This was in the news just over a week ago:
Good Samaritan stabbed in laneway
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!
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