Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Good Samaritan

But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise."
(Luke 10:29-37)

This story is often spun out as a simple morality tale, but it is also about redemptive history. The man in the story represents Israel. After the glorious restoration depicted in Ezekiel 40-48, the nation has fallen again into sin and become corrupted (v30). The liturgical leaders of the nation are doing nothing to help (v31-32). But then an outsider, a Samaritan, comes in to help. He lifts up the broken nation, healing the people's sins through his death and resurrection (v33-34a) and then pours out his Spirit upon them at pentecost (v34b). He leaves them under the protection of the Apostles until he returns and pours out his wrath upon their enemies (v35).

So who is my neighbour? Jesus is my neighbour.

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