Humble Hero

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Dispel Darkness by Admitting Light

Jesus did not denounce the bigotry of those who were watching His words to condemn Him. But by a simple story He held up such a picture of heavenborn love flowing out to others that it touched all hearts and drew from the lawyer a confession of the truth. The best way to deal with error is to present truth. “A certain man,” Jesus said, “went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.” This was an actual occurrence, known to be exactly as Jesus told it. The priest and Levite were in the group that listened to Christ’s words. HH 231.7

From Jerusalem to Jericho, the road led down a wild, rocky ravine infested by robbers. It was often the scene of violence. Here the robbers attacked the traveler and left him half dead. The priest merely glanced toward the wounded man. The Levite was convicted of what he ought to do, but he persuaded himself that the case was no concern of his. HH 232.1

Both of these men were of the class specially chosen to represent God to the people. They were to “have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray.” Hebrews 5:2. HH 232.2

Angels of heaven look on the distress of God’s family on earth and are prepared to cooperate with men and women in relieving oppression and suffering. All heaven watched to see if the priest and the Levite would be touched with pity for human misery. The Savior had instructed the Hebrews in the wilderness, teaching a very different lesson from the one the people were now receiving from their priests and teachers. He had given the message through Moses that the Lord their God “administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger. ... Therefore love the stranger.” “You shall love him as yourself.” Deuteronomy 10:18, 19; Leviticus 19:34. HH 232.3

But, trained in the school of national bigotry, the priest and Levite had become selfish, narrow, and exclusive. When they looked at the wounded man, they could not tell whether he was Jewish. They thought he might be a Samaritan, and they turned away. HH 232.4

But now a Samaritan came where the sufferer was and had compassion on him. The Samaritan knew very well that, if their conditions were reversed, the stranger, a Jew, would pass him by with contempt. He himself might be in danger of violence by spending extra time in the place. But it was enough that here before him was a human being in need and suffering. He took off his own garment to cover him. The oil and wine he had brought for his own journey he used to heal and refresh the wounded man. He lifted him on his own beast and moved slowly along at an even pace, so that the stranger might not be jarred and suffer increased pain. He brought him to an inn and cared for him through the night, watching him tenderly. HH 232.5

Before going on his way in the morning, the Samaritan placed the man in the care of the innkeeper, paid the charge, and left a deposit for his benefit. Not satisfied even with this, he made provision for any further need, saying, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.” HH 232.6

When the story ended, Jesus fixed His eyes on the lawyer and said, “Which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” The lawyer answered, “He who showed mercy on him.” Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.” HH 233.1

So the question, “Who is my neighbor?” is forever answered. Our neighbor is every person who needs our help, every soul wounded and bruised by the enemy, everyone who is the property of God. HH 233.2

In the story of the good Samaritan, Jesus gave a picture of Himself and His mission. Humanity had been bruised, robbed, and left to die by Satan. But the Savior left His glory to come to our rescue. He healed our wounds. He covered us with His robe of righteousness. He made complete provision for us at His own expense. Pointing to His own example, He says to His followers, “As I have loved you, ... love one another.” John 13:34. HH 233.3

The Samaritan had obeyed the dictates of a kind and loving heart. In doing this he had proved himself to be a doer of the law. Christ told the lawyer, “Go and do likewise.” HH 233.4

The lesson is no less needed today. Selfishness and cold formality have nearly extinguished the fire of love and dispelled the graces that should make the character fragrant. Many who profess Jesus’ name have forgotten that Christians are to represent Christ. Unless we show practical selfsacrifice for the good of others wherever we may be, we are not Christians, no matter what we profess to be. HH 233.5

Christ asks us to unite with Him to save humanity. “Freely you have received,” He says, “freely give.” Matthew 10:8. Many have gone astray and feel their shame and foolishness. They are hungry for encouragement. They look at their mistakes until they are driven almost to desperation. If we are Christians, when we see human beings in distress, whether through affliction or through sin, we will never say, “This does not concern me.” HH 233.6

The story of the good Samaritan and the character of Jesus reveal the true significance of the law and what it means to love our neighbor as ourselves. And when the children of God show love toward all mankind, they also are witnessing to the character of heaven’s laws. “If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.” 1 John 4:12. HH 233.7