The Good Samaritan and The Ugly Word


The story of the Good Samaritan is one of Jesus’ best known parables. It has become part of the fabric of western culture. It is held up to celebrate high ideals of humanity, brotherhood, sisterhood and community.  Somehow though, we’ve stopped listening.  We’ve heard that one before.  We get it.  Thanks.

I wonder then, might Jesus want to use such a story to show us something new of himself today.  With this in mind I revisit Luke 10.  What fascinates me is the story surrounding the story. A scholar questions Jesus and finds that Jesus takes his questions and his hope of intellectual debate and turns in a completely different direction, telling a story. The result? This simple little story completely floors the scholar who could only be left wondering what happened. The scholar’s motives, prejudices and pride are laid bare for all to see. We are left wondering his response.

What strikes me however, is that Jesus is telling this story for the good of the man questioning him. He is totally for that man. This alone gives me hope for today. This is good news for a man like me. I am easily tempted by the comfortable option and simultaneously all too ready to self-recriminate for not doing enough or being enough. What then, is my response?

In christian circles the word “challenge” has long been an ugly word for me.  It makes me want to resist and rebel. I strain against my own and other people’s expectations.  But what say the challenge of the living Christ were altogether different? What if, at his question, at his challenge, at his command, all I could do was throw myself upon his mercy?       What would I find?


handshake barbed wire

Jesus, Son of God
At your word I am released
Within your question, your challenge, your command
Remind me what I’ll surely find
When I throw myself upon your mercy

AUTHOR: Adrian Taylor

I'm a third generation strawberry plant propagator, sometimes poet, backyard theologian and part-time mystic. I live in Katikati, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand with my wife Lucy, my son Sam, and daughters Coby and Caris. I enjoy social soccer with the lads and finely crafted IPA.

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