Many of you are familiar with the story of The Good Samaritan. You can read it here. What you might not know is that to the Jews of Jesus’ day, they considered Samaritans dogs. This takes on new meaning with more than simply the Good Samaritan character.
It is my opinion that Jesus was looked down upon by some of His own followers for stopping to talk and share the Gospel with The Woman at the Well. At the very least, it was considered terribly odd that He chose her.
The point is, considering how much Jews hated Samaritans, the choice of two important parables containing Samaritan heroes was an interesting one for Jesus. He certainly wanted his audience to pay attention.
If He were to come back at this moment – when you’re reading this blog – and two Muslim men were with Him, and He used them as heroes in two stories – well, you get the drift.
The thing is, the heroes of these stories – regardless of racial and geographical background – did wonderful things. In fact, in the story of The Good Samaritan, he surpassed a church elder and a priest in how he helped the poor soul beaten by robbers and left for dead.
Can you picture your pastor? And your favorite deacon or church leader? Now imagine one of those Muslim men walking by this beaten man, after your pastor and church leader left him for dead, and stopping to lend a hand?
Jesus wanted to make sure that the Jews knew He did not discriminate, and He did so by using their enemy in these two parables. They viewed Samaritans as only good enough to eat the scraps left by their feet at table.
Who do we leave sitting by the side of the road, so to speak, in our lives?
- Our husbands and children when we’re mad at them?
- Our boss when he/she treats us poorly?
- Our parents, when we’ve had all we can take, despite our caretaking of them in the aging process?
- Our friends, when they disagree out of love and care?
- GOD, when He doesn’t do what we want Him to?
The list includes some excellent scenarios, but maybe you have your own that you’re struggling with. Well, what did Jesus tell us to do?
Not only does our neighbor – anyone we come in contact with – need our help, but so do the rest of the people in our lives. Those pesky-people. Those who want more than we can give. What is the answer here? To erect boundaries that are healthy, or to cut those people dead when we see them so they never speak to us again?
What is the answer to the family members that plague us from time to time? To shut down, withdraw, and nurse hurt and anger? Or to pray and press on? Y’all, it doesn’t get more simple than that. Complicating it is just a way out of doing what we need to do.