Monday, July 15, 2013

The Good Samaritan Today

In Luke chapter ten Jesus told a story that we all know so very well, the story of the Good Samaritan.

It was about a man. We know nothing about him except that he foolishly traveled from Jerusalem down to Jericho alone. Not a good idea! I have been on that road and it is still not a good idea. From Jerusalem to Jericho is a distance of about twenty miles and a drop in elevation of about 26,000 feet. The road follows a twisting path of flash flood water carved canyons with plenty of places for robbers to hide in ambush. A man traveling alone was easy pickings for those thieves.

Beaten, robbed of everything and left for dead he perhaps saw a priest approach and though help had arrived. The priest moved to the other side of the road to avoid contact and passed on by. Why would he do that? Perhaps he was on his way to serve his day in the Temple after 30 days of purification. To touch blood would disqualify him and he would loose out.

The second man to come along was a Levite who was a member of the tribe that produced priest but he did not serve as a priest. Perhaps he was a musician who also had to purify themselves to serve in the temple. The wounded my thought surly this man will help me. However he also went out of his way to pass by the wounded man. Perhaps both men had a high regard for them selves and didn’t want to be bothered. Imagine what the wounded man thought as two men of God passed him by and went on their way.

Jesus then told of a third man and this was a shock for everyone listing to the parable. The man was a hated Samaritan. Jews and Samaritans were both Israelites but they hated each other. When the Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians small groups escaped into the hills and later became know as the Samaritans. Judah and Israel had fought for hundreds of years and hated each other. The hate has yet to die.

To everyone’s shock it was the Samaritan who stopped and helped the wounded man and went the extra to see that he was cared for. Jesus then asked the man who questioned him, “Who was this man’s neighbor?”

The Jewish lawyer could not even say the word Samaritan. He could only say, “The one who had mercy on him.” Often the neighbor we are to love turns out to be someone we can’t stand. It is so hard to enter into eternal life when hatred keeps you soul bound tight. Hate is like an acid that eats the heart that contains it.

In the mid sixties a preacher in Georgia placed this story in Atlanta and a white man had been beaten, robbed and left for dead. First a white Baptist preacher passed by and then a white Methodist preacher also passed by. The one playing the part of the Good Samaritan was a black share cropper. The story was still shocking and that Georgia preacher received death threats for telling it that way.

Today we might place the story in New York and have the good Samaritan played by a Muslim.  Our charge today is to go be that good neighbor no matter who that neighbor is. Remember God love all of his creation regardless of their color, religion, or national origin.

If you have a problem with this go read Luke 10 and then have a little talk with Jesus and see if you can get Him to change His mind.

1 comment:

  1. Good modern day comparison, Larry. We're all the same, just in different ways. ;)