We often read the story of the Good Samaritan as if the man who was robbed and beaten was the despised Samaritan and the man who helped was just an ordinary person like us. We read the story and come to the conclusion we are to help those in need, even those who we don’t like. When Jesus says, “Go and do likewise”, traditionally we have taken it to mean we are to help those in need, even despised Samaritans. However if that was really Jesus’ intention he would have told the story with the Samaritan being the one who was robbed and beaten and an ordinary Jewish person helping him. What if, Jesus meant go and receive mercy, instead of go and show mercy?

Furthermore if we read Luke 10:37 we realized that Jesus has made the answer to the question: “Who is my neigbour?” to be: “My neighbour is the one who has mercy.” And since it is my neighbour we are talking about, he/she is showing mercy to me. Jesus effectively tells the expert in the law that he can’t justify himself (v.29) and needs mercy. This man, like all of us, need to love the One who will show us mercy.

With thanks to Mark Buchanan who points this out in his book, The Holy Wild Sisters: Multnomah, 2003. pgs. 113-116