PARABLES DAY 7 - 10 May 2018

Ben Fourie

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind: and Love your neighbour as you love yourself.” Luke 10:27

Have you seen someone today that looked like a neighbour? A bit of a difficult question, for who is my neighbour and what does he or she looks like? This story about a man who was attacked by robbers, stripped naked, beaten up and left almost dead beside the road is the answer Jesus gave to the teacher of the Law who wanted to catch Him out by asking “who is my neighbour”.

In our own context of violence, murder and robbery one tends to have some sympathy with the Priest and the Levite who kept a safe distance. It was known that robbers very often hid near the scene of a robbery to see if they could not find a second victim when somebody stopped by to give assistance. So it was just prudent to keep away from the scene of a recent robbery. Even in our modern times robbers have been known to rob the victims of a motor accident. So maybe one should not be too critical of the Priest and the Levite for not wanting to get involved.  

However, in this parable what Jesus wants to teach us is something completely different. The problem of saving one’s own skin is not the issue here. What really is on the table is the willingness to help despite the circumstances. Priests and Levites were the elite of Israel. No one would expect them to sully their hands cleaning and binding the bleeding wounds of an unknown naked, beaten-up man. Let alone going the extra mile by putting him on their own mount whilst they walked alongside him to the nearest inn, there to pay for his further nursing care. Nobody could expect that of a Priest or a Levite.

There is one that expected it. Jesus. Therefore the hero in this story is a Samaritan, someone who was despised by the Jews. This Samaritan was obviously also a man of means with wine and oil to spare, the owner of an animal and some money to give to the innkeeper for further care, but his standing did not make him too proud to get involved and render practical assistance.

Who is my neighbour? Let us rather ask for whom am I a neighbour?

Prayer: Lord please make me a neighbour to someone today. Amen

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