Compassion and Brotherly Love

All students of the Bible are familiar with Jesus' parable of the good Samaritan, as set forth in the tenth chapter of Luke's Gospel. It will be recalled that the Samaritan did the needful thing for the one who had been robbed and beaten: "he had compassion on him," he "bound up his wounds," he had him "brought ... to an inn, and took care of him." Whereas, "a certain priest" and "a Levite," who had previously come down that way and looked on the wounded man, had "passed by on the other side," or in other words had not ministred to his human needs.

In many instances Jesus taught by parable; and his teaching was not for a special few, nor for a certain time only, but for all mankind and throughout all time. Hence today, if we heed his words, we may profit by them just as much as did those who heard him in those days. This particular parable of the good Samaritan was spoken by Jesus to bring home a lesson to a certain lawyer who has asked what he would be required to do to inherit eternal life. Since the lawyer was told to go and do as the Samaritan had done, the inference is that it was the lawyer's lack of compassion, his lack of understanding of the true meaning of the word "neighbor," his failure to see the necessity for loving mankind, without respect of person, that was standing between him and a realization of life eternal. It was the things he had left undone, rather than those he had done, that were the stumblingblocks in his path heavenward—errors of omission rather than errors of commission.

What a wealth of kindness, gentleness, tenderness, humility, compassion, and brotherly love was expressed by the Samaritan in his treatment of the stranger! He was not too proud or too busy to succor the one in need; nor did he fear for his own safety in that lonely spot: he thought only of the need of this "neighbor," and at once helped him in a practical way, a way which the wounded one could appreciate. But what about the priest and the Levite? What was lacking in their consciousness that prevented them from ministering to the needs of the wounded one? Just what was lacking in the consciousness of the lawyer. Jesus brought out clearly that while the lawyer was very familiar with what was "written in the law," he was woefully lacking in its practical application in his daily contact with his fellow-men.

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Peter's Wife's Mother
July 9, 1927

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