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From Heaven With Love

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    Dispel Darkness by Admitting Light

    Jesus did not denounce the bigotry of those watching to condemn Him. But by a simple story He held up such a picture of the outflowing of heaven-born love as touched all hearts, and drew from the lawyer a confession of the truth. The best way to deal with error is to present truth. “A man,” said Jesus, “was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.” RSV. This was an actual occurrence, known to be exactly as represented. The priest and Levite were in the company that listened to Christ's words.HLv 336.2

    From Jerusalem to Jericho the road led down a wild, rocky ravine infested by robbers, often the scene of violence. Here the traveler was attacked and left half dead. The priest merely glanced toward the wounded man. The Levite was convicted of what he ought to do, but persuaded himself that the case was no concern of his.HLv 336.3

    Both these men were of the class specially chosen to be representatives of God to the people. They were to “have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way.” Hebrews 5:2.HLv 336.4

    Angels of heaven look upon the distress of God's family on earth, and are prepared to cooperate with men in relieving oppression and suffering. All heaven watched to see if the priest and the Levite would be touched with pity for human woe. The Saviour had instructed the Hebrews in the wilderness, and had taught a very different lesson from that which the people were now receiving from their priests and teachers. The message had been given through Moses that the Lord their God “doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger.” “Love ye therefore the stranger.” “Thou shalt love him as thyself.” Deuteronomy 10:18, 19; Leviticus 19:34.HLv 336.5

    But, trained in the school of national bigotry, the priest and Levite had become selfish, narrow, and exclusive. When they looked upon the wounded man they could not tell whether he was of their nation. They thought he might be a Samaritan, and they turned away.HLv 337.1

    But now a Samaritan came where the sufferer was and had compassion on him. The Samaritan well knew that, were their conditions reversed, the stranger, a Jew, would pass him by with contempt. He himself might be in danger of violence by tarrying in the place. It was enough that there was before him a human being in need and suffering. He took off his own garment to cover him. The oil and wine provided for his own journey he used to heal and refresh the wounded man. He lifted him on his own beast and moved slowly along with even pace, so that the stranger might not be jarred and suffer increased pain. He brought him to an inn and cared for him through the night, watching him tenderly.HLv 337.2

    In the morning, the Samaritan, before going on his way, placed him in the care of the innkeeper, paid the charge, and left a deposit for his benefit. Not satisfied even with this, he made provision for any further need, saying, “Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.”HLv 337.3

    The story ended, Jesus fixed His eyes on the lawyer and said, “Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” RSV. The lawyer answered, “He that showed mercy on him.” Jesus said, “Go, and do thou likewise.”HLv 337.4

    Thus the question, “Who is my neighbor?” is forever answered. Our neighbor is every person who needs our help, every soul wounded and bruised by the adversary, everyone who is the property of God.HLv 337.5

    In the story of the good Samaritan, Jesus gave a picture of Himself and His mission. Man had been bruised, robbed, and left to perish by Satan. But the Saviour left His glory to come to our rescue. He healed our wounds. He covered us with His robe of righteousness. He made complete provision for us as His own charges. Pointing to His own example, He says to His followers, “As I have loved you, ... love one another.” John 13:34.HLv 338.1

    The Samaritan had obeyed the dictates of a kind and loving heart and in this had proved himself a doer of the law. Christ bade the lawyer, “Go, and do thou likewise.”HLv 338.2

    The lesson is no less needed today. Selfishness and cold formality have well-nigh extinguished the fire of love and dispelled the graces that should make fragrant the character. Many who profess His name have forgotten that Christians are to represent Christ. Unless there is practical self-sacrifice for the good of others wherever we may be, whatever our profession, we are not Christians.HLv 338.3

    Christ asks us to be one with Him for the saving of humanity. “Freely ye have received,” He says, “freely give.” Matthew 10:8. Many err and feel their shame and folly. They are hungry for encouragement. They look on their mistakes until they are driven almost to desperation. If we are Christians, when we see human beings in distress, whether through affliction, or through sin, we shall never say, This does not concern me.HLv 338.4

    The story of the good Samaritan and the character of Jesus reveal the true significance of the law and what is meant by loving our neighbor as ourselves. And when the children of God manifest love toward all men, they also are witnessing to the character of the statutes of heaven. “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:12.HLv 338.5

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