Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)
Here we see a great blessing that can easily be missed: the blessing of shouldering up under the burdens of another. We can be so caught up in our own lives that we miss a ministry opportunity right in front of our noses. How often we are busy being busy and miss the blessing of burden-bearing in the life of someone who truly needs our help.
Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’” (Luke 10:30-35)
The priest missed it . . . The Levite missed it too . . . But not the Good Samaritan. There are a few remarkable things in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. First, the two characters who should never have missed the blessing of burden-bearing were the priest and the Levite. Both knew the Law of God and what it required of them, yet both of them went out of their way to keep from helping someone in great and obvious need.
Next we find the person least likely to respond appropriately (that is, biblically) was the Samaritan. Samaritans were a mixed race (unlike the priest and the Levite who were the pure descendants of Abraham) and they were generally despised by the Jews.
To the priest, the injured man was problem to avoid. To the Levite, the injured man was an obstacle to get past. But to the Samaritan, the injured man was a person to come alongside of and shoulder up under the weight of his burdens. The priest missed the blessing; the Levite missed the blessing; but the Samaritan received the blessing of burden-bearing in the life of a complete stranger, treating him like a neighbor.
Let’s take a look at the conclusion our Lord drew from this story:
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)
The ultimate burden-bearer was the Lord Jesus Christ. He bore the impossible burden of the Law’s demands. He bore the horrific burden of the Cross. He bore the unimaginable burden of the wrath of Almighty God. And He bore these burdens for you. Jesus gave us the perfect model of burden-bearing and made sure there is no confusion about how we are to view His model. He told us: “Go and do likewise.”
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!