Thought for The Day – Wednesday 9th March


The Parable of The Good Samaritan

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

He answered, “‘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, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Luke 10:25-37

This has to be one of, if not the best known of Jesus’ parables. Many, if not all of us will have known it since we were children.

The story itself is hugely familiar but the context is important too.  This parable was told to an expert in religious law who was trying to test Jesus. The man answers Jesus’ first question correctly – he knows the law, after all – but he tries to find a loophole with his next question “And who is my neighbour?” Jesus then pushes him squarely out of his comfort zone. The significance of Jesus’ choice of a Samaritan as the hero of the story is huge.  The Jews hated the Samaritans; they were sworn enemies. I’m sure that for the lawyer to admit that the Samaritan was, in fact, the man’s neighbour, would have stuck in his throat!

How often do we allow Jesus’ teaching to push us out of our comfort zones?  Are we open to him challenging us in the same way? In the context of this story, are there people that we might find it difficult to show compassion to; because they are different from us; because they’ve made poor life choices or because we might fundamentally disagree with things that they say or do?

And is there something in this parable, too, about God’s love for us? Are we able to see ourselves as the man at the side of the road and allow God to be our good Samaritan; to allow Him to tend to our hurt and pain so that we, in turn, can show compassion and mercy to others?

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, we thank you for the familiar stories that Jesus told. Help us to be willing to dig deeper, to be open to your challenges and to walk the talk, as Jesus showed us so clearly how to do. And help us to be open to your love, knowing that you walk beside us, every step of the way. Amen.

Action:  Take a few moments to look in a mirror.  Look past your physical appearance; look deeper.  What do you see?  Try to see yourself as God sees you.

This Thought was written by Karen Docwra