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This week our sermon will address the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Let us begin with the background for this parable: Jews hated Samaritans, and vice versa. Each saw the other as ‘the hated foreigner.’ So, we must wonder why Jesus chose to make a Samaritan the hero of this parable. Was he trying to irritate his own Jewish community? Was he trying to say that Samaritans are better than Jews? I don’t think so.
Jesus chose a Samaritan just because such a person was expected to be mean to the Jew at the side of the road. Jesus was showing that the Samaritan, as ‘a hated foreigner’, was carrying out the work of God by helping the person he considered to be ‘a hated foreigner.’
This Samaritan showed, in his actions, that loving one’s neighbor included loving one’s enemies, for even one’s enemy is of value to God. So, the text asks us, who is the outsider that we are called to value?
Our church has started a mission to the outsiders…the refugees living among us. The Parable of the Good Samaritan gives us our directive: all humans are made in the image of God, and so all deserve the respect and kindness that ‘offers a cup of cool water’ to those in need. Period.