Jesus said, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell into the hands of robbers, who stripped him, beat him, and went away, 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 while travelling came near him; and when he saw him, he was moved with pity. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, “Take care of him; and when I come back, I will repay you whatever more you spend.”
This is probably one of the best-known stories that Jesus told – the Parable of the Good Samaritan. In response to the question ‘What must I do to be with God forever?’ Jesus answers, ‘Love God with every part of who you are and love your neighbour as yourself’. However the questioner wanted to make himself look good and so asks ‘Who is my neighbour?’ He hoped for a list that he could tick off showing that he was a great guy as he already was looking after his ‘neighbour’. Jesus then tells this story. And it’s a shocking one! People who were expected to help don’t. The Samaritan, the one least expected, is super generous towards someone who would normally be his enemy. Our neighbours are anyone in need, especially those whom we find hard. Because God has shown his generosity and goodness to us through his Son Jesus Christ we are called to participate with God in living out his love in our world.
The word Samaritan is now widely associated with groups who care for those in need. One example of this is an organisation called Samaritan’s Purse. They run ‘Operation Christmas Child’ (you may have heard of it) where shoe boxes are packed with gifts and given to children in vulnerable situations in over 100 countries around our world. In fact at Youth@Saints this Friday night we will be packing 15 or more shoe boxes with toys, hygiene items, school supplies and other fun gifts that have brought in over the last term.
Service to others is how life works. This is something for us not just to remember but to practice. No matter what stage of life you might find yourself at – being a ‘good Samaritan’ is a necessary life-giving part of the lives we are called to live.