These things I command you, that you love one another. John 15:17
Jesus told a story about a man traveling on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. While he went along, robbers stripped him from his clothing, beat him and left him there caring not that he could die. [Luke 10:30-35]
In a little while a priest came along and when he saw the beaten man he immediately went to the other side of the road. It wasn’t long before a Levite came by and he also looked at the man and crossed to the other side. Both of them were probably repulsed by the man’s nakedness and bloody appearance so they ignored his need for help. Perhaps neither of them had time to stop or just didn’t want to be bothered.
Then someone came along who was simply oozing with love and mercy. A Samaritan man saw the poor helpless man and took pity on him, bandaged his wounds and poured oil and wine on him to begin the healing process. Then he put the battered man on his own donkey and took him to an inn to take care of him.
The following day he took two silver coins of his own money and gave them to the innkeeper telling him to look after the ailing man. He told the innkeeper when he got back from his travels, he would reimburse him for any extra expenses he had. The Samaritan did not even know the man he found on the road, yet he took his own valuable time to care for him. He took money out of his own pocket for the man’s care. He poured his own oil and wine on the man’s wounds for healing. How unselfish he was. What compassion! What love! What mercy!
The story Jesus told is such a great example of the kind of love He wants each of us to have for one another. If every person could show the kind of love He described, requiring nothing in return, the world would be a much better place to be. Love would fill our schools. Love would fill our workplaces. Love would fill our homes. Love would fill our churches. Love would cover the whole earth. Everywhere we turn we would feel that same love that can only come because we have the love of Christ living within us.
Many hurting people may not have visible wounds like the man described here, but have a heart that has been ripped apart. Those people need love and understanding in the most desperate way. Some may not have a broken heart, but are hurting because of physical disabilities and need others to let them know that they are special and are loved by God.
The calling all Christians share alike is the call to love one another. Every single one of us are to render love, for without it, our words will be meaningless chatter in someone’s ears. Unbelievers can usually see right through those who do not have it, but when there is a genuine love of Christ backing up our actions, it will be evident. Those around us will know we are Christians by our love. We can say we love each other all day long, but our actions will prove it one way or the other.
How many times are we repulsed by those who come into our churches who may not look the way we think they should or smell the way we think they should? How many times do abused and broken people come in and out of the doors of our sanctuaries looking for someone to care for them but no one cares or even notices them? How many of us are so into ourselves and so into our own worlds that we fail to notice that poor helpless woman who graced the back row of the church hoping someone will see that she has a broken heart and needs help?
Jesus encourages us further by telling us whatever we do for the least of these, we also do unto Him. (Mt. 25:40) No doubt all of us would take our shirts or shoes off and give it to Jesus if He asked for them. But what He is saying in this passage is that “whatever you do for anyone, you are doing for Me.” That cup of cold water you gave to a stranger -- you actually gave it to Jesus. That bag of groceries you put together for a struggling family – you gave it to Jesus. The clothes you took off of the rack in your closet and gave to someone – you gave them to Jesus. When we give to others we’re giving to Jesus. We’re called to love one another.
If you love Me keep my commandments. John 14:15
Prayer: Father, thank you for showing us what true love really is. Thank you for allowing us to get a glimpse of Jesus through this message. We now realize that when we help others we are actually doing that deed to your Son. Help us to use every opportunity to reach others with your love and mercy. Thank you for every lesson we learn. Thank you for caring for us and showing us the right way to be. We want to be like you Jesus. We want to care for others as you do. Help us to have compassion on those who are hurting either physically, mentally, emotionally, financially or by any other means. Lord, help us to be sensitive to those needs and to be discerning where we might have missed it in the past. We give you praise for what you are going to do in our lives from this moment on. In Jesus’ name. Amen.