The Good Samaritan

Great change always comes at great risk. This was something that Martin Luther King Jr. knew all too well. On the night before Dr. King was murdered, he preached a sermon called “I See the Promised Land.” In his speech, he expounds upon the Parable of the Good Samaritan and shares a unique perspective as to why the priest and Levite may have passed the man by.


“I’m going to tell you what my imagination tells me. It’s possible that these men were afraid. You see, the Jericho road is a dangerous road. I remember when Mrs. King and I were first in Jerusalem. We rented a car and drove from Jerusalem down to Jericho. And as soon as we got on the road, I said to my wife, I can see why Jesus used this as a setting for his parable. It’s a winding, meandering road. It’s really conducive for ambushing. You start out in Jerusalem, which is about 1200 feet above sea level. And by the time you get down to Jericho, fifteen or twenty minutes later, you’re about 2200 feet below sea level. That’s a dangerous road. In the days of Jesus it came to be known as the Bloody Pass. And you know, it’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure. And so the first question that the Levite asked was, if I stop to help this man, what will happen to me? But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

Many of you pastor or serve in a church where you know change is needed. You know that your church doesn’t appeal to those who don’t know Christ. Yet, you’re afraid to act because you’re asking the question, “What will happen to me? What if they don’t want change? What if they vote me out?”

I think its time we reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help, if I do not lead the change, what will happen to them? What will happen to those who don’t know Christ?”

The time to act is now. Stop living in fear of what might happen to you, and start leading the charge to save those around you.

Dr. King concluded his sermon with this: “I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

What change are you currently implementing in your church? What’s holding you back?

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