I read this Phillip Fletcher devotion last week and found it to be a very powerful illustration of what it means to follow Christ. It is the retelling of an old parable, in a new way, to reflect the world we live in today. I hope it inspires you, as it did me.
One day, a Christian of America made up in his mind to test Jesus, saying, "Teacher, remind me on how I am to inherit eternal life." Jesus said to him, "What is written in the New Testament? How do you read it?" And he answered, "I must have faith in him whom God has risen from the dead. It is a living faith which leads me to love God and my neighbour." And Jesus said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live."
But the Christian of America, didn't fully appreciate the answer. He straightened his back. Cast a smirk of a smile and said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbour?"
Jesus replied, "A man was going from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, and he was car-jacked by several persons, who stole his clothes, seized his smartphone, broke his ribs, cracked his skull, leaving him unconscious on the side of the road. Now it happened to be the time of a great conference and a pro-life group was passing by, and when they saw the man, they passed on by. Likewise a missionary group who just returned from India, when they came to the exact same location, they too passed on to the other side.
But a Muslim, as he travelled to work, saw the man on the side of the road, and when he saw him, he entered into his suffering. He pulled out his first aid kit, tended to the man's injuries and then called 911 for emergency assistance. He followed the ambulance to the hospital and sat over night with the man in ICU. Next morning he told the hospital billing office, "Here is my credit card. Take care of him and whatever he needs."
Jesus looked at the Christian of America and with strong eyes asked, "Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbour to the man carjacked?"
The Christian of America clenched his fist. He looked around fumbling with the keys in his pocket. He finally looked up to Jesus and said, "The one who showed him mercy."
And Jesus says to the Christian of America,
"You go, and do the same."
This retelling of the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) was inspired by my friend Jared Wilson who tweeted on Monday December 7, 2015:
"If Jesus were telling the parable we call The Good Samaritan to many evangelicals today, it might be known as The Good Muslim."
This year has proven we need to revisit this parable and others like it to recover how we are to live as Christians in this current climate. We are seeking to justify ourselves and how we treat others on the basis of our citizenship, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Such justifications lead us only to love those who are like us. This parable demonstrates the power of transformative love when those who are in conflict share in each other's suffering. This parable is spoken to those who ask the question, "What must I do to inherit life?"
Jesus is speaking to us today.
Jesus is telling us an old story in a new way.
Jesus who has showed us mercy now says:
"You go, and do the same. It will cost you time. It will cost you resources. It will cost your life. But because I have given you the power of an indestructible life, you go, and do the same. Show mercy as an act of gratitude for the mercy you have received."
Bex Silver is from Auckland, New Zealand and has a Masters in International Development. She is currently setting up her own social enterprise working with former refugees to find meaningful employment. Bex is passionate about people and advocating for social justice through her writing.
Bex Silver's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/bex-silver.html