8 Mar. Luke 10:25-37

8 Mar. Why is the story of the 'good Samaritan' so relevant today?

"Then an expert on the [Jewish] law stood up to test Jesus, saying, 'Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?' Jesus said, 'What is written in the [Jewish] law? What do you read there?'"

"The man answered. 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind.' Also, 'Love your neighbour as you love yourself.'"

"Jesus said to him, 'Your answer is right. Do this and you will live [eternally].'"

"But the man, wanting to show the importance of his question, said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbour?'"

"Jesus answered, 'As a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, some robbers attacked him... It happened that a Jewish priest was going down that road... Next, a Levite came there... Then a Samaritan... When he saw the man, he felt very sorry for him... [and] poured olive oil and wine on his wounds..."

"Then Jesus said, 'Which one of these three men do you think was a neighbour to the man who was attacked by the robbers?' The expert on the law answered, 'The one who showed him mercy.' Jesus said to him, 'Then go and do what he did.'"

          (Luke 10:25-37)

 

 

Jesus's parable about the 'good Samaritan' is so well known that we've abbreviated it here. If you want to read the whole story, you can find it in your own Bible in Luke 10:25-37).

Jesus was asked by a teacher of the Jewish religious law what he should do to receive eternal life. Jesus told him a story about a Jewish man who was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by ‘bandits’, stripped of his possessions, beaten up and left half-dead.

Two respectable members of the Jewish religious community who assisted at the Temple in Jerusalem, a priest and a Levite (see Exodus 28:1-5 & Leviticus 8:5-22) passed the man without helping him as they would have become ritually ‘unclean’ for seven days if the man died (see Numbers 19:11-16 & Leviticus 21:1-4).

A Samaritan – a member of the mixed-race community despised and hated by the Jews (see John 4:4-9) – saw the man and had pity on him, even though he was probably verbally abused by Jews himself.

He bandaged the Jewish man’s wounds and took him to a travellers’ inn (or caravanserai) used by Samaritans and other Gentiles – where he gave the 'innkeeper' two silver denarii (two day’s wages) to look after the man until he recovered.

The Jews of Jesus's day (like the government of Israel today) were ultra-nationalistic. Like many religious Jews in Israel today, they despised their non-Jewish neighbours who lived in what is now the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. To them (and to many religious Jews in Israel today), God's command to "love your neighbour" meant "love your Jewish neighbour".

Jesus showed the teacher of the Jewish law that love for one’s neighbour meant loving others whatever their religious or ethnic background. And this selfless love across racial and religious boundaries was more important in God’s eyes than adhering to Jewish religious laws. Jesus was saying that his fellow Jews should show love and respect to their non-Jewish neighbours if they wished to gain God's approval and eternal life.

The traditional site of the parable of the ‘good Samaritan’ is commemorated by the remains of St Euthymius Church, built in the 5th century alongside the main road to Jericho, some 6 miles / 10 km east of Jerusalem. Opposite the ruins of the church, tourists can still stay at the Good Samaritan Inn, built in the 16th century as a caravanserai (overnight hostelry) for caravan traders.

The photo shows the desert alongside the main road going down from Jerusalem (754 m / 2473 ft above sea level) to Jericho (258 m / 846 ft below sea level) - a steep drop of 1012 m / 3319 ft in 26 km / 16 miles (see the cross-section @ www.thebiblejourney.org/…/1-th…/the-landscapes-of-palestine/ ).

You can read more about the 'good Samaritan' @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/the-parable-of-the-good-…/


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