October 28, 2010 | 12:07 pm

Thursday – The Not So Good Samaritan

Because of one parable of Jesus (Luke 10:25-37), we view Samaritans as good. But we need to understand the context to understand the dynamic of this parable. The parable is basically this: there was a person in distress who needed help. Several Jewish religious leaders passed him by, but it was the Samaritan who took the time to tend to his needs. Therefore Samaritans must be good, right? Wrong! At least according to Jewish perception at that time. From their perspective, the Samaritans represented distorted Jewish beliefs of people who came from a questionable ethnic heritage. The religious disdain was so great that they were to avoid contact with Samaritans. Yet in a conversation about what one must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus tells a parable about a good Samaritan. And he has the audacity to tell the Jewish listeners to go and do like the Samaritan did. This had to sound blasphemous! But it makes a very profound point. Wherever we see love, kindness, and generosity, it is of God. There are no boundaries to this. Becoming a Christian does not limit where we find these things. If anything, our faith should open our eyes to be on the lookout for God in all people and places. If Jesus can see the good in the “bad” Samaritan, may we go and do likewise.