“And who is my neighbor?” -Luke 10: 29
Jesus doesn’t really leave much for us to guess about in some of his parables. In this story that holds true, the Samaritan takes care of the man who has been beaten and left to suffer, and he then claims the title of neighbor. What I find curious about this story is why did the first two pass by the suffering man? What were they feeling or doing that kept them from stopping and being helpful or even just checking on this man. I often find my questions in the parables to be about what isn’t said. Why didn’t the priest or the Levite stop and show this man any mercy. What were they holding onto that didn’t allow them to stop and help? According to Old Testament Law a priest couldn’t touch a dead body, it would make him ceremonially unpure, the same would hold true for the religious Levite. I wonder when the “rules” get in the way of grace and mercy? When do we find that rules inhibit us rather than allow us to flourish? What does that do to our hearts when we are held back by rules (real or perceived) rather than living in love, mercy, kindness and grace?