Seinfeld and the Good Samaritan

The story of the Good Samaritan is known for what it teaches about showing mercy to others.

Luke 10:36-37 famous reports: “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.”

I remember watching the series finale to the TV show Seinfeld

Jerry and the gang witnessed a carjacking. Kramer recorded the whole thing on video. As he did so, his friends made fun of the guy whose car was being stolen.

As it turns out, they were in a part of the world where they had passed a law called The Good Samaritan Law. If you saw someone who needed help but didn’t help them you could be charged!

It was all made up to be funny, of course; but it highlights one of the reasons why showing mercy is so beautiful. 

It’s not something we have to do—it’s something we want to do and get to do. We do it freely because of love. Mercy comes freely and willingly from the heart of the one doing the helping.

John Calvin noted that God does not force obedience in people “but wishes their service to be free and spontaneous.”*

We show mercy freely—not because we have to, but because God has shown that same free mercy to us. And we are grateful.

Show mercy freely.


–Today’s devotional is a small segment from a study I put together on the full story of The Good Samaritan. You can listen to it here on an episode of The Pulse Podcast.

–The Up Devotional is published 5 days a week (Monday-Friday) and returns on Feb. 22, 2021.

–*John Calvin, ed. David. W. Torrance & Thomas F. Torrance, A Harmony of the Gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke, Volume III, and The Epistles of James and Jude (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), 36.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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