A Reputation To Die For
In the story of the Good Samaritan there is something that I think we have missed and that is the reputation of the Samaritan. It strikes me as odd that the innkeeper was so willing to put the expenses for the injured man on the tab of the Samaritan based on his word. Perhaps it was actually based on the Samaritan’s reputation. Isn’t that interesting that this innkeeper just took this man at his word. I realize that was a different culture where a person’s word meant a whole lot more, but the word of a traveling Samaritan in a Jewish region must have needed a little more backing. Perhaps he had been this way before, perhaps people knew him as a man of his word, a man who was trustworthy.
Maybe Jesus was trying to make that point that good deeds don’t happen in a bubble, they are a way of life. Maybe he was trying to point out that it was a no-brainer for the Samaritan to meet a need simply because it was the right thing to do. He lived a lifestyle that looked out for the needs of others. It is more than who are neighbor is, it’s how we live our lives. Ultimately I believe Jesus was calling out his listener’s to not only do the occasional good deed for their neighbor, but to live lifestyles of integrity, like Daniel, where no reason for suspicion could be found.
Jesus had a reputation too. In fact it got him killed. He had a reputation for making radical claims and more than that he backed them up with his actions, actions that went continually above and beyond expectation. People knew they could count on Jesus, and at the same time they tried talk him out of his destiny as the Son of God. He had a reputation as a drunkard and glutton because He was always partying with the thieves, and sluts and liars. He had a reputation as a troublemaker because he flipped the social order on end and called the ruling elite names. He had a reputation as a lawbreaker because He didn’t buy into legalistic nonsense like the Pharisees. He had a reputation as a blaspheming heretic and a rogue prophet because He dared to speak the Truth in love. One thing is true about Jesus though, His reputation came about because He lived a life of consistently doing what His Father called Him to do even when it flew in the face of the establishment. Jesus was a man whose reputation certainly preceded Him and eventually led Him to the cross.
What’s your reputation? Is it one you deserve? Are you willing to keep living out that reputation? Are you willing to die for it? Why?