The Good Samaritan ‘Rap’

Luke 10:25-37

Today’s gospel of the Parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the best known of all Jesus’ parables. There probably isn’t anyone who ever attended church a few times who hasn’t heard the parable.

A parable is a story with a deeper moral, teaching us a lesson about the life Jesus want us to live. It contains symbols and relationships that we can use to help us understand the ‘true’ meaning of the story. But Jesus doesn’t say it directly, but hides it in the parable or ‘story’ for us to discover the real meaning.

So let’s listen to the Parable of the Good Samaritan:

A lawyer stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have given the right answer; do this, and you will live.” But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered, “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. By chance a certain priest was going down that way. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he traveled, came where he was. When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. He set him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, and gave them to the host, and said to him, ‘Take care of him. Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return.’ Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?” He said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”(Luke 10:25-37)

Jesus’ lesson was that we were to take care of each other. . .
no matter who we were or who the other person was.

He hammered home that we are all brothers and sisters. . .
brothers and sisters of Him!

Now, let’s hear the parable in a little different way:

    A lawyer once asked, “What must I do
    To inherit eternal life, what say you?”
    Jesus replied, “What says the Law?”
    “To love God and your neighbor without any flaw”.
    This said the man and Jesus replied,
    “Do this and you will be justified”.
    “But who is my neighbor in what category?”
    He said and so Jesus told him this story
    A man was going along the way
    And suddenly found himself in great dismay
    He was robbed, beaten and left for dead
    While the robbers took what they would and fled
    A priest happened to go down the street
    And saw the man whom the robbers did beat
    But he passed him by on the other side
    He could have helped, but he did not provide
    A Levite also did the same.
    But finally a Samaritan came.
    When he saw he took pity on him
    As the man’s prospects were clearly grim
    He bandaged his wounds pouring on wine and oil
    Caring for him with much toil
    He took him to an inn and then the next day
    Payed for his care while he went away
    But told the innkeeper, “I will return
    And pay you any extra that you earn”
    Now which of these three do you suppose
    Was a neighbor to the man, which do you propose?
    “The one who showed mercy,” the lawyer replies
    Jesus answered, “Go and do likewise.”
    So if you think by the Law you will be saved
    You’d better be more than just well behaved
    You must love in spirit and not only in letter
    Though you think you’re good, you must be better.1 (in rap style)

What we just heard still gives us the same message and teaches us the same lesson, but it certainly grabs our attention.

Let’s look at the characters in this parable:

The LAWYER asked Jesus how he could have eternal life: He wanted a concrete list of ‘dos’ that would guarantee he would get into Heaven. He could recite the Jewish law, but it seemed as if he wanted more specific instructions. And is being able to recite the law enough to get into Heaven?

The THIEVES saw the man as an easy mark; they beat him and stripped him of his belongings and left him for dead.

The PRIEST, a man of God, someone who should have been living the law, crossed the road so that he would not even have to look at the man.

A LEVITE, whose responsibility was to judge peoples actions against the Jewish law, did not follow the Jewish law and take care of the man. He too crossed to the other side of the road.

The Levite and the priest followed the rule ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
The innkeeper saw the injured man, not as his neighbor, but as a source of income. Had the man appeared at his door without the Samaritan, he would have been brusquely turned away. He did not want this battered, bloody man in his inn to give him a bad reputation!

Then the SAMARITAN came along. Samaritans were the lowliest of people to the Jewish culture; they came from Jewish men marrying non-Jewish idol worshippers when they were exiled. The people did not want to remember that time in their sojourn while they were exiled. They hated the Samaritans so much that they wouldn’t even say the word ‘Samaritan’.

The Samaritan, not caring that the man under any circumstances would have recoiled from his touch, bandaged his wounds. Then he put him on his donkey and took him to the nearest inn. . . a place the Samaritan would not have been welcome, or would have had to enter through the back door. He tended the man until he had to leave, and gave the innkeeper money to see to his needs. He trusted the innkeeper would do the right things while he was gone; he promised to pay any additional expenses when he returned.

He was his brother’s keeper!

In this parable, we are commanded by Jesus to

love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27)

But just like the lawyer, we often still ask

who is our neighbor? (Luke 10:29)

There has been research that genetically compared the make-up of every human being to a 200-page book. The comparison asserts that of each person’s 200 pages, 197 of those pages are alike! Advanced scientific genetic research has proven that, except for minor differences, we are all composed of the same genes!

The differences that seem to divide us so greatly: race, gender, ethnic qualities, eye and hair color – the things we struggle over as a society – are a minuscule part of who we are.

Most of us – 98% of who we are – is the same.

So we really are brothers and sisters, regardless of our nationality, skin color, language or where we live.

In this parable, we are commanded by Jesus to

love your neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27)

Where do we see ourselves in this parable?

Are we the priest or the Levite – so assured in our own holiness . . . or absorbed in our own lives?

Are we the lawyer, wanting a cookie-cutter guide to Heaven, not willing to give up our own prejudices?

Or are we the Samaritan, someone going out of our way to see that someone with greater need is ministered to?

Jesus told us

the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

and showed us that love by His death on the cross. . . for his neighbors . . for all mankind.

    So if you think by the Law you will be saved
    You’d better be more than just well behaved
    You must love in spirit and not only in letter
    Though you think you’re good, you must be better.1 (in rap style)

Amen.
 
 
1 “The Good Samaritan Rap”, Berean Christian Bible Study
Delivered at In The Garden, Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 21 July 2013

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