(Jesus asked) "Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise." Luke 10:36-37
The time was 11 a.m. on a Wednesday morning. The place was San Antonio, Texas.
On that day and time a funeral procession was slowly wending its way from the church to the cemetery. Driving at that slow speed the people were able to see things they normally might have missed.
That is why Robert Garcia and the other members of that motorcade were able to see a 79-year-old lady who was at a bus stop.
What struck them as unusual was this 79-year-old lady was not just waiting for a bus. No, this lady seemed to be in a battle. Indeed, that is exactly what was happening. She was struggling with Joseph Carpenter, a 41-year-old man, who was trying to steal her purse.
The sight left the mourners with a decision: they could either help the lady and ruin the dignity of the funeral, or they could proceed on and leave the woman to her own devices. Over the years I have shared many times when people decided to mind their own business and, like the priest and Levite in Jesus' good Samaritan parable, pass by on the other side.
That's not what happened that Wednesday morning in San Antonio.
That morning no less than eight men immediately jumped from their cars and ran to the rescue of the lady. They surrounded Mr. Carpenter, captured him, and called for the police. The lady was taken to the hospital with some injures; the purse thief was taken into custody, and the good Samaritans got back in their vehicles and finished the funeral.
This really is a fine example of the proper priorities Jesus wants His people to have.
When Jesus entered this world, His priority was to save us. When the world's representatives challenged Him, when Satan tempted Him, Jesus held on to His Father's priorities. Nothing was able to move Him from His desire to save us from our sins. The empty tomb of Resurrection Sunday is God's sign and seal that Jesus was successful in His work of saving us.
And now the Lord wants us to have proper priorities.
He tells us, even as He told His original listeners, that we should "go, and do likewise." Jesus wants His people to give a witness to the world. He wants us to show that we love others because He first loved us. He wants us to let the "dead bury their dead" (see Luke 9:60), while we, through our words and our actions, bear witness to the forgiveness, grace and salvation we have received.
He wants us to show the world the Savior has changed our priorities -- and our hearts.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, Your ways are not ours, and the ways of the Christian should be different than the ways of the world. In every situation I find myself, may the Holy Spirit give me the proper priorities so my life may glorify the Redeemer. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries