QUESTIONS RAISED BY THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN:
KINGDOM STORIES INTRODUCTION:
Jesus told many stories (parables) about God’s Kingdom which is an Eternal one. We have been looking at what it means to live life in light of Eternity, i.e. our lives here are just part of our eternal lives and how we live here affects our eternity. The Kingdom of God has many facets, and Jesus told stories to help us understand the Values of the Kingdom, the character of the King and his subjects.
As an introduction to the message, we talked about the times when it is not clear what our responsibility is. Sometimes it’s very clear what the right thing to do is, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to draw a line between our own and others responsibilities:
THE “FACE VALUE” QUESTIONS POSED in Luke 10:25 ARE:
1. WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE? (i.e. in light of Eternity – what’s the most important thing?)
a. ANSWER: Love God and Love your neighbour as yourself
2. WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR?
However, there was another agenda going on behind the question:
1. WHAT WAS THE REAL QUESTION BEING ASKED BY THE RELIGIOUS SCHOLAR?
2. WHAT DO WE LEARN FROM EACH OF THE CHARACTERS IN THIS PARABLE?
1. THE VICTIM
• Answer: The victim was naked and unconscious. It was impossible to judge whether the victim was worthy of mercy or not. Mercy is not for the worthy – it’s for the needy.
2. THE PRIEST
• QUESTIONS TO ASK:
i. What about the Law? What about fulfilling his duties? Although priests were required to be ritually clean in order to fulfil their duties – he would also have been aware of the Jewish law which states that the duty to save a life overrides all other priestly duties…
• THE POINT – BEING BUSY WITH RELIGIOUS DUTY WAS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR NOT SHOWING MERCY…
• Are we in danger of this today? Are we so busy keeping ourselves clean, or making sure that we fulfil religious duties that we are missing opportunities to show mercy?
3. THE LEVITE
• QUESTIONS TO ASK:
i. THE DIRECTION THEY TRAVELLED. Both of these men were on their way BACK from Jerusalem - so it’s likely that they have completed their priestly duties and are on their way home.
ii. It’s possible that the Levite did not stop because he was afraid of becoming unclean and what this would mean – loss of wages and loss of community for a period of time. Or perhaps he was afraid of being attacked himself?
• THE POINT - BEING AFRAID OF RISK IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR AVOIDING MERCY. Are we afraid of involvement? What do we do to avoid being confronted by need?
4. THE SAMARITAN
i. THE UNEXPECTED TWIST IN THE TALE is the cringe factor in that it’s NOT the “Working Man” who is the Hero – it is a culturally, politically and socially unacceptable, despised person.
• THE POINT – We all need to confront our own prejudices and judgemental attitudes. Think of the person or group of people you find hardest to love … maybe it’s because of culture, politics, religion, wealth, social status, lifestyle choice… who might you put in place of the Samaritan today? Who are the people we as Christians tend to judge as unworthy?
5. THE OIL AND WINE
• All 3 of the characters would have carried on them the things they used in worship at the Temple (they were all on their way back from the temple) - yet only the Samaritan used these tools of worship to bring healing and restoration outside of the temple.
• THE POINT - The very things we bring as worship (our money, our time, our voices, our talents) need to be used to bring healing and restoration in everyday life – this also is part of our worship.
6. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO FULFIL THE COMMAND TO LOVE GOD AND LOVE OTHERS?