36 which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbour to the man who fell among the robbers?
The parable of the good Samaritan is so well known that whenever someone displays kindness towards another in need, we call them a “Good Samaritan.” This parable, is Jesus’ response to the question; “And who is my neighbour?” asked by a teacher of the law.
The parable not only answers the question “who is my neighbour?” it also answers the question “How should I treat my neighbour?”
Here you have a man robbed and left for dead by the roadside. The first two people who see him, walk past without doing anything. These two people are the ones you would think would be moved with compassion to help him because of what they do. One is a priest and the other a Levite. The third individual, a Samaritan, does what is expected of a good neighbour.
It is important to note that the question that the teacher of the law was seeking an answer to is “How can one attain eternal life?”
Jesus answered by telling him the greatest commandment; “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.”
We may sometimes think that as long as your relationship with God is OK then all is well, but that is not so according to this parable. Just as it is important to have a great relationship with God, we also must have a great relationship with those around us. In fact, there is no way you will have a great relationship with God and hate or ignore people. It is just not possible because the more you love God, the more you have a love for people. As Point of Grace sung, “God loves people more than anything!”
Our neighbours are not only the people we know or those who live in our neighbourhood, but everyone that God brings along our path.
Samaritans and Jews did not see eye to eye, they were enemies, and it is no coincidence that Jesus deliberately talks about a Samaritan in this parable. We are to do good even to those we do not get along with.
The question then, we must ask ourselves is this; “What would my neighbours and those I interact with daily have to say about me?”
How I treat people reflect on the God I claim to serve.