Recently, my pastor spoke about the parable of the Good Samaritan.  As with other messages on this parable, the crux of the issue came down to the identification of the "neighbor" in the story.  As was concluded in the message, it was the Samaritan man–not the religious elites–who was a true neighbors to the bloodied, violated man, for he alone showed care.

As I was reflecting upon this story, I was struck particularly by the identities of the characters in this parable–the three Jewish men, and the Samaritan.  Most of the messages on this parable that I have heard conclude that the point of the story is that the definition of "neighbor" must be expanded beyond one's friends, family and acquaintences, and must more inclusively be defined by all humanity.  While I believe this is certainly a part of the import of the story, I think a much more poignant point is being made by Jesus, the point that one's neighbor not only includes "everyone" generally, but one's enemies, specifically.

I think it is no accident that the protagonist of the story is a Samaritan.  Hated by the Jews and despised for their mongrolized religious belief and praxis, the Samaritans were a More >