In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25-37), Yeshua was asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Part of His answer was to “love your neighbor as yourself.” At that point Yeshua was asked to explain “who is my neighbor?” This is when the parable of the Good Samaritan was given.
In the Torah, priests and Levites were called to a life of holiness which forbade them to touch the dead and even to enter a cemetery, etc. This is still followed by the religious Jews of our time.
In the story of the Good Samaritan we see this in action. Both the priest and the Levite passed by the man who had been beaten and robbed, lying in the road. Part of the reason they passed him by was that he could very well have been dead, and touching him would have made them ritually unclean.
Only the “pagan” Samaritan loved his neighbor as himself by coming near to the man in need and caring for him.
- Who found favor in God’s eyes?
- The priest and Levite whose focus was on ritual purity?
- Or the “pagan” Samaritan who ministered to this man’s needs asking for nothing in return?
- Who touched God’s heart?
- Whose heart and thought patterns need to be changed?
If we the New Testament priests, those who believe in Yeshua are more focused on our perception of holiness rather than the immediate needs of those God puts in front of us, we may be setting ourselves up for a crisis.
Are we creating a framework which keeps us in and others out, or are we making the love of God accessible to all?
[By the way, this parable of Yeshua convicts me on an additional personal level, because my family name is Cohen (priest in Hebrew), and therefore according to the Old Testament I am a priest.]
This article originally appeared in Oasis newsletter, May 2020, and reposted with permission.