".....and, 'Love your neighbor 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 neighbor?'
In reply Jesus said: 'A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of 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 traveled, 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, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the inn keeper. '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 neighbor 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: 27-37
This is the second of a 2 part series where we will be studying in depth "The Golden Rule" - which is "love your neighbor."
Let's start by studying a little history - Who was a "Levite" and a who was a "Samaritan"? I must admit that my Old Testament knowledge is terrible - which is why I did not know this & had to do some research myself - most of the following information is from "Wikipedia".
Levite - is a member of the Hebrew tribe of Levi. Both Moses & Aaron were Levites. The Levites were not allowed to be land owners after Joshua led the Israelites into the land of Canaan because God Himself was/(is) their inheritance (taken from Deuteronomy 18:2). They had a few specific responsibilities like reading the Torah in the synagogue and then other political responsibilities.
Samaritan - is an "ethnoreligious" group closely related to Judaism. The Samaritans believed that their religion was the true religion of the Israelites - they also believe that Judaism has been altered from the truth. The Jewish & Samaritan people despised each other. (on an interesting side note - there is thought to only be 751 Samaritans alive in the world today).
Getting back to the verses that we are studying today> The first person to pass this poor stranger who had been beaten up was a priest. When we hear "priest" we think of someone who lives by what is right & wrong - and that he thinks in terms of "black & white" - ignoring the "gray" areas. By crossing to the other side this priest had passed judgement on the stranger deeming it wrong to stop and help. The second person to pass by the stranger was the Levite. Above we learned that a Levite was a religious & political person - in my view these are 2 perfect reasons why he SHOULD have stopped instead of crossing to the other side. Maybe he was thinking that if he had stopped the media would have twisted the story making him out to be one of the robbers instead of the person who helped (Forgive me any media person out there - this of course is me putting a modern twist on the parable).
Now the Samaritan - the person who stopped & helped. Let's put this into modern terms:
1. "He saw & took pity on him" - that's compassion and a mental decision to help.
2. "He went to him & bandaged his wounds" - a physical action and his own personal time that he used to help (in modern terms - time is money). Also a modern concern for his own personal safety - what kind of viruses or bacteria was this injured man carrying? - was he contagious?
3. "He put the man on his own donkey" - that's helping the stranger into his own personal car (gas being used & most likely blood stains on the car upholstery) (sorry to be vivid - but it is truthful).
4. "He took him to an inn & took care of him" - literally speaking let's just say that he took him to a hotel - paid for a room & stayed there to take care of him (that's money & time spent).
5. "The next day he took two silver coins & gave them to the inn keeper..to take care of the stranger.." - I know from experience the cost of a caregiver who comes into your home - an "unlicensed" caregiver will cost $10 an hour (a licensed is $20+ an hour) - we're talking alot of money here!
Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that you should spend your children's college fund on a neighbor in need - I just wanted to put this parable into a modern perspective.
Jesus said "Go and do likewise" - do like the Samaritan did. Helping a neighbor doesn't literally mean helping someone who has been beaten - it could mean helping an elderly lady who lives down the street who you've never met before but you know that she can't shovel her own sidewalk - you could shovel it for her with nothing expected in return. It could just mean calling for help on your own cell phone when you see someone is stranded on the side of a road - which means using your own cell minutes with no expectation of reimbursement for those minutes.
NOTE: I do want to add an important note - I know I said that we can't judge like the priest did in this parable but we must PAY ATTENTION TO THE URGINGS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. In our modern society there are dangerous people - if you are about to stop and help a stranger but suddenly get that inner feeling that danger is ahead - then Please Pay attention - that might be an urging from the Holy Spirit telling you Not to stop. God will let you know when it's not right.
Helpful actions both small & large are actions of love - loving your neighbor as yourself -
"Go and do likewise"
Part 1 - LOVE GOD
Part 1 - LOVE GOD