The Good Samaritan

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The Good Samaritan        

Luke 10:33-34 “But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.”

Extra Reading: Luke 10: 25-37.

Jesus had just praised God for hiding the secrets of the kingdom from the wise and learned (10:21). Next a learned lawyer in Old Testament law asked Jesus a question that revealed the lawyer’s profound ignorance about central issues of the faith-eternal life and the basic command to love one’s neighbour. Jesus responded with the parable of the Good Samaritan. In this parable, Jesus contrasted the unloving actions of a priest and Levite with the loving actions of a Samaritan, a person who was considered irreligious by the Jews. By taking care of a wounded traveller, the Samaritan was obeying the central commandment of God’s law-to love one’s neighbour-while the priest and Levite, those who were meticulous about observing the law, were breaking it. This parable is not only a call to help those in need, it is a warning not to become self-satisfied in your own religiosity. The Word of God remains the standard of all conduct. Always be careful to measure your behaviour by what it says. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Apparently this question came in a teaching setting, for when this man addressed Jesus, he stood up. This was a man who was well conversant with the finer details of the Jewish religion. He did not so much want information as he wanted to find out what kind of answer the teacher would give. He wanted to know what he had to do to inherit eternal life.

The audience listening to this story would surely have expected that the priest or the Levite would come to the aid of the helpless man. But that was not the case. The Jews saw themselves as pure descendants of Abraham, while they saw Samaritans as half-breeds because they descended from Jews from the northern kingdom who had intermarried with other peoples after Israel’s exile.  Jews hated Samaritans, so when Jesus introduced this Samaritan man into the story, the Jewish listeners would not have expected him to help a Jewish man. This Samaritan understood what it meant to help someone in need, to be a neighbour, regardless of racial tensions.

Prayer: Father God, make us to understand what it means to help someone in need. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

Rev. Samuel N. Modise  

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