Jesus restored people and communities. Therefore, following Jesus requires us to do the same. Jesus portrayed what this looks like when he told the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Jesus told the parable in response to a lawyer questioning him as to what it meant to love your neighbour as yourself.
Jesus tells of a priest and a Levite walking past and neglecting a man who had been robbed, beaten, and left to die on the side of the road. A Samaritan, however stopped, bandaged the man’s wounds, took him to an inn, took care of him and paid the innkeeper to continue caring for him.
In telling this parable, Jesus was saying that to love your neighbour is to care for their needs. The Samaritan attended to the wounded and vulnerable man. In doing so, he acted to restore the man.
To follow Jesus is to love our neighbour as ourselves. This means attending to their needs. Attending to the needs of those who are vulnerable is helping to restore them.
Whose needs can you attend to?
In telling the parable, Jesus also challenged the perceptions that his Jewish audience had about Samaritans. They despised Samaritans and would have expected the priest and the Levite to be the heroes of the story. Instead it was the Samaritan who had compassion on the wounded man. In challenging their perceptions, Jesus was restoring the division between Jews and Samaritans.
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Bible Passage – Luke 10:25-37
“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘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, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.””