How to Be a Good Friend
"And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him." Luke 10:30-34
The Parable of the Good Samaritan tells of a broken man who was befriended by a Samaritan. On a deeper level, it offers a beautiful picture of Jesus' restoration of mankind.
Jerusalem sits high on Mount Zion, while Jericho is situated near the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on Earth. Here was a man going from Jerusalem, which was the city of the great God, down to Jericho, which was the city of the pagan gods. This is a picture of humanity going away from God, from the holy city to the hellish city, from the heights to the depths.
And as this man was going from Jerusalem to Jericho, he fell among thieves. They beat him, stoned him, kicked him, stripped the clothes from him, took all of his wealth, and left him there in a pool of crimson blood — dying. This man is a picture of humanity going away from God, battered and robbed by the devil.
Did you know that we live in a world of people who are going from Jerusalem to Jericho? They're on their way away from God, going down, down, down; and they have been beaten and robbed by Satan. Ours is a hurting world! Hearts are crushed, bruised, bleeding, and broken.
Religion is not the answer. A priest and a Levite passed right by this hurting man. The priest represents religion with its rituals, and the Levite, religion with its rules.
The priest wrapped his self righteous robes around him and passed by and left that man wounded, bleeding, and dying. He just passed right on by. Jesus is teaching that religion with its rituals cannot save you.
Then the Levite came. The Levites were the custodians of the law. The Levite, the Bible says, came and looked at him, studied him, and then left him. The law can describe us, study us, and condemn us; but the law cannot save us.
Today there are many who are lost in "religion." How sad that is! Jesus came to save men from sin and from religion, and the last is sometimes more difficult than the first. Your neighbors need something more than religion with its rituals and rules. They need compassion. They need Jesus!
The Good Samaritan who ministered to this man, is really a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank God that Jesus, the Good Samaritan, saw him.
The Good Samaritan bound up this broken man and bound up his broken spirit. He soothed him with oil, a symbol of the Holy Spirit; and He cleansed him with wine, a symbol of the blood of Jesus Christ.
And then the Lord Jesus, the Good Samaritan, sat this man upon his own beast and brought him to the inn. He had to bring him; the man could not come of himself. This man had nothing to ride on, but after the Good Samaritan met him, he was riding and the Samaritan was walking. That's the substitutionary ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the One Who takes our place, comes to us where we are, and is moved with compassion. He is the One Who pours on the oil and the wine and puts us upon His beast.
We need to be a friend like Jesus. The problem with so many of us is we just don't see, we don't look! We're so busy, we pay no attention. People all around us are hurting and need help.
We don't have to wait until they come to us. We can go to them. That is what we need to practice. We need to share the love of Jesus with a hurting, dying world. That's what it's all about — being a friend.