In our day, when we typically use the term “Good Samaritan,” we use it to describe anyone who puts time and effort into helping another person in need. And that is certainly commendable. But let’s go deeper: A truly Good Samaritan is not only someone who does good, but someone of a different cultural or political or religious caste who helps a person outside of that caste. In our current climate, it would be like a Republican helping a Democrat, depending on where you live. Or a Democrat helping a Republican. Or a liberal helping a conservative, or a conservative helping a liberal. Or a Muslim helping a Jew, or a Jew helping a Muslim. Name the different tribes in our society.
Simply helping or loving people of our own kind is not what Jesus is teaching here. Instead, he is saying that truly good love is about acting in ways that cross the lines of difference, of boundaries. Hence, the shock of the parable.
My question is, how does such love, such kindness, such compassion rub off? How does it spread?
Perhaps the mission of the church is just that: to act in ways that build up and offer the kind of good love the Samaritan showed, to spread it to others.
Pastor Andy Kinsey