The story of the good Samaritan generally gets focused on the punch line of who counts as a neighbor.

220px-Samaritan_Passover_prayer_1920

But a better question in many ways is how should we act if we find ourselves Samaritans.

25 ¶And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

sheep

32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

That is the story.

But think, what did it mean to be a Samaritan?

They were considered racially inferior half-breeds (a term I haven’t heard in ages outside of a Cher concert).

Their doctrines were considered superstition and and apostasy, rolled into one.

Socially they were generally on the bottom, living in a state of virtual apartheid.

And how did the Samaritan in the story react to this type of social construct and bigotry and discrimination?

He was the one who was Christlike and the exemplar in the story.  He was the neighbor.

neighbor

If we found ourselves Samaritans would we rise to the heights in the story or would some other fate befall us?  How do we find ourselves and our duty to care in this story and what do you take away from the parable of the Good Samaritan?