Luke 10:33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.
One of the most beloved parables in all Scripture is the story of the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:30-37), but recently I read two articles by two fairly prominent Baptist pastors who totally destroyed the point of the parable. One of them retold the parable by replacing the Good Samaritan with someone from the LGBTQ community. His attempted point was to shine a light of acceptance on LGBTQ people. The other changed the focus of the story to the robbers on the Jericho Road. His attempted point was to show how the church needs to be diligent in promoting a Social Gospel that aims to remove violence and prejudice from the world. Both of them completely maligned Jesus’ teaching.
What’s the point of the parable? Well, Jesus was asked a very clear question, “Who is my neighbor?” If we are, as Jesus commanded, to love our neighbor as our self, then it’s very important that we understand who our neighbor is. But by the end of the parable Jesus does something amazing. He reverses the question. By answering with this parable Jesus goes beyond showing us who our neighbor is and instead shows us how to be a good neighbor. In the parable a Priest and a Levite ignore a man who has been robbed, severely beaten, and left lying in a ditch, but a Samaritan comes along and takes care of him. At the end of the story Jesus asked, “So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” and the man who had originally asked the question answered, “The one who showed mercy to him.” How did Jesus respond to that? He said, “Go and do the same.” (Luke 10:36-37).
Jesus basically told the man he had been asking the wrong question. It’s just as important to be a good neighbor as it is to know who your neighbor is. Who is a neighbor? The one who shows mercy. Now that you understand that, “Go and do the same.”
Have a God Filled Week,