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Trinity 4



Hi I’m Tim Williams Team Rector of Kidderminster West and Area Dean of Kiddderminster and Stourport. 

I want to start by making a confession. I have  to admit that I have a police record - I love their greatest hits! Some of you may have missed the joke because you don’t know the Band which was fronted by Sting and you might be getting over the shock. What a shock Jesus’ parable about the Good Samaritan must have been for his listeners. It shocked his listeners in a different way to us because they lived in a different time with different circumstances. That twenty-mile road from Jerusalem to Jericho was well known for robbers, so it was not unusual for someone to be attacked and robbed. Sometimes the robbers would even pretend to be injured by the side of the road and when someone went to help, they would then attack them. Fear of the injured man being a decoy may be a reason why someone would leave a person by the side of the road. So, those listening to Jesus may not have been too shocked at the priest and Levite passing by on the other side of the road, even though that is what shocks us.

The shock for Jews listening to Jesus was that it was a Samaritan who went over to the injured man. They might have expected that a fellow Israelite would be who Jesus would make the hero. But the Samaritan is made the hero of the parable. That was a shock. The Samaritans were living north of Jerusalem. They had been Jews until the eight century BC when they intermarried with foreigners who colonized Samaria (read about it in 2 Kings 17). After that time, the Jewish people no longer considered the Samaritans as Jewish since they had lost the purity of their Jewish race. From then on there was constant friction between the Jews and Samaritans. The Samaritans refused to worship in the temple in Jerusalem and built their own temple. They refused to accept the full Jewish Old Testament and had their own short Old Testament. Then about 128 BC some Jews destroyed the Samaritans’ temple and relations hit an all-time low after that. So, as Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan, the shock was that it was a Samaritan, hated by the Jews, who went over to help. It would have been no problem for those listening to Jesus if an Israelite went over to help and became the hero of the parable. But it was a Samaritan! He was the one who was the good neighbour; he helped the injured man, took him to the inn and gave two denarii—two days wages—to care for him until his return.

In this parable Jesus challenged his listeners to think in a new way—no longer to regard the Samaritans as enemies but as neighbours worthy of love. Reaching out to others and building bridges is what Jesus did many times over in his ministry, and Luke’s Gospel has more accounts of Jesus doing this than the others. Luke is obviously trying to emphasize more than the other evangelists that Jesus made great efforts to reach out to all people. Everything Jesus did was teaching us something about the type of Church he wants us to be. Jesus expects us therefore to be a Church that is united, and inclusive where everybody is loved. Paul wrote to the Galatians that because of Christ there is now no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. Yet Paul also realizes that we have different roles in the Church; describing the Church in his first letter to the Corinthians, as a body and says all the different parts belong in the body and if one part suffers all suffer. But we are all to be united around Christ. That is why in the second reading today (Col 1:15-20) Paul wrote that Jesus made peace by his death on the cross and everything is to be reconciled in Christ (Col 1:20). Paul never met Jesus as far as we know. At first, he persecuted Christians but what a transformation took place in Paul as he understood the message of Christ and what it means for us. He was so totally transformed on the road to Damascus that he perfectly understood Jesus’ teaching. Paul allowed his thinking to be refined and he lived the message of Jesus’ parable.

Apart from telling us something about the type of Church Jesus expects us to be, What is Jesus trying to teach us in this parable? Do we need to allow our thinking to be refined in any way? After telling the parable, Jesus asked the lawyer which of these three proved himself a neighbour and the lawyer responded, “The one who took pity on him.” (Luke 10:37) Then Jesus said to him and says to us “Go, and do likewise.”


Page last updated: Monday 4th July 2022 9:51 AM
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