Although this never happened, just imagine if it had. Imagine that when Jesus was a young man in the flesh He had been set upon by a group of thugs organized and paid by those same religious leaders who hated Him. Imagine that instead of simply killing Him, they had locked Him away in a dungeon, underfed, beaten, forced into slave labor for countless years until He was finally a weak, frail, shabby old man fraught with sores. Then one day, He was simply dumped into the street; left a grey-haired beggar barely able to lift His head.
Now, imagine that you happened by and saw Him lying there covered in dust, wearing only filthy rags and smelling of decay. He is holding out a shaky arm, begging for water and food as pleading tears run down from His weary eyes. And, suddenly, you know fully who it is you have come upon!
What would you do?
Would you run quickly and bring Him water? Would you pick up His emaciated body now light as a feather and say, “It’s okay now. I’ve got you, Lord”? Would you hold Him close to your heart despite the smell and cry tears over Him as you walked? Would you tenderly carry Him into your home and spoon feed Him from your own table? Would you bath Him and groom Him and give Him a soft place to rest? Would you stay faithfully by His side and hold His shaky hand? Would you caress His face and gently kiss over His tears of relief? Would you help Him with all you had? Would you treat Him better than your own grandpa or your old man?
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
Although we are incapable of ever fully grasping the depth of the love that beats for us within the heart of God, these precious words from Him do afford us an intimate glimpse as to its flavor.
So, whenever you feel the whisper of compassion blow into your good Samaritan’s heart for that neighbor in need placed by God before you, then just give. Give generously and without hesitation. Love your neighbor as yourself by simply giving of yourself; your touch, your time, your words, your focus fully in the moment. Give of all you have with all your heart despite the smell. Give as though you were giving to Jesus, Himself, because, my beloved …..you are!