ONE day Jesus tells a man that he should love his neighbor. The man asks Jesus: ‘Who is my neighbor?’ Well, Jesus knows what this man is thinking. The man thinks that only people of his own race and religion are his neighbors. So let’s see what Jesus says to him.
Sometimes Jesus teaches by telling a story. This is what he does now. He tells a story about a Jew and a Sa·marʹi·tan. We have already learned that most Jews do not like Sa·marʹi·tans. Well, this is Jesus’ story:
One day there was a Jew going down a mountain road to Jerʹi·cho. But robbers jumped on him. They took his money and beat him up until he was almost dead.
Later, a Jewish priest came along the road. He saw the beat-up man. What do you think he did? Why, he just crossed over to the other side of the road and kept going. Then another very religious person came along. He was a Levite. Did he stop? No, he didn’t stop to help the beat-up man either. You can see the priest and the Levite in the distance going down the road.
But see who is here with the beat-up man. He is a Sa·marʹi·tan. And he is helping the Jew. He is putting some medicine on his wounds. Afterward, he takes the Jew to a place where he can rest and get well.
After finishing his story, Jesus says to the man who asked him the question: ‘Which one of these three do you think acted like a neighbor to the beat-up man? Was it the priest, the Levite or the Sa·marʹi·tan?’
The man answers: ‘The Sa·marʹi·tan man. He was kind to the man who was beat up.’
Jesus says: ‘You are right. So go and treat others the same way as he did.’
Don’t you like the way Jesus teaches? We can learn many, many important things if we listen to what Jesus says in the Bible, can’t we?
How does Jesus use the parable of the neighborly Samaritan, or the “good Samaritan,” to teach a powerful lesson?
What lessons can we learn from Jesus’ illustration of the prodigal son?