Even if you haven’t been a part of the church ever in your life, you have probably heard the story of The good Samaritan. Just in case you haven’t ever had a chance to hear it, I’ll quickly paraphrase it for you.
A man is beaten and robbed, left for dead on the side of the road. Many people pass by, seeing his plight, but ignoring it. A priest crosses to other side of the road, a levite (a member of a tribe of Israel dedicated to doing the work of God) sees, but passes the man by. It isn’t until a Samaritan sees the man that someone takes pity on him and helps him.
The Samaritan man provides first aid, and takes him to an inn, where he provides for the mans costs, and promises to pay any additional debt the man acquires when he passes back through.
Jesus ends the story there with a question for those who listen. Who was the beaten man’s neighbor. The answer obvious.
There is a lot of cultural symbolism going on in this story, and biblical scholars can really tear it apart into it’s various components and teach some pretty incredible truths. It is a simple story with a lot of depth.
I am not feeling particularly deep tonight, so I think I’ll skip most of the deeper points the story can make.
Instead, lets focus on what exactly a Samaritan is. In biblical times a Samaritan was a half breed. A hated race. So our hero’s identity is that of someone who is hated, and it was often the case that the Samaritans would return hate for hate. This man, he chose differently.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my personal responsibility to be peaceful, and just what that means in a world with so many injustices.
Do you think that perhaps the priest told someone down the road about the beaten man and tried to send help? Or perhaps the Levite continued down the road just long enough to find someone to help him carry the beaten man home? We are not told if this is the case, perhaps because it wasn’t the point Jesus wanted to make, but perhaps it was because their efforts were too little too late.
I think one of the points that Jesus was trying to make is that it is our responsibility to act, personally and directly act. It isn’t enough to just promise to send help, if we see a person in great need, we should take direct action ourselves! The Samaritan in the story has seen a person in dire straits, and has taken the actions that he can to set the situation right. Someone in need entered his field of vision, and the Samaritan chose to act.
How many times have I passed someone in need by? How big is my field of vision?
The internet has changed the world, it has given us great power. It has given us the ability to witness things happening in real-time all the way around the entire earth. If something happens, it seems that someone has captured it on film to share with others. Our field of vision is limitless!
With great power, comes great responsibility.
Those who take responsibility for others needs, will act.
Those who walk by, are forgotten.