The Good Samaritan

Every town we visited, crowds followed Jesus.  He taught for many hours about the Kingdom of God.  Today we were sitting down listening to Jesus teach when an expert rabbi stood up in the crowd to test Jesus about his teachings.  He asked, “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus asked the man, “What does the law say?”

The man replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind.  And to love your neighbour as yourself” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:18).

These two commandments have been engraved in our hearts since Moses and the laws were given to him.  We have these commandments memorised and recite them often.  I was not surprised the man answered Jesus question pretty quickly.

The man wanted to justify his actions for standing up in the crowd testing him so he asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbour?”

In order to answer the man, Jesus told another parable.

“A Jewish man was travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho.  He was attacked by bandits.  They tore his clothes, beat him up and left him for dead on the side of the road.

A priest came by and saw the man lying there but crossed to the other side of the road ignoring him.  Not long after the priest, a Levite walked over, looked at the man and passed by on the other side as well.

Then a Samaritan came along.”

Gasps were heard among the crowd. Sadly we were not at all surprised the priest and the Levite would have left the man on the side of the road.  They would have been afraid to touch him because it would have made them unclean according to Jewish law.  However, they of all people should have stopped. They should show compassion towards the man despite the laws. Surely, God would have protected them?

I wonder what the Samaritan would do. None of the Jews had time for Samaritans, they hated them. Thus, the reasons for the gasps from the crowd. Shock was seen on our faces and even worse in our hearts.

Jesus continued “The Samaritan came along and saw the man and felt compassion for him.  The Samaritan walked over, soothed the man’s wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them.  He put the man on the back of his donkey and took him to an inn where he looked after him the rest of the day and overnight.

The next morning the Samaritan gave the innkeeper two silver coins. “Take care of this man.  If his bill runs higher, I’ll pay you the next time I see you.’”

Jesus asked the man “Which of the three was a good neighbour to the man who was beaten up and left for dead?”

The rabbi answered, “The one who showed mercy.”

Jesus told him to go and do the same.

We could not believe that a Samaritan helped the man on the road.  Wasn’t he scared of what would happen to him afterward or what other people would think?  I guess he didn’t care, he acted out of compassion not worrying about religious laws.

I thought for a long time about this story.  How many people have I ignored and still do because they are different than me? Why can’t there be peace between us Jews and the Samaritans?  I need to be more like the Samaritan and love others no matter what.  I pray for a change of heart towards people who are not like me. I pray for forgiveness for judging the Samaritan and others who are commonly hated by Jews. I pray God will help me to love and show compassion to everyone I meet. May I be more like Jesus and the Samaritan in this story.

 

Notes:

*The priest and Levite should have been the ones who cared for the man on the side of the road, but they were too worried about consequences.

“The Samaritan was not liked.  However, because he didn’t worry about religious laws, he acted.

*Love does not consider the worth of a person, it responds to their need!

*Prejudices separate people from needed assistance.  The Samaritan helped one who would have utterly despised him.  Jesus came to break these types of divisions-politically, ethnically, and territorially.

 

For further study:

Luke 10:25-37

 

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