Mercy and Grace

“And when he saw him, he had compassion on him. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine…” Luke 10:33-34

The story of “The Good Samaritan” is known to many. Jesus had been with the 70 appointed to go out in pairs to the cities He would be visiting. The disciples were also a part of this gathering. A question is raised and the conversation goes back in forth before the story is actually told.  Scripture says that the man with questions was “wanting to justify himself” (Luke 10:29). Funny how our sinful hearts can cause us to stand up publicly and we ultimately reveal our heart. “And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25). Jesus answered the lawyer with a question. And then the lawyer responds, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27). The man then wants specifics as to who exactly is his neighbor. And just like true Jesus fashion, He turns everything upside down with His answer in story form.

IMG_4090Jesus tells about a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho that was attacked brutally by thieves. They leave him stripped and badly beaten on the road. A priest passes by, but literally goes to the opposite side of the road to avoid the injured man. Do we do the same when we pass by those in need? Another man comes along, looks and moves to the other side too. And then it finally happens, the man who happens to be a Samaritan comes along and does not pass by or avoid the injured. “…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. 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 whenever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.” (Luke 10:34-35). Can you even imagine being the giver or the receiver in this story? The very thought is humbling.

What stood out to me this time was what was used to treat the mans wounds, oil and wine. Both had to be pressed to be made into something that could be used to treat a wound. I remember once, a dear man saying to my husband, “We all go through a pressing”. I have found it is what comes from the pressing that the Lord can then use for healing others. If I were to label my bottles of wine and oil, they would be Mercy and Grace. He is not finished yet, but I trust Him.

For many, we go along our days and sometimes do not stop and notice those wounded in our path. No, to keep moving sounds less costly. If we stopped, our time is taken, we might be late to where we were going, we might get dirty and it might cost us money too. This is not normally something that is built in our schedules or budgets. But, what if we did something different tomorrow? What if before we started our day, we packed our “oil and wine”? What if we sat down and thought about what we have been through- good and bad? What did we learn? How were we ministered to during times where we felt broken, wounded or unnoticed? What scripture comes to mind that you clung to during times where peace was a fight? My Bible is marked up with notes and dates. The margins read more like timelines. The common thread being God is faithful and His love is extravagant. He uses others along the way to notice, stop, pour encouragement into our days, bandage us up, carry us and love us well. Never waste an opportunity to do the same when you are back on your feet. To always stay the wounded one does not seem healthy.

Back to the original question, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). After Jesus tells this story, He asks, “So, which of these three do you think was the neighbor to him who fell among thieves?” (Luke 10:36). I love the words that come next. “And he said, ‘He who showed mercy on him.” (Luke 10:37). Should we not be doing the same? Maybe just maybe God will use us to show mercy to others. And in doing so, we reflect Him. Remember how the lepers cried out, “Jesus, Master have mercy on us!” (Luke 17:13). Jesus tells them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests. And so it was as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.” (Luke 17:14-16). I want to learn more about these Samaritan people, don’t you? They are different.

The story continues with Jesus asking another question. “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:17-18). When we are healed, we can return and give glory to God. We can be the Samaritan who does the uncommon and uses our oil and wine to help others who are in need of healing. We can be the Samaritan who is available and lives a life that daily wants to give glory to God. We are not here to serve ourselves, but others. Needs are everywhere. People are hurting everywhere, maybe even in your own home or family. It is very common for us to have a time where it feels like we have fallen among thieves who have stolen our joy and peace. May we all have eyes to see, hearts that love and minds that remember to always pack our oil and wine. Our world is hurting now more than ever. What difference will we make?

*I took this picture at Abilene Christian University.

 

 

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