Pro 4:23  Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.


The spiritual state of our society has been affected by sin and its consequences. Subsequently, we have become calloused and cold-hearted towards the suffering of others. The condition of the heart is the issue. Jesus taught us to have compassion.

Let us look at Luke 10:30-37

30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.  33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.  34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’  36 So which of these three do you think was neighbour to him who fell among the thieves?” 37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” NKJV

Background context

Jesus is being tested by a certain lawyer. He was asked a question regarding the law. What is the greatest commandment? The answer of Jesus was clear. That was that man ought to love God and his neighbour as himself! The lawyer then wanted to know, who is man’s neighbour.

The hurting stranger

Life is about interaction and relationships with others, irrespective of whom they might be. People are the one thing that we cannot avoid. We are going to come across time. Think about the story in the parable. The parable was filled with strangers. None of the role-players knew each other.

We know none of their names. The text only mentions, “A certain man”, “a certain priest”, “a Levite”, “a certain Samaritan”, and “the innkeeper”. This is exactly how even Christians live. We might see people every day and pass them by, but never know their names. We sometimes never make any effort to make contact or acquaintance. Therefore, they just remain strangers to us.

Let us think about the Levite and the priest. Their response to seeing a stranger was that they passed by on the other side of the path. The man was a stranger and remained estranged from them.

What does scripture say about strangers and how believers should respond to them?

Matt 25:34-36 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;

Our text mentions that those who inherit the kingdom are believers who did not ignore strangers. They go beyond their comfort zones of interpersonal safety and reach the stranger. Offering healing and deliverance through their testimony of Jesus Christ. Compassion fuels evangelism.    

Matt 25:44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’  45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’

How we treat strangers really counts with God! In the parable, Jesus was dealing with false perceptions as well. Jesus brings a strange and unexpected character onto the scene, a Samaritan. Then he adds another mindboggling attribute, saying that he was a Good Samaritan. Jesus knew that the majority of the audience was of Jewish cultural background and that this would not sit well with them. We know and Jesus knew about the animosity between Jews and Samaritans.

Therefore, the argument that Jesus was making is that the Samaritan was good. Jesus, Himself knew what it must have felt like to be held captive by people because of prejudice, he Himself being from Nazareth. Jesus was confronting the sin of prejudice within His Jewish audience.  If we never make an effort to get to know someone, our perception of that person will always be limited. Therefore, in our text the priest and the Levite are painted as the bad guys! Incomprehensible for a Jewish audience.

The fourth scenario that Jesus paints is that of desperate need

All three men stumbled upon this hurting stranger, who was left dying on the side of the road. He genuinely could not help himself! This would be a good definition of genuine need. We now see man’s response! The question to ask was, what was Jesus highlighting with this parable? Jesus was showing humanity what was lacking in their lives!

The power of compassion

The priest and Levite lacked compassion. They were people of the Temple in Jerusalem. Therefore, what is biblical compassion? It is to feel sympathy and to have pity when we are confronted with genuine needs. We often say ‘to be moved with compassion’, meaning that you are touched on the inside. Compassion is a heart issue! It means to have mercy and then to show kindness through acting upon the feeling. Compassion is an expression of Love.

Let us consider the compassion of Jesus

Matt 9:36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

Here we see that Jesus has compassion for weary and scattered souls, i.o.w the wandering soul.

Matt 14:14 and when Jesus went out, He saw a great multitude, and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.

Jesus is showing us what genuine need is!

Matt 15:32 Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion on the multitude because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”

They were so hungry for the word that they did not care about physical food!

Amazingly, compassion and forgiveness are linked

Matt 18:27 Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

Matt 18:33 should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’

A lack of compassion is the reason why this man could not forgive his fellow servant! Compassion is also linked to reconciliation.

Luke 15:20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.

Why do people lack compassion? Because it comes at a cost!  

To have compassion means that I am willing to inconvenience myself!

Vs 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 

The command to do likewise

Vs 37 … “Go and do likewise.”

The greatest enemy of compassion is selfishness and therefore Jesus gives us a command to have compassion.

Practical actions, which show compassion

1 Peter 3:8-12 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous;   9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For “He who would love life And see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, And his lips from speaking deceit. 11 Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 

  1. Live a Spirit-filled life [fruit of the Spirit, love, joy – kindness etc.]
  2. Do not return evil for evil.

1 Peter 3:8-12 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9  not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For, “THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT. 11 “HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT. 12 “FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.” [NASU]

1 Peter 3:8 Summing up: Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless — that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, Here’s what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful; Snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what he’s asked; But he turns his back on those who do evil things. – The message



Published by RandalvS

Pastoring The Potter's House CFM Church in George, South Africa.

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