Tag Archives: Good Samaritan

Hidden in plain sight ( Year A, 30 July 2017)

Reading
Matthew 13.31–33, 44–52

For Jesus, God’s realm is not some esoteric kingdom in the sweet by and by, but as close as the next mustard bush or loaf of bread.
Feasting on the Word, Year A, Vol.3.

Truly, you are a God who hides himself,
O God of Israel, the Saviour. (Isaiah 45.15)
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In the Gospel According to Matthew, Jesus begins his ministry with these words:

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.

The kingdom of heaven—what Mark and Luke call the kingdom of God—has come near.

What is the kingdom of God? Well, it’s something Jesus tells stories about.

We can tell that this kingdom is near because when Jesus tells stories about it, he tells stories about things that are near at hand. Jesus’ ‘Parables of the Kingdom’ are stories about farmers and seeds and merchants finding pearls and women baking bread.

But these stories have a bit of a twist. The twist is there because whilethe kingdom of God really is nearby, it is also hidden. You can see it—hidden in plain sight—if you know how to look. If you can repent and look with new eyes. The parables of Jesus call us to engage with them, to rethink, to redirect our heart.

In today’s terms, we could tell a parable something like this:

The kingdom of God is like an old woman in a coffee shop who pays for the strangers at the next table, and slips out before they realise it.

Or,

The kingdom of God is like a pregnant woman getting on a full bus, whereupon a gay man gives up his seat for her.

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Loving neighbours: hope, faith, love

 

Readings
Colossians 1.1–14
Luke 10.25–37

 

This was in the news just over a week ago:

Good Samaritan stabbed in laneway

July 6, 2013

Police are hunting for a man who attacked a good Samaritan in a Brisbane laneway on Friday night.

The man suffered wounds to his neck, back and hand after he attempted to stop another man from stealing a handbag in the suburb of Milton.

The reporter didn’t have to explain what a ‘Good Samaritan’ is; everyone knows that!

Don’t they?

I wonder if everyone who reads such stories realises that the Good Samaritan is a character in one of Jesus’ parables. I doubt it, really.

But we know all about the Good Samaritan, don’t we? Well, maybe we do, but a little recap never hurts.

A teacher of the law asks Jesus a question. He reckons Jesus won’t have a good answer.

Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?

That’s the same question the ‘Rich Young Ruler’ asks him. Jesus points both men to the Law of Moses. This time he asks,

What is written in the law? What do you read there?

The expert in the law gives the right answer!

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.

So Jesus says,

Do this, and you will live.

End of conversation. Not.

Jesus has put the teacher of the law in an uncomfortable position. He has answered his own question. He knows what is right in his head, but he also knows he doesn’t put it into practice. There are ‘certain’ types of people he doesn’t treat as neighbours. So he looks for some wriggle room, some way of getting off the hook. So he asks yet another question:

And who is my neighbour?

Jesus doesn’t answer that question either. Instead, he tells him how to be a neighbour—and who can be a neighbour. And what’s more, Jesus complicates the lawyer’s life no end. Continue reading

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What must I do?—Sunday 28, Year B (14 October 2012)

Readings
Mark 10.17-31

 

Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?

That’s the question from the man we think of as ‘the rich young ruler’. In Mark’s story of Jesus, he is a man with ‘many possessions’ who really wasn’t all that young. Matthew and Luke add the other details.

Did you know it’s not the only time Jesus was asked that very same question? Anyone know who else asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life?

It was an expert in the Jewish Law and he said almost the exact same words:

Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?

Anyone know where that was? It is in Luke’s Gospel (10.25-37). In Luke, Jesus answered the legal expert’s question with a parable, the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

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