Christ taught by metaphor and similes and images, in stories the people could hear and understand. He speaks several times of “the Kingdom of heaven is like….”
He spoke of things they were familiar with: a rift between a father and a son, sowing seeds, working in vineyards, and the differences among groups of people. A parable can be understood on many different levels, a personal level, a social description, or a metaphysical teaching.
One is a story of a kind of man that has become synonymous with a kind helper: Luke 10:25-37 The Parable of the Good Samaritan.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” Jesus replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. This is a priest who is supposed to help people!
So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said, “and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense.”
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
The interesting part of this is that Samaritans at the time were considered a lower class by the Jews, as they had intermarried with non–Jews. Even in this story, the lawyer can’t quite say the word Samaritan, but says, the one who had mercy. It doesn’t matter what class you are – priest or Levite – they did not practice what they preached.
The Good Samaritan phrase lives on today, as someone who goes out of the way to help another, even though that person might have looked down upon him.
So, no matter the differences or conflicts, all people are our neighbors, and deserve our love and attention.
I have a passion for stories and inspirational literature.