Why were Samaritans the example Christ used to show who we are to love in his really big LOVE law? Looking for the answer to this question, I learned that Samaritans came from Assyria.
This past Sunday in church, I learned that Assyria was the nation that God spared thanks to efforts of the rather resistant Jonah. Whoa! Could it be that the compassion that God gave to this nation during the time of Jonah was extended even in the days of Christ’s ministry? Is there more to this example than just a group that was racially distrusted and disrespected by the lawyer and his audience that Jesus gave this example to in the parable? Let’s examine the parable further.
The parable Luke 10: 25-37
“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denariie]”>[ and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Relatable Action Points of the Parable
Pulling apart of the parable into its action points gives us the following:
1. A stranger to the area was left for dead after being physically assaulted and disgraced with public humiliation.
2. A religious leader, a citizen of that area, purposely ignored the need and kept on his way.
3. The Levite, a citizen of that area, purposely ignored the need and kept on his way. The Levite according to this article were the chosen people of God to be the cultist officials of ceremony. The article also points out that King David’s sons were Levites – there’s a lot to unpack here with the significance of a Levite.
4. The Samaritan, a citizen of that area who was racially discriminated by others in that area, being spurred by compassion at the sight of the need stopped and helped in these ways:
– gave him medical aide with his own supply of oil and wine (probably not cheap)
– gave him transportation using his own donkey while he walked beside it
– brought him to an inn and stayed with the injured man seeing to his medical needs and providing comfort
– paid the innkeeper out of pocket not just for that night, and the length of time neccessary for the man to heal, but also for any additional expenses the man needed.
Not once did the Samaritan complain about the loss to his own personal supplies, money, or time he incurred to take care of the hurt stranger.
The Argument for Christians to Help the Hurt Stranger
Jesus told [the lawyer], “Go and do likewise.”
When I began writing this blog I was not expecting to be talking about the healthcare system of America or how we treat immigrants. The original title read “God remembers the Samaritans with Fondness.” I was surprised to see the link between Assyria, Jonah, and the Samaritan and wanted to share this discovery here. After breaking down the points in the parable, however, I feel like another mystery that was right in front of our eyes was suddenly revealed. One that throws cold water on prosperity preachers who preach pure capitalistic healthcare and pay-to-play medical access and their preaching that claims God hates illegal immigrants who come to America. It does present a moral conflict for Christians today with all of its parts fully exposed in this parable.
Jesus said when a stranger comes to your land to help them with your own resources and effort and time no matter the personal cost to you. What will you do?
When We Fail to Treat Strangers With Compassion & Respect
Do you look at groups who you racially distrust and respond as the disciples did in Luke 9:51-55?
“As the time approached for him to be taken up to heaven, Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. And he sent messengers on ahead, who went into a Samaritan village to get things ready for him; but the people there did not welcome him, because he was heading for Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked [James and John]. Then he and his disciples went to another village.”
Are you using God to command him to destroy those who defy you? Will God express sharp disapproval and criticism with your violent actions surrounded around your own pride as Christ did with his disciples here in this example?