Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Witnessing of the People of God

Rev. Sam T. Panicker
Carmel MTC, Boston, MA
34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, having poured oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 

The meaning of friendship or neighborhood  is explained in the parable of The Good Samaritan. This parable is found only in the Gospel according to Luke. Jesus conveys the secrets of the kingdom mysteries in parables. He permits his audience to raise questions and issues. A question was asked by an attorney, "WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?" For a Jew, ones neighbor should be another Jew - a very closed perspective of time and space. Jesus transcends their parochial attitude by this parable.
The way towards Jericho from Jerusalem was known as the "bloody and dangerous path". The lone traveler had to go through  that path  due to an  emergency. But  the Levites and priests were the regular travelers  as of their profession. However, they left  the wounded and went on the other side. Ignoring the needy, they continued their ritualistic life as usual.

The situation demands a prompt action

The priest and Levite thought about what would happen to them if they helped him. They were so conscious about the structures and the titles that define their job. The context defines the task, as Jesus did. Jesus  fulfilled the law by practicing it. Jesus chose the road which was less traveled by his forerunners. The practice and methodology of mission derives from the contextual needs and challenges. So the place  and the time where we are is very pertinent. In contemporary settings also many are wounded by war, discrimination, financial pressures and  emotional issues.

Sensitive about co-travelers
The Good Samaritan was a practical one, who does things in an extraordinary format. He though, if he  could not  do something at this time what would happen to the wounded man? He considers  the other in his perspective and  that    works for his redemption. The context demands his involvement, energy, resources, time and talents. After getting down from his cart, the wounded traveler was treated with respect and love. His body was cleansed by oil and wine. Oil and wine symbolizes the healing process. He was very concerned about the man's future too, thus he also  mentioned about the reimbursement when he comes back.

Good neighbor is the one who shows mercy and reverence of life

The harmful structures that caused them to hurt and wound  are still there. The one who raised the question about identifying his neighbor was again to face the question from Jesus. The attorney was  very conservative to pronounce even the word "Samaritan". Eventually Jesus told him,"go and do likewise". The eternal life and discipleship are well connected. Not only knowing the law but doing it decides our eternity. "Do  this and you will live".

Our heavenly father, help us to discern the challenges  in our daily journeys. Give us the courage to recognize fellow travelers and their needs in a competitive environment. Share your strength to be with the wounded and unwanted so that we may be a healing presence.

Our faithful response to the context designs our eternity and heavenly reward.

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