The Good Samaritan
This week’s devotion is on the Good Samaritan. It takes us even deeper into the realm of faith. Last Week we looked at how to travel on our journey through life and how to act with our friends. This week we are looking at how to act towards those who belong to groups we are prone to shun.
Reading: The Good Samaritan
Luke 10: 25 to 37:  And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?  And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.  And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.  But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded [him], and departed, leaving [him] half dead.  And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked [on him], and passed by on the other side.
 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion [on him],  And went to [him], and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave [them] to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.  Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
What Does the Parable of The Good Samaritan Teach Us?
There are people who misunderstood the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is only a parable, it is not a true story. It is something Jesus made up to illustrate his teaching. His teaching was not that Samaritans are good. His teaching was to be good to others, as this person from Samaria was. This parable was so powerful at the time because there were prejudices against the people living there. Nobody would have spoken of a Good Samaritan. Today, Jesus might have spoken of the Good Communist or the Good Fundamentalist Moslem instead of the Good Samaritan.
How Should We Act Towards People of Other Faiths?
So what does it mean to us about Non – Christians. More than anything else it means, be not prejudiced. When you meet a Moslem, don’t think (Surah 4: 88 & 89), ’What is [the matter] with you [that you are] two groups concerning the hypocrites, while Allah has made them fall back [into error and disbelief] for what they earned. Do you wish to guide those whom Allah has sent astray? And he whom Allah sends astray – never will you find for him a way [of guidance]. They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah. But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.’
Do not hold against a Moslem person Surah 4: 34, ‘Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.’ The person you meet may still be like the Good Samaritan.
Should We Respect This?
Surah 33: 59, ‘O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.’ Have you ever wondered how a head dress makes a woman more recognisable? It doesn’t.. The meaning of the work ‘known’ in this verse is explained in Greetings from Paradise, in the chapter on the Original Sin.
What about the Jewish faith? Deut. 23: 19 & 20, ’Thou shalt not lend upon interest to thy brother; interest of money, interest of victuals, interest of any thing that is lent upon interest: Unto a stranger thou mayest lend upon interest; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon interest: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand to in the land whither thou goest to possess it.’ Brother here means member of the Nation of Israel. All members of this Nation are children of this man.
So, How Should We Act?
Be aware of these verses and reject them, but do not hold this against a person of one of these religions whom you encounter in your everyday life. This person might still be like the Good Samaritan. Most believers, including Christians, have not read their Holy Book! Be friendly in the first place to create a basis to take them up into your community. After all we do believe in spreading the word of the Gospel to all people.
Also it is important to remember the occasion on which Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan. The parable of the Good Samaritan was the answer to the question, Who is my neighbour? In other words, who is the person whom I shall love. Answer: there are many the Good Samaritan, the Good Communist, and the Good Fundamentalist Moslem., not to mention those who are easier to love. This can be a challenge and this is what sets Christianity apart from other religions.
So, Is Christianity Unique?
Surah 48: 29 says, ‘Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves.’ Jesus might have answered (Luke 6: 32), ‘For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.’
Or Deut. 7: 1 to 3 reads, ‘When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, [and] utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.‘
These religions are like warrior religions who hold the own community above all else, while Christianity even commands us to love those, who are against us. It is not easy to turn the other cheek, it is an ideal unique to our faith.
How Should We Be?
Jesus said (Mark 10: 15), ‘Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.‘
How can we be like little children? Deut. 30: 14, ‘But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.‘
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.