But he, willing to justify himself, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor?…
Take the scene of this parable as the wayside of life. The road through this world is a dangerous way, leading through the wilderness, stained by many crimes, haunted by many robbers. Travelling along this highway of life, I see crowds of persons, of all sorts and conditions of men. And I see, moreover, that all of them bear scars upon them, as though they had been wounded, and many I see are lying by the wayside in sore distress. All have at some time or other fallen among thieves. There is a famous picture by the great French painter which illustrates this. It represents a number of different people journeying through the valley of this world. The way is rough and gloomy, and all bear signs of having known weariness and sorrow. The king is there in his royal robes, and wearing his crown; but his brow is furrowed with care, and he seems to ask, like our own King Henry —
"Gives not the hawthorn bush a sweeter shade
To shepherds, looking on their silly sheep,
Than doth a rich embroider'd canopy
To kings, that fear their subjects' treachery?"
The poet is there crowned with laurel, but his eyes are sad, as though he felt how poor a thing is fame; how valueless the garland which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven. He looks with a yearning glance, as though searching for something not yet found. There, too, is the minister of state, who directed the fortunes of empires. " Whom he would he slew, and whom he would he kept alive." But his head is bowed with trouble, and he seems to look wistfully to the time when "the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest." Among the crowd there are women; the widow with veiled head, and tearful eyes; the mother clasping her dead child; the poor slave, cowering beneath the lash of the taskmaster, and stretching out her chained hands for pity. There, too, are many sick folk. Blind men sit in darkness by the wayside; cripples drag their maimed bodies wearily along; beggars grovel in their sores and raggedness. And all these different people seem to turn their faces longingly to one place, where a bright light breaks over the dark valley, and where there stands One with outstretched arms, and loving smile. It is Jesus, the Good Samaritan, who is ready to help these travellers on the road of life; it is the Good Physician, who has medicine to heal their sickness; and who says to every suffering heart, king and beggar, desolate widow, weary warrior, childless mother, "Come unto Me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?