Luke 10:33, The Priest, the Levite, and…

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him

//In the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus pulls a surprising twist. A man lies half-dead along the side of the road. Who will help him? First, Jesus tells about the uncompassionate priest, who makes a point of walking by on the other side of the road. Next Jesus introduces the Levite, who follows in the footsteps of the priest. Next comes…

The Israelite, right? That’s how these stories go. Anyone listening to Jesus tell this story knows who is going to come along next. The third person, surely the one to show compassion, will be an Israelite. Priests, Levites, and Israelites always go together. Ezra 10:5 speaks of the the priest, the Levites, and all Israel. Nehemiah 11:3 tells of Israel, the priests, and the Levites. Everybody knows who is going to come along next and show compassion to the man on the side of the road.

Except it isn’t. It’s a hated Samaritan. An enemy of Israel. That’s who shows compassion. Jesus often relies on shock value to make a point, and the story of the Good Samaritan is no exception. His listeners that day would have gone home with something to think about.

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