Tuesday Night’s Study

November 5, 2009


How many times have I read, studied and heard messages on the Good Samaritan, and yet this time something totally new popped up for me.

The past month or so we have been focussing on stories with the youth here–what are they, what are the things of which they are composed, how do they change our lives, etc.  The last two times we met we got began to study two of Jesus’ parables to see if we couldn’t figure out what he was saying.  After studying the story of the Compassionate Father (or poorly named Prodigal Son story”) this week we moved on to the story of the Good Samaritan.

Isn't the injured man supposed to be left for dead?

I just loved the mustache. Who wouldn't help this man?

In the past I’ve heard the emphasis laid on the “we-need-to-love-people-we-don’t-normally-like” syllable (i.e. the Good Samaritan is my neighbor) or the “don’t-get-caught-up-in-religious-stuff-and-forget-the-hurting” one, but this time we focused on something different.

Just before the parable the expert in religious law is looking to justify himself and asks Jesus “Who is my neighbor?” (you’ll remember Jesus has just told him that eternal life is available to those who love God and love their neighbor).  The funny thing though, is that Jesus never answers this question (how did I miss that?).

Instead, Jesus turns the man’s question on its head, instead asking “Which of these three do you think became a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”  My neighbor then is not defined by who he is, but by how I treat him.  Another way to say it might be that I can neighbor everyone.  I can have compassion on anyone in need of it and I can show mercy on anyone in need of it.  Pardon me for saying it, but that is a terrible criteria for justifying anyone…

I’m looking forward to more storying together in the future!

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