Reflecting on neighbors.

We were talking about the parable of the good samaritan. It’s a story that Jesus told to help someone figure out who counts as one’s neighbor.

Take a couple minutes, read the story, and then think about these questions. (Luke 10:25-37) Really. Go read it.

whew.Just for a little background, the questioner was a teacher of Jewish religious law. He was asking very specific questions, designed to establish boundaries on acceptable behavior. The priest and the Levite were religious leaders. The priests were the most public leaders, the Levites did everything from count money to haul wood to do crowd control. Though they had lived in the same country as the Jews for many generations,

Samaritans were culturally and theologically despised by keepers of the Jewish law. It was as if a multinational corporation bought your company and another company, moved you and your colleagues to the other offices and their people into your offices. And the new people tried to keep your culture. But they didn’t know anything about why.

If you ever came back to your office, you would be mad because of the takeover, mad because you had to move, and mad because the new people had done everything backward.

So, some questions on the story.

  1. What direction were the priest and the Levite going? Were they heading to work or home from work? If they were going to work, touching someone dead would have meant a few days off work because they would have been ceremonially impure. Before we scoff, think about the importance of “don’t touch the body” warnings during the recent ebola outbreaks.
  2. Was the man beaten by robbers Jewish, Italian, Samaritan, or some other nationality?
  3. Why does the teacher of the law refuse to say the cultural identity of the man who helped the beaten man?
  4. How many ways was the Samaritan inconvenienced by helping the beaten man?
  5. What don’t you understand about the story?
  6. What do you wish you didn’t understand about the story?


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One thought on “Reflecting on neighbors.

  1. Andy Ford

    The two big laws (Love God, Love your neighbor) outweigh ceremonial laws. All God’s laws are there for our benefit, not just because God hit that on a dart board.


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