“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. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 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. 35 The next day he took out two denarii 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.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10: 30-37
No parable is as well known in secular circles as that of the good Samaritan – it has become law, under that very name, to protect those who would stop to help someone who is injured or needs assistance, without fear of legal reprisal.
That isn’t exactly why the Good Samaritan story was told: the purpose was not to promote legal protection for the helper, who needed no such protection. It was to point out that the only one to bother to help was someone who was “other” – someone from Samaria of all places. Someone of different ethnicity, from a different culture, having different beliefs, worshipping a God in a way considered “corrupted” – this was the person to show compassion, to give richly of himself: his time, his money, his care, his mercy. He was the neighbor and friend to the man lying beaten and robbed alongside the road, not the ones who might well have lived next door or who worked in the temple, or who looked like and believed as he did.
As Mr. Rogers once wrote:
“My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”
Sadly, in this day and age, we have far too many opportunities to recognize the helpers who will assist anyone, no matter who they are, the color of their skin or what they believe.
What a comfort that is!
May my eyes see, my ears hear, my heart understand. He prepares me with parable.