“Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice”

Psalm 5:3

The Other Side of the Jericho Road

(Please read Luke 10:25-37)

January 21

Was he in a hurry? Well, he may have been away from home for awhile, doing his term of temple service. He was a priest, you know, a spiritual leader in Israel.

What about the next traveler? Well, he was another religious man, a Levite, who was also special among the Israelites. Give him a little credit, too; he may have had homecoming on his mind after some temple service.

The truth is, though, that two out of two “religious” men saw the miserable, beaten, half-dead traveler in their path and veered to the other side of the road. They may have been a special class in Israel, but on that day they did a poor job of living their religion.

Which leads us to take a closer look at the “other side.” In the first place, if you’re at all squeamish around bleeding and suffering, it’s easy to see that the other side would be more pleasant. But these men were accustomed to animal sacrifices, so that factor might not have counted for much.

However, there are a couple of other possibilities which probably ring a bell with many of us, to our shame — the “other side” was the easy side and it wouldn’t cost anything. When we have the opportunity to go out of our way to help some neighbor but are tempted instead to turn our heads and ignore the need, let’s hope that visions of the haughty priest and careless Levite will pop into our heads and help us be the kind of neighbors Jesus wants us to be.

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