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And Who Is My Neighbor?

by Alex Rodriguez

“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you’ ” (Luke 10:30–35, NKJV).[1]

When I read this account, I am appalled at the callous indifference demonstrated by the priest and Levite. For one, they purported to be God-fearing individuals; however, their actions spoke louder than their words. Clearly, the love of God was not in their hearts. First John 4:20 reads, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?” (NKJV)

Secondly, this story tugs at my heart because of the years that I spent working in public service-oriented positions. I was both a fireman and police officer for many years, and lived the philosophy that service to others trumped my personal feelings for the individual—a “do unto others mentality” (Luke 6:31). Years ago, as a law enforcement officer, I took an oath to serve and protect. To the best of my ability, I’ve endeavored to do just that.

But for many of us, we don’t need to take a similar oath. Compassion should automatically dictate that we come to the rescue of the less fortunate. The behavior of the priest and Levite is animalistic, and we are compelled to ask what makes individuals so coldhearted? Can’t they see the need? Don’t they value the importance of man looking out for man? In the case of the good Samaritan, the victim was in dire straits; without outside intervention, he would most likely have died. Were they blind to the gravity of the situation?

Does this story speak to you, too? Does it incite a bit of righteous indignation? It does for me! But before we get too puffed up comparing ourselves to the priest and Levite, think about this. During my morning devotion, I felt rebuked. As part of my worship, I sang the well-known hymn “Rescue the Perishing.” Allow me to share the first stanza and chorus.

“Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,

Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;

Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,

Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.

Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,

Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.”[2]

As I sang, the words stirred in me thoughts of the Great Commission. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19, 20, NKJV). I realized that if I were to witness an injustice perpetrated against an individual, or if I came across an injured person or anyone who needed help, I would instinctively offer assistance—even at risk to my own well-being. But when it comes to rescuing the perishing from a life of sin, sickness, and death, I’m much slower to act. Why is it that I would risk it all to save the oppressed or those in physical danger but hesitate to get involved in people’s spiritual battles?

Every day, people die without the saving grace of Jesus Christ. We are surrounded by a multitude of people who live their lives just for today, with little or no thought of the coming judgment. Just because we don’t see the carnage or experience their battles, doesn’t excuse our lack of compassion. The war is real, and without intervention, many will be lost.

But what can I do? you might ask. I’m not a preacher. God could have completed the work of evangelism on His own, but He chose to include us. As the incarnation in which the divine is linked to the human, God has joined forces with His people on this earth to accomplish the task at hand. That means He has elected you and me to work alongside Him to share the good news of salvation and eternity to a dying world.

Unlike the priest and Levite, many of us are willing to help during physical emergencies. But there is a greater emergent cause (fulfillment of the Great Commission) where we have fallen short of providing the assistance needed. This lack of action resembles the inaction of the priest and Levite. We are to be good Samaritans in both physical emergencies and spiritual concerns. Compassion for where people will spend eternity should be pouring out of us as readily as we would extend a helping hand to the less fortunate.

Next time you assist someone in need, remember the countless number who are heading to Christ-less graves daily. In the words of Paul, “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Timothy 4:1, 2, NKJV). Jesus is coming soon. Until He arrives, it’s all hands on deck.

Alex Rodriguez is the associate director of field services for the Voice of Prophecy. An ex-police officer and fireman, he now dedicates his time to communicating the love of God and the blessing of redemption through spoken word and song. Alex’s hobbies include woodworking, photography, and farming. He and his wife have four children. This was a blog entry posted on the Voice of Prophecy’s blog on November 2, 2015. Accessed on November 16, 2015, from

[1] Scripture marked NKJV is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[2] “Rescue the Perishing,” Cyber Hymnal, accessed November 2, 2015,

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