Katy McKenna Raymond  
Personal blog of christian writer Katy McKenna Raymond in Kansas City, Missouri

Personal blog of christian
writer & fallible mom
Katy McKenna Raymond
in Kansas City, Missouri

Katy is represented by
Greg Johnson at
WordServe Literary

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That Pesky Good Samaritan

I’ve been a follower of Jesus for a good long time, but I’ve gotta be honest with you: There are some Bible stories that bug the heck out of me.

I’m fairly certain I discern the makings of an ongoing series of blog posts on this subject, so I won’t spill all the bugged beans in one entry. But for today, let me just say that I’ve never thought The Good Samaritan was overly compassionate. In fact, I’ve always thought he fell down on the job with a major thud.

So why did Jesus give him—-ostensibly, a fictional character in a parable the Savior was free to spin any way He liked—-such Scot-free kudos? Sure, compared to the religious creeps who passed by the beat-up guy on the other side of the road and wouldn’t even lower themselves to pretend they noticed his distress, The Good Samaritan looks squeaky clean and uber-caring.

But, honestly. Would YOU give a Best Samaritan Character award to a guy who staunches a bit of blood, drags a punk to a Super 8, spends one night loosely monitoring his vital signs, and then bribes the manager to cover the property damage?

I’ve never thought The Good Samaritan was too late, but I’ve always thought he did too little. Far too little.

For one thing, it seems to me the businessman (who had an appointment in Jericho that supposedly couldn’t wait long…..) did nothing to address the social needs of the guy who’d been mugged and beaten. Jesus’ story doesn’t indicate that the Samaritan tried to get the Division of Family Services involved, or contacted the police to file a missing persons report, in case the guy’s wife or parents were looking for him.

Furthermore, the story doesn’t indicate that the Samaritan was much of a conversationalist. Did he even attempt to soothe the victim’s fears, offer companionship on a level deeper than wiping his brow until his fever broke, or agree to play Mafia Wars or Farmville with him on facebook after the dust settled? There’s no reason to believe he did one darned thing more than meet the man’s basic survival needs and then consign him to someone who may or may not have been sufficiently motivated to provide ongoing assistance.

And then, when The Good Samaritan checked out of the Super 8 the next morning, he wrote a big, fat check to the manager. A check large enough to cover everything, including ongoing care for the injured man. Along with a promise to return and cough up more money, if the situation demanded it.

THIS is where the story gets dicey for me. How did he know he could trust the manager to do the caregiving task as well as he’d been doing it, which was at least at a level of basic competence if he got the guy through the night? Was it purely a case of “money talks” and just in case you’re thinking about slacking off, there’s plenty more where that came from? And also: How did the Samaritan determine that his business dealings in Jericho were still important, still an uppermost priority, in light of the fact that God had put this “person of need” directly in his path?

The truth is that The Good Samaritan drew a boundary on that blood-spattered road, and so did the priest and the Levite who walked past on the other side and averted their eyes and hearts. Unlike them, though, he was compelled to alleviate the type of human suffering that cannot be overcome by the victim’s efforts alone. He was compelled to bear the burdens of another until those burdens became less acute, but not to ignore his own callings and concerns completely.

I’ve always imagined the mugging victim dying at the incompetent hands of the Super 8 manager, but Jesus gives us no reason to think the victim had anything but a positive outcome after the Samaritan left his side. Besides, the story isn’t really about the Needy Guy,is it? It’s about us, and whether we step up to the appropriate boundaries in our lives. And when we do, making sure we do it in a way that meets the need of the desperate soul without misplacing our own callings and responsibilities.

Suffice it to say, I’m taking another look at The Good Samaritan and what made him tick.

And realizing that Jesus saw something in him that He’d very much like to see in me.

Posted by Katy on 01/05/11 at 10:17 AM
Fallible Comments...
  1. The first thing to note here is that the story of the Good Samaritan is a parable and in parables Jesus is particularly short with his words - giving only enough information to answer the question, "Who is my neighbor?" I'll comment more later, but I have to meet my daughter for lunch.
    Posted by Alison Swihart  on  01/05/11  at  11:53 AM
  2. Well, let's see...YES on the appropriate boundaries...he clearly didn't set up the one Jesus was addressing: the CULTURAL one--the Jewish non-helping travelers didn't take care of a fellow Jew, but the 'mongrel' 2d-class Samaritan crossed a big line and helped him, regardless.
    Posted by Sam Kane  on  01/05/11  at  12:01 PM
  3. Hi Katy,
    I really enjoyed your post here and even found myself chuckling a few times here and there; but you are missing the entire point of the story. I am a Jew who has found Messiah so I tend to read the Scriptures with a Hebrew mindset.

    You, understandably, are viewing this story through the eyes of a “Christian” rather than through the eyes of a Shepherd in search of His Lost Sheep; some of which can be found in Samaria. I’ll explain.

    The focus of the story is not the beaten Jew, it is the Samaritan man who is one of the Lost Sheep who Jesus leaves his flock in search of. This story is to show us the various places to fish and hunt for those who belong to G-d.

    You see Israel is comprised of 12 Tribes. The Jews you read about in Scripture and see today make up the 2 Southern Tribes and small bits of some of the other 10 Tribes. The vast majority of the 10 Northern Tribes have been cast out by G-d into the all the Nations of the World and as the Prophecies of Hosea and Isaiah tell they have been “assimilated” into those countries in which they have lived all these years to the point that through the generations they no longer even know that they are Jewish people.

    But G-d says that he knows each and every one of them and when the time comes in the end He will cause them to know who they are and he will bring them home and he will re-unite the Two Houses of Israel and they will finally be back together as one house under the Messiah. (For all we know you may one day learn from G-d that you are Jewish.)

    The reason the Priest and the Levite refused to help is because the Samaritans claim to be “Jewish” because they are ½ breeds… they are part of the Ten Lost Tribes that Jesus is in search to bring home and re-unite with Israel.

    But the Jews don’t want to receive this truth because they claim only those whose mother or both parents is Jewish is a Jew. The Scriptures tell us in the end time Israel will listen and accept their brothers’ home with open arms and receive Messiah. What a Glorious Day!

    In the meantime, many Gentiles will enter into the family of G-d because his fishers of men are casting nets and both Jews and Gentiles will get caught in those nets together. The nets must be cast out into the many “nations” since that’s where G-d exiled the 10 Tribes. Those nations are now comprised of nationals AND lost, assimilated Jews.

    Hope this helps puts things into perspective. Again, I really liked your take on the subject.

    Posted by Dina  on  07/25/11  at  11:35 PM
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    Posted by Burberry Check Tote  on  06/19/12  at  05:57 AM
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