Wednesday, July 01, 2009

"And who is my neighbor?" Luke 10:29b

Jesus responds by telling him the story we now call "The Good Samaritan."

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. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked [on him], and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion [on him], 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. 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.” Luke 10:35

The Levite and priest were high officials in the church. They were fellow countrymen to the injured man, distant family members, if you will. They were also supposed to be in the business of caring for the hurt and poor. It was part of their job. Samaritans were highly despised by the Jews and the feeling was generally mutual. Yet in Jesus' story it was the despised one, the one the hurt man would have spit on if he could have, who helped him.

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, "He that shewed mercy on him." Then said Jesus unto him, "Go, and do thou likewise." Luke 10:37

We live in an odd country. Many, many are very eager to go find an enemy or stranger to care for in order to fulfill this story. Yet that rather misses the point. It was the culturally unimportant, the despised one that Jesus told the lawyer to care for. Listen very carefully to women talk (on TV and in magazines and books as well as in person) and make a list of who bad things are said about, who is considered unimportant. (“It’s so hard to be a parent. Kids are such an inconvenience. The little brats don’t give me a moment’s peace. The ole’ ball and chain. That Man! …”)

God does nothing by accident. He has a purpose, or often, several purposes for everything He does.
God created a man and woman to begin with. He did not make two men and one woman or four women and one man. He made one woman and one man.
There is only one church and one God. Now, many of us worship in different buildings all over the world, but we all belong to the same church. There is one God as there was one man in the beginning. There is one church as there was one woman in the beginning.

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