Is the parable of the Good Samaritan relevant today?
The obvious answer is yes. The parable as told by our Lord is as relevant today as it was the moment the words left his lips and arguably more so.
Jesus was being questioned by a skeptical Lawyer in Luke 10:25 and was asked what must he do to be saved. Jesus skillfully replies to the lawyer, “what does the law say?”. The lawyer declares the law in two commands, love the Lord and love your neighbor. “This do, and thou shalt live,”Jesus replies. “Who is my neighbor,” snaps the lawyer back to Jesus, convinced that his superior intellect has led him to a victory. Jesus as calmly as ever answers with the now famous parable of the Good Samaritan.
I believe that Jesus is using this parable to teach two lessons: 1. Who is your neighbor, and 2. What true care involves.
The Good Samaritan on his journey comes across an injured man, and he cares for him in a way that he himself would wish to be cared for. This simple parable is riddled with complexities, the very same complexities we face today. The complexities of human life are varied, from bitterness, hatred, and prejudice to social norms and cultural nuances. All of us live in complex environments that limit our ability to truly care for others.
Casually scrolling through social media you will undoubtedly encounter multiple zealots for causes that they can just not get anyone else to care about! There are so many causes and so many zealots carrying their banners that for most of us, we have become numb. Like we are numb to banner advertisements on our computer screens, we have become numb to caring. Numb to who our neighbor is, and numb to how we should care for them.
Caring also comes with huge risks, there is first the emotional risk that our caring will not be accepted and appreciated, there is the cultural risk that our caring will be scoffed at by others, there is the personal risk of physical harm and many more valid risks. Therefore caring, truly caring for your neighbor as yourself takes courage. Your heart is strengthened by faith and strength of heart is your measure of courage, so have faith in the words and instruction of your Saviour. This command to care comes from Christ Himself and carries with it the promise of His care for you. Take faith and have courage to care, your neighbor depends on it.