One of the latest movies in theater is Zootopia. It takes a lighthearted view of some big questions: What do we do with stereotypes? Why do we have such a hard time with people? Do we have to like everyone? Jesus was asked a similar set of questions by a lawyer wanting to test Him. They were discussing the best of the law of Moses:
“25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ 26 He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? How do you read it?’ 27 And he answered, ‘You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.’ 28 And he said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.'” (Luke 10).
So who is my neighbor? he asked. So begins the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is an interesting story. The cast?
A man who was attacked on the road to Jericho. It was narrow, full of canyons, and the perfect place to get mugged.
Two stereotypical “good guys”, a priest and a Levite. The priest worked in the temple. He was in charge of helping the people connect with God and make sacrifices for their sins. The Levite was in the same clan, recognized as some of the spiritual leaders in Israel. So if they are spiritual leaders, they would surely be the ones to help, right?
Then there was the Samaritan. The half-breed who did not belong anywhere. The person that the Jews despised, pushed out of the temple, and avoided at all costs. Yeah, that guy.
So who is my neighbor? Who do I think is a priest, and who is a Samaritan? Would I consider myself a “Levite” in America? Is that a good thing?
Read ahead in Luke and post your comments below!
God, which role do You see me living out? Who can I be a neighbor to? Who is my neighbor? God, please help me to love people like You. Love that knows when to save and when to love through the pain. Love that wants the best for them, not the fastest solution or easiest thing. But love that cares enough to get involved. God, please change my heart. Amen.