“How rare and uncommon is true brotherly love! This is a lesson which stands out prominently on the face of the narrative before our eyes. Our Lord tells us of a traveler who fell among thieves and was left naked, wounded and half dead on the road. He then tells us of a priest and a Levite who, one after the other, came travelling that way, saw the poor wounded man, but gave him no help. Both were men who from their office and profession ought to have been ready and willing to do good to one in distress. But both in succession were too unselfish or unfeeling to offer the slightest assistance. They doubtless reasoned with themselves that they knew nothing of the wounded traveler, that he had perhaps got into trouble by his own misconduct, that they had not time to stop to help him and that they had enough to do to mind their own business without troubling themselves with strangers. And the result was that, one after another, they both passed by the other side.
We have in this striking description an exact picture of what is continually happening in the world. Selfishness is the leading characteristic of the great majority of mankind. That cheap charity that costs no more than a trifling subscription or contribution is common enough. But that self-sacrificing kindness of heart which cares not what trouble is entailed, so long a s good can be done, is a grace which is rarely met with. There are still thousands in trouble who find no friend or helper. And there are still hundreds of ‘priests and Levites’ who see them, but pass by on the other side.
Let us beware of expecting too much from the kindness of man. If we do, we shall certainly be disappointed. The longer we live, the more clearly we see that few people care for others except from interested motives, and that unselfish, disinterested, pure brotherly love is as scarce as diamonds and rubies. How thankful we ought to be that the Lord Jesus Christ is not like man! His kindness and love are unfailing. He never disappoints any of His friends.”
“The only person who helped the wounded traveler of whom we are reading was a certain Samaritan. This man was one of a nation who had ‘no dealings’ with the Jews (John 4:9). He might gave excused himself by saying that the road from Jerusalem to Jericho was through Jewish territory and that cases of distress ought to be dealt with by the Jews. But he does nothing of the sort. He sees a man stripped of his clothes and lying half dead. He asks no questions but at once gives aid. Our Lord requires his example to be followed (v. 37).
Now if these words mean anything, a Christian ought to be ready to show kindness and brotherly love to everyone that is in need. Our kindness must not merely extend to our families, friends, and relations. We must love all men and be kind to all, whenever occasion requires. We must beware of excessive strictness in scrutinizing the past lives of those who need our aid. Are they in real trouble? Are they in real distress? Do they really want help? Then according to the teaching of this parable we ought to be ready to assist them. We should regard the whole world as our parish and then the whole race of mankind as our neighbors. We should seek to be the friend of everyone who is oppressed, or neglected, or afflicted, or sick, or in prison, or poor, or an orphan, or a heathen, or starving, or dying. We should exhibit such worldwide friendship, no doubt, wisely, discreetly and with good sense, but of such friendship we need never be ashamed. The ungodly may sneer at it as extravagance and fanaticism. But we need not mind that. To be friendly to all men in this way is to show something of the mind that was in Christ.
How few Christians seem to remember that such a parable was ever written! What an enormous amount of stinginess, meanness, ill-nature and suspicion there is to be seen in the church! How seldom we see a man who is really kind, feeling, generous, liberal and good-natured except to himself and his children!”
-From J.C. Ryle’s (1816-1900) Expository Thoughts; Found in Daily Readings From All Four Gospels Published by Evangelical Press Auburn, MA 2001 August 2 and 3 Devotions