The man was sitting beside a small, recently fallen, tree near the woods at the edge of town. His hand gripped his chest constantly and a grimace showed on his face. He was obviously in great pain. His other hand rose occasionally, feebly waving in an attempt to motion for help. A woman sat nearby, leaning against what was left of their motorcycle. Her face was filled with agony and despair. Neither one of them looked like they could hold on for much longer. They had apparently already been in this state for quite some time without any aid.
Later that same afternoon, an older man noticed the couple and pulled his truck over a short distance away from them for a better view. He was intrigued that nobody else bothered enough to even slow down, much less to stop and try to help them. But he did not try to assist them or make a call for help either. Then a young man in his early twenties riding a skateboard passed by on the sidewalk. The older man opened his window and hollered, “Hey, kid! Will ya take a moment and check on those two over there near the woods? They seem to be in some kind of pain and trouble.”
“Not a chance! They’re out of my way. Why should I be bothered?” the young man replied. Then he picked up speed and crossed to the opposite side of the street, moving even farther from the man in the car and the injured pair in the distance.
Another couple walked by and saw the injured couple but made no attempt to leave the path. They spotted the open window of the older man’s car, then struck up a conversation with him about how awful the couple’s pain and despair must be. But they still considered themselves too far away to be able to assist them. The older man breathed a heavy sigh, but even he eventually put his car in gear and drove away, having never even tried to help or to contact the police or an ambulance. Vehicle after vehicle passed by throughout that night and into the early hours of the next morning. Yet not one person made any effort to stop and help the poor injured couple. None could bring themselves to go out of their way for someone in distress.
There are many today like those who passed by without helping. They might notice that someone is in need, but they do not want to leave their comfort zone to provide assistance. They may want to help, yet, like all of the others above, it is just too much out of their way to do anything to assist someone who is helpless. They console themselves that someone else will come along shortly and provide the needed help. But in reality, few ever do—or if anything is done, it is usually too little and often too late.
On the other hand, many others in this world find themselves in a condition like the injured man and woman. Even though they may be in extreme pain and have little to no hope of making it much longer, their plight is usually ignored. Their agony may not always show externally, but it is still there nevertheless, and will not just go away.
In His great love for us, Jesus Christ left His place at the right hand of God to come to this sin-filled, needy world. He did all that God required (which was impossible for us to do due to our sinful state) and overcame the very source of our pain, misery and helplessness. He was willing to go so far out of His way for us that He ended up sacrificing His very life for us. Then, as the consummation of what He did for us during His time here in this world, He rose from His grave and returned to His Father in Heaven.
There was also a “certain man [who] went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, 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 on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:30-34).
Jesus is like this certain man from Samaria. When He sees someone stripped and wounded by the side of the road, He will not just pass by on the other side. Instead, He will stop where that person is, in the sad state that he is in, and have compassion on him. The Samaritan went out of his way to take care of the man left half-dead, and Jesus will take care of those who are wounded and dying as well. No matter how far away we may be from the beaten path, He will come to help us—if we call out and receive Him. No condition of distress that we might find ourselves in is too great or too small for Him to help us. Another time, Jesus “…came to Jericho: and as He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me” (Mark 10:46-47). This city was not on Jesus’ itinerary that day. But He went out of His way for the sake of just one blind man. And He is willing to do the same for us also. When we are in distress, call out to Him like the blind man in Jericho did, and we can be sure that this Man will stop and help us!
[Additional image credits: Featured image (when available) Josef Beckley on Freeimages.com]