Trading Places

January 09, 2023

“But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 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. Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.'” Luke 10: 33b, 36-37

It’s a story of compassion: A man is robbed and left for dead on the side of the road when three people pass by.

First up is a religious leader, soon followed by a teacher of religious law. Arguably both Jewish leaders should have stopped to help, but they don’t. It’s the third man, a Samaritan, who stops to help. Here’s the irony: the Jewish people looked down on the Samaritans and had little to do with them.

This parable is actually a picture of what Jesus has done for us because Jesus is the ultimate ‘Good Samaritan.’ It’s Jesus who steps right into the middle of our mess, walks into the midst of our deepest needs, and does for us what we could never do for ourselves. From our stranded, beaten and broken state, Jesus picks us up, binds our wounds, and offers us new life. But it doesn’t stop there.

Jesus takes it one more step. He takes our place. Jesus became the one beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. He was stripped and robbed of all His glory, bearing our sin and shame all the way to the cross. Out of compassion, Jesus swapped places with us. Jesus is the mercy of God poured out for you and for me.

Have you experienced this kind of mercy in your life? While others pass you by, Jesus will always see you and stop.

When this really begins to sink in, our only fitting response is to show the world the love and mercy Jesus provides.

Adapted from a sermon by George Wright, Senior Pastor, Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Birmingham, Alabama