The Good Samaritan
One day Jesus told a story
about a Samaritan. The ancient Jewish writings, the Talmud,
was very racist, saying that non-Jews were NOT neighbours
and were not to be treated in the same way as Jews. Jesus
wanted to tell the Jews a story which would really make them
10 v 30-35
The road from Jerusalem to Jericho is steep,
rough and downhill, dropping about 1300 metres. It was a favourite
area for thieves, especially where the road passed through
narrow rocky gorges. Jesus' story starts with a lone traveller
being brutally attacked. Perhaps the theives were especially
vindictive because the man had little of value, for they stripped
his clothes off him, and beat him viciously.
So there he lay, badly injured, exposed to the
fierce heat of the sun ... bound to die.
Jericho was one of those towns where the Priests
lived, and the first man to come along was a priest. He was
going down towards Jericho, so presumably he was returning
home after finishing his duty in the Temple. The priest saw
the poor man lying there - and kept well away, hurrying along
home! What a thing for a 'man of God' to do! Perhaps he was
afraid the thieves were still about. Perhaps he was squeamish
and had nothing with him anyway with which to deal with the
man's wounds. Perhaps he was afraid the man would die on his
hands which would make him, as a priest, ceremonially unclean.
he must have had some reason for justifying his action to
himself - but there really was no excuse for him not helping.
Then along came a Levite - one of those people
who helped the priests with some of the Temple duties. The
Levite did at least go over to the man to look at him - but
then he too went away without doing anything to help. He too
probably had his own selfish reasons for not helping, for
not following God's Law and doing his moral duty.
Lastly, a man came by who did have compassion
on the injured man, and who DID help ... and this man
was one of the hated and despised Samaritans! What's more,
the Samaritan helped in every way possible. He used the oil
and wine he had with him to dress the man's wounds, tore up
his own clothes to act as bandages, and carefully lifted him
onto his own donkey to get him to the nearest inn. At the
inn, he nursed the man himself. Then, the next day, he paid
the innkeeper two silver coins (about £40) for further
care of the injured man, and promised to pay anything additional
to that when he next visited the inn.
We learn a real lesson from this parable about
the way we should behave when someone is in trouble - whatever
the risks and inconvenience to ourselves. Let us try to be
like the Good Samaritan as we go through our lives each day.