The Good Samaritan
My friend regularly volunteers for a homeless shelter and would eat with the people he was there to serve; learning about who they are and listening to their stories. One day, someone comes in and asks those at the table, “What was the best thing someone has done for you today?” and one man chose to respond saying, “Someone prayed for me today”. The reactions were mixed and another person even commented saying that money probably would’ve been better than the prayer. The original man said it didn't matter because this person stopped, looked at him, and offered one of the greatest things they had at the time, prayer. He said he wasn't even religious, but didn't care because these were two people connecting with each other in the best way they could, as humans.
The Good Samaritan teaches us a lot about us as humans, rather than us as a society. Society teaches us that we help when we are being helped and that everything is a two-way street. Yet Jesus gives us a new standard for offering help, ignoring any societal norms. In the parable, it is the Samaritan, the Jews' 'enemy', who helps the broken man in the road, rather than the spiritual leaders and 'good men' who hurried by on the opposite side.
In the last Storytelling with Jesus, we talked a lot about what we do with God's word in The Sower and the Seed. The seed beside the road, the seed in the rocky ground, the seed in the thorns. Clearly in this, the Samaritan is a seed in good soil.
Before Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan, he also talks about the Golden Rule: treating your neighbor as you treat yourself and someone then asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”. Then, Jesus goes into the parable of the Good Samaritan, the same way He usually loves to teach. This time, what we understand from the parable is that our neighbor is anyone and everyone.
We tend to forget that when we get caught up in our worldly desires and in what society wants us to think. We are taught to turn the other cheek and to love others unconditionally, yet the world blurs this vision of our neighbors. My mentor always told me to “see the Jesus” in others instead of seeing what society wants us to see, and that is something I hold on to.
When we choose to see others, and to see Jesus in others, we let go of fear of what this person could be. We now see them for who they really are. Everyone has Jesus in them, even when it’s hard to see, He's still there. At the end of the parable Jesus says go and do the same- so we should too.