36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. Lk. 10:36-37
This story refers to the Good Samaritan, of course. I am sure everyone has heard of the Good Samaritan.
What was “good” about this Samaritan? We call him “good” because he showed mercy. He showed mercy by doing something for a hurting person. He paid a price to show mercy.
In my computer’s Thesaurus, I found many words which refer to the word “mercy” in the sense that Jesus indicated it here.
Amongst them: compassion, pity, kindness, sympathy, generosity. I will add “tenderness of heart”.
I do not claim to know chess very well, but it appears to me that in the game of chess the king is everything. Every other piece can go and the game will continue. But you so much as threaten the king, and unless he is “covered” the game will have to come to an end.
In this scripture, the word “Do” is king. Everything hinges on this word.
I love Jesus’ words, “Go, and do likewise”. Do what? Show mercy, of course. Show mercy to someone in need.
Have you ever thought of the fact that every day you come into contact with people who are in need of mercy? Sometimes you see them, sometimes you don’t. But I believe that if we are walking in the Spirit, the Holy Spirit will point out these needy people to us.
And they are many, I can assure you. They are very, very many. And sometimes they are much closer to us than we think. Probably even your husband or your wife is one of them.
In our religious mentality, we are tempted to think that probably only street beggars need mercy – but just yesterday I read of a very famous actor in the U.S. who died apparently through a suicide. This was a man who needed mercy, and he probably never got it.
The truly important thing is how we who are the members of the Body of Christ respond, if we do at all. I am ashamed to say that there are many times when I have clearly felt the Holy Spirit leading me to show mercy to someone, but I found myself either too fearful or too selfish to respond. I just continued on in my own business.
That makes me feel uncomfortable. Not condemned, but uncomfortable. I know that the Lord in His unending grace will give me another opportunity to respond to someone who needs mercy. But through my inaction some life somewhere will have suffered unnecessarily, not to mention some who might even have been lost forever.
When we allow the cross to work in us, however, we will find ourselves putting aside our selfish agendas and living sacrificially for other people, all the time. That is why we need to emulate Apostle Paul who said, “I die daily” (1 Cor. 15:31).
And when we find ourselves fulfilling Jesus’ words, “Go and do likewise”, what joy it brings to our hearts and what grace it brings to our lives!
One of the greatest things we can accomplish in the gospel of Jesus Christ is to carry a tender heart for hurting people. A tender heart founded on the cross of Jesus, living sacrificially enough to do something.
Have you shown someone mercy today? Was your heart touched by someone’s suffering and did you do something for them – probably simply give them a cheery smile? It is the little things that we do that bring a difference to people’s lives.
If you did so, I am sure the Lord is pleased with you.
If you have not shown mercy to someone today, there is no judgement. You are not under any condemnation.
And the door is still wide open.
“Go and do likewise”.
[Below: Can you know someone’s heart?]