Some Understand 1 + 6 = 7 by Robert P. Holland on the Independent Author Index
Jesus gave the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) in answer to the questions, (1) “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” and (2) “Who is my neighbor?” The two go together. Love for neighbor is the first fruits of eternal life.
The parable is about two groups of people – Jews and Samaritans. Each had a book of the law and a mountain designated as the place to worship. Each claimed to have the only book of the law and the only mountain designated as the place to worship. Each said to the other, “You don’t have the right book, and you don’t worship on the right mountain. You are not God’s people; we are.” The feud had gone on for centuries (John 4:19-21).
Since the parable was given, the groups have multiplied. The problems the parable addressed have increased: Christians and Jews, Protestants and Catholics, Muslims and Christians, Hindus and Christians, Buddhists and Christians, Liberals and Conservatives, Denominations and Denominations, Nondenominational and Denominational, Christians and Secular Humanism, Christians and Communism, Atheists and Theists, etc. The world is reeling with suffering as a result of the books and the places of worship.
A book and a place to worship can become idols replacing God, the works of the flesh rather than the fruit of the Spirit, a substitute for love of neighbor and eternal life, a barrier, fence, fortress separating us from them, the lost from the saved.
Love for the neighbor and Eternal Life is not confined behind a fortress where people outside the fortress are called names. Rather it goes into the other fortresses, crosses the barriers, the fences, and preaches the gospel to the poor, heals the broken hearted, preaches deliverance to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind; it sets at liberty them that are bruised (Luke 4:18).
A Jew was attacked, robbed, and left for dead. A Samaritan, the one who was despised and considered lost by the Jew, ministered to him. In other circumstances, the one who was ministered to in would have spit in the face of the one who ministered to him.
The Samaritan stepped out of the old prejudices, the old boundaries, the name-calling, and the anger, and ministered to the one who despised him. Love replaced hate; life replaced death; joy replaced anger; blessing replaced name-calling. The fruit of the Spirit replaced the works of the flesh.
Jonah was the opposite of the Good Samaritan. He didn’t want to preach to the people of Nineveh; they were his enemies. He wanted them punished, not forgiven. We each are confronted with similar situations as the Samaritan. Will we act like Jonah or the Good Samaritan? We can act like Jonah and desire their punishment, and be swallowed by a fish. Or we can act like the Good Samaritan, leave the old fortresses, prejudices, and barriers and cross over into others’ fortresses, prejudices, barriers, and minister to the person in need and live.
Copyright© Robert P. Holland. All rights reserved.