“Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbour to the man who fell among the robbers?’ He said, ‘The one who showed mercy on him.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’” (Luke 10:36-37)
In Genesis 2:18, God, after creating Adam looked at him carefully and observed: “It is not good for the man to be alone.” In other words, God saw that the man He created was not meant to survive without others. Being alone is not simply being unmarried, being alone is living in your own world, a world where everything centres around you, where the only person you love is yourself, a world where you can only sacrifice for yourself.
Jonah is one example of a man who was alone. He lived in his own world and cared only about himself. Even though he was a prophet, he had a problem with making sacrifices for others. So, when God asked him to go to Nineveh, he tried to escape from God, he didn’t think there was any need to make a sacrifice to save the souls of the Ninevites who were languishing in sin. God taught him a lesson using his life as an example for us.
Jonah’s experience, how his ship almost sank, how he had to spend three days inside the belly of a great fish is a classic example of what we suffer when we live only for ourselves! In the Gospel passage, Jesus teaches us the need to be kind and generous to everyone regardless of who they are. He offers us a universal definition of the term neighbour; one that is not restricted by race, colour, religion, or physical borders.
And to pass home His point, Jesus gave a parable of a man who was travelling ‘alone’ along a road path that was usually beset by robbers. Why was he was travelling alone? The robbers saw him as easy prey because he was entirely on his own. They not only stole from him, but they also stripped him, beat him, and left him half dead.
A priest saw him but passed by. This priest was alone, he too lived in his own world like Jonah the prophet. So likewise a Levite. Finally, a Samaritan who had no business with this man was the one who came to rescue him, offered to treat him, and took him to an inn where he paid the medical bills.
This Good Samaritan is the direct opposite of Jonah, he teaches us how to live by caring for our neighbours. They say, “if you want to walk fast, walk alone but if you must walk far, walk with someone.” Do not be a loner. It is dangerous to be alone; to live in a world of “I, my and myself.”
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, free me from selfishness. Amen.
Bible Study: Jonah 1:1-2:1,11, Jonah 2:3-5,8 & Luke 10:25-37)