Dr. Andrew C S Koh
30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” 37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” (read the rest of Luke 10).
To the Jews, Good Samaritan is an oxymoron because to them, no Samaritan is good. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. The parable of the Good Samaritan is unique to the Gospel of Luke. Jesus told this parable in response to a scribe’s question “who is my neighbour?”
A Jew was robbed and attacked by thieves when he was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They robbed, injured, stripped, and abandoned him by the roadside in critical condition. A priest coming down from Jerusalem passed him by but was afraid to even touch him. He turned a blind eye to the man and walked by on the other side as though he was transparent. A Levite passed him by and did exactly the same. These two pious religious Jews turned a blind eye to another Jew even though he needed assistance so desperately. They were hypocrites who did not do what they preached. They did not love their neighbour as stipulated in the Mosiac law.
A Samaritan man passed him by, stopped, rendered first aid, took him to an inn, and looked after him. The next day, he paid the inner keeper with a promise to reimburse all subsequent expenses.
The irony of the parable is that the most hated person in the parable is the hero. The most unlikely person to help stopped to help. The most unloved person showed love to someone who hated him. The good Samaritan man took care of the wounded man and saved his life.
Jesus answered the scribe’s question with another question. Which of these three men qualifies to be a neighbour to the man? This is the punch line of the parable. The scribe could not even pronounce Samaritan! All he could say was, ‘’he who showed mercy’’.
Jews hated the Samaritans and vice versa. Jews considered Samaritans as half-breeds, unclean, pariahs, outcasts, and marginalised them.
The priest and Levite showed no compassion to another Jew even though he was in dire strait. Here is the shocking part. A Samaritan man showed love and compassion to a Jew. He saw a wounded man and not a Jew.
Will you show love and compassion to those who need your help? Will you turn a blind eye or stop to help?
Do you love your neighbour as yourself?
Your neighbour is someone who needs your help and whom you are in a position to help.
Your neighbour may not be someone you like.
Your neigbout=r may even be your enemy.
If you want to know who your neighbour is, go and look out for the needy, the sick, the poor, the destitute, and the marginalised. There are plenty of needy people in your neighbourhood whom you are in a position to help.
Will you be a good Samaritan to someone today?
Heavenly Father, thank You for telling us this timeless parable. Help us to reach out to those who are in need of help. Help us to see suffering people through Your eyes of love, compassion, mercy, and grace. Help us to be good Good Samaritans who will reach out to the marginalised and needy. Do not let us turn a blind eye to anyone in need. Help us cultivate the spirit of the good Samaritans, in Jesus’ name, Amen.