The Good Samaritan

Ravi Zacharias said that ‘where destruction is the motive, unity is dangerous.’ If you see a people eschew unity and embrace estrangement then darkness is around the corner. If we entangle ourselves with disunity then we will beget iniquity. We cannot fool ourselves that something good can come from such an alliance.

Disunity has littered the highway of history with gory and gorgon images. The dissension between Cain and Abel resulted in the demise of the later. The discord between Esau and Jacob resulted in pain and suffering. Miriam and her compatriots soon found out that their dalliance with cacophony was not just phoney but also extremely expensive. It is the height of imbecility when generals write cheques that their servicemen cannot cash.

The divisions among the Germans – Communists against Fascists – led them to make grave decisions that caused the Second World War.

The disagreements between the West and the East gave birth to a SthenoEuryale and Medusa who would eat innocent children across the world. The Cold war produced sporadic hot wars. Effervescing geysers sprung across Asia, Africa and Europe.

The sheer dissonance displayed by Tutsis and Hutus in Rwanda resulted in one of the worst genocides of our time.

There are many other examples of bloody messes that were caused by guys who did not want to cede ground and give peace a chance.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

The parable of the Good Samaritan, as put forth in Luke 10:25-37, is one of the most conspicuous narrations in the Bible. It is not just salient but it has silent teachings that we can easily bypass due to busyness of human nature.

Jesus is asked a question by a lawyer, ‘teacher who is my neighbour?’ The question is meant to ensnare Jesus and perhaps to confirm the lawyer’s biases. Jesus answers the question by means of a parable – The Parable of the Good Samaritan.

The parable has the Good Samaritan, The Levite, The Priest, the travelling man, the robbers and the inn-keeper as the characters. The Priest and the Levite are high ranking religious leaders. They are the emblems of God’s goodness and mercy. Priests came from the lineage of Aaron, and we can recall Aaron’s wicked theatrics of dancing naked before the golden calf. Levites descended from Levi, the third son of Jacob and Leah. Levi is the man who participated in the massacre of Shechemites. This bloody behaviour earned him a curse (Genesis 49:7). Later Moses is charged to bless Levites in Deuteronomy 33:8-11.

Hence it is worthy to note that Priests and Levites are born out of Mercies of God. None of their works earned them the high offices. It is ironical then to notice that the people who were hewn from the tree of mercy cannot dispense mercy.

The Samaritan, on the other hand, is the uncouth neighbour of the Jews: the untouchable. The Samaritan worships multiple gods. His way of life is appalling and not appealing. He does not share in Jewish religion. He is not from their race/ethnic. He is not a member of the top echelon like the Priest and the Levite.

Religion, Tribe and Fame

The Good Samaritan and the wounded traveller were not of the same religion: The Samaritan was semi-pagan while the injured traveller was of the Jewish religion. They were not of the same ethnic background.

The Samaritan was not as powerful as the Jewish Priest. He was not of affluence and influence as the two clergies. He did not have a solid standing. He was neither famous nor popular. He was a commoner.

In a nutshell, the Parable of the Good Samaritan is a lesson to all of us; that we should be able to rise above our religious clichés, tribal inclinations and affluence trappings, in service of humanity.

Religious and denominational differences should serve humanity; not sever it. Race and ethnic barriers should not erase mercy but raise it. Fame and popularity should not divide us but double us.

We can purpose to become agents of peace, unity and tranquillity. We can agree to disregard the three major differences – Religion, Ethnicity and Economic status – that divide us.

At the end of the day, we are one and the same. Why should we fight?

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