One day Jesus was talking to an educated man, an expert on the law, who asked him,
“What must I do to receive eternal life?”
“You know the law, what does it say?” asked Jesus.
The educated man quoted the law:
“It says to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your strength, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.”
“Well, then,” said Jesus. “You know what to do.”
“But who is my neighbor?” asked the educated man, hoping to wiggle out of his responsibility.
Jesus knew telling stories was a good way to teach and a good way to learn, so he told this story:
A Jewish man was walking from Jerusalem to Jericho, when thieves jumped him. They beat him, robbed him, took his clothes, and left him on the road to die.
After a while, a priest walked down the road. The priest didn’t show love or concern, but quickly passed by, as if the injured man were invisible.
Later, a Levite, who was also Jewish and served in the temple, came along and saw the injured man. I’d better hurry, he thought. Robbers might still be around and hurt me too! Off he went, without stopping to help.
Finally, a Samaritan man came down the road. Samaritans and Jews hated each other, but that didn’t keep the Samaritan from jumping off his donkey and running to help the injured man. He knelt down and put something on the man’s wounds to help them feel better. He gently helped the man up onto his donkey and took him to an inn. When the injured man was settled in bed, the Samaritan spoke to the innkeeper.
“Here is money to pay for his room and food until he is better. If it costs more than this, I will pay you more when I return again.”
Then Jesus asked the educated man. “Which of the three men was a neighbor to the injured man?”
“The one who showed him mercy,” he replied.
“There’s the answer to your question!” said Jesus. “Go and do the same.”
I wonder what it means to show mercy to another person?
I wonder how the injured man felt when he saw people pass by without stopping?
I wonder what he thought when he saw a Samaritan coming down the road?
I wonder if he thought differently about Samaritans after one helped him?
I wonder why we don’t all treat each other like neighbors?