Friday, 3 October 2008

Another Story

Here is a recent icon representing the story Christ told which we have come to call "The Good Samaritan".

As you can see, I did not try to figure out what the title might be in Greek -- I figured I wouldn't be able to find the word "Samaritan" in any English-Greek Dictionary!

Anyway, Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan one day when some of the teachers had asked him to explain "who is my neighbour?" (the Jewish law said that each person was to love their neighbour as themselves).

Jesus begin to tell them a story. He described a Jewish man travelling down from Jerusalem to Jericho -- a road that even today goes through a very barren and desolate section of the country.

Suddenly, bandits swarmed around the man, taking his possessions (including his clothing), beating him severely and leaving him for dead by the side of the road.

After a while, along came another man from Jerusalem travelling down to Jericho who, for his own reasons, decided he couldn't be bothered with helping the poor man -- it looked as though he was already dead anyway. So he passed him by.

Afer a bit more time had passed, along comes another man, a devout person, who did not seek to help the wounded man as he would have been religiously defiled had he touched someone bloody and dirty. So he passed him by as well.

Then along comes a Samaritan. Now the people listening to Jesus looked with contempt upon their neighbours known as Samaritans -- they would not think of helping them nor would they expect them to help a Jewish person.

However, in this story, the Samaritan dismounts from his horse, sees that the man is still alive and proceeds to clean and bandage his wounds. He then puts the wounded man on his horse and takes him to a nearby inn and gets him a room so that he can rest and recover.

The next morning, he pays the inn keeper for both his room and the room of the man from the road. As he prepares to leave, he tells the inn keeper that when he next passes that way, he will pay for whatever food and lodging the wounded man required before being well enough to continue with his journey.

Jesus then asked those who had questioned him: "Of the three, which one loved his neighbour as himself?"

The answer was obvious -- to them and to us.

In this icon, the Samaritan has been drawn to resemble Christ Jesus, himself, as he clearly demonstrates for us how to truly love our neighbours.

Peace be with you all.

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