By Bishop Thaddeus Barnum
We who help others, do we need help?
Why are we blind to our own condition? Why is it so hard to do something about it?
Our Lord is irritatingly direct. Do you remember the time He looked a clergyman in the eyes and said: “You are half-dead, beaten down, and too blind to see it”?
He’s not talking to us, right?
Before meeting the man, Jesus praised His Father for hiding these things from the wise and learned and revealing then to little children. “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see!” He told His disciples (Luke 10:21, 23).
That’s when he appears: The wise man, a biblical scholar, who doesn’t know he’s blind.
Our Lord is moved by compassion. He has work to do with this man’s soul. Hard work. How does anyone help someone who doesn’t need any help? With fierce precision, like a surgeon trying to save a life, our Lord sets forth the entire narrative of the Bible in a most convincing drama. The man – this wise, blind, arrogant man – is played by a man half-dead and beaten down on the side of the road.
Jesus our Lord is played by a Samaritan.
It’s just a fact: Our Lord means business. The soul of the wise man is filled with unseen hatred and blind prejudice. He hates Samaritans. Which, in our Lord’s drama, isn’t good seeing that He Himself happens to be playing that particular part.
Oh, but thank God, the wise man’s friends appear!
Big problem. The drama makes it quite clear they’re not really friends. They don’t stop. They don’t help. They have no compassion. Of course, if the wise man isn’t convinced he’s half-dead and needing help, it doesn’t really matter if they stop, does it?
The Samaritan is altogether different.
He sees us as we really are. He knows our condition. He knows we are in need of compassion and mercy; care that takes time, precision, and a plan that is costly, though He Himself is willing to pay for it in full.
He even lets His Church – played by the Innkeeper – assist Him in His care.
The poor wise man. Does he have any idea that he’s even in the drama? Does he know the Samaritan Himself is standing in front of him and taking time to care for his soul? Is he able – as a little child – to receive the soothing medicine that binds up the wounds the robber of Genesis 3 inflicted and be made well in Jesus’ name?
If only he could see. If only he could say the best words of all: “I DO NEED HELP!”
To contact Bishop Thaddeus Barnum directly: firstname.lastname@example.org