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 10:35)
How far can the hands of mercy be stretched? Actually, it depends on how far one is willing to stretch it. Jesus spoke about a Samaritan who was willing to stretch it all the way, perhaps till it hurt. He had found a wounded man, almost dying. He could have passed by and not bothered to do anything, like a priest and a levite who passed by earlier did. No, but he was different. Actually he had no status in society in that period of time and no one would have complained if he ignored the half dead man, but he chose to be different. He bandaged the man's 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
His merciful act could have ended there, but no; he was willing to go further. That's clearly seen in the words that we read in the title verse above.
Jesus once said, "Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." (Matthew 5:7)
The question that we can ask ourselves is this...How far can we stretch our hands of mercy?
Sometimes, we hold ourselves back thinking of what others would think and sometimes, we limit ourselves in being merciful. Sometimes we put on our judgmental glasses when we see others suffering. Sometimes we look to see whether the suffering one is one of us, so that we may show mercy.
But here is what our Lord says,
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
We are not perfect, but the Lord Jesus urges us all believers this day to be like our Father in heaven. He says,
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:36)
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.(Matthew 5:48)
Perfection may take a lifetime, but we can start today and learn from our Savior Jesus Christ, who stretched forth his hands of mercy towards us that we would not perish in our sins but have eternal life by believing in his finished work on the cross.
Jesus Christ has shown us the path of being merciful; let us all follow in his footsteps.