of my own. I don’t have the time or energy to listen to her unload her emotional baggage.” “What will other people think if they see me hanging out with the likes of him? Plus, I’ll miss time with MY friends.”
Compassion is love in action
Luke 10: 33 – 37, “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. The next day he took out two denarii 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.”