Passing By

“By chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.” John 8:34

We must not suppose that all priests were thus cold and heartless. Ministers are generally warm-hearted men; they ought all to be so; they ought to set the people the example of kindness and sympathy; they ought to be like Christ — and He was always ready to help anybody in trouble. No doubt many of the Jewish priests were kind and generous; but here was one who was not. This shows us that being a priest or a minister does not make any one tender-hearted; one may occupy a very sacred place, and yet have a cold and hard heart. But it is very sad when it is so.

This priest did not even stop to look at the sufferer, or to ask him how be came to be injured, or to inquire what he could do for him. He kept as far to the other side of the road as he could get; perhaps he even pretended not to see the wounded man. No doubt he had excuses ready in his own mind. He was in a great hurry, or he was very tired, or he could not do anything for the poor man if he should stop, or he was very tender-hearted and could not bear to look on blood.

No matter about his motives; it is more to our purpose to avoid repeating his fault. Do we never pass by human wants that we know well we ought to stop to relieve? Do we never keep out of the way of those whose needs strongly appeal to us? Do we never have trouble hunting up excuses to satisfy our own clamorous consciences because we have passed by some one we ought to have helped? Some people look the other way when they are passing a blind man on the wayside. Ministers have refused to go to see sick people because they were weary. Persons have stayed away from church because there was to be an appeal for money for a needy cause. This verse is an ugly mirror, isn‘t it? It shows us blemishes that we didn‘t know we had.