"But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?'
In reply Jesus said: 'A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you many have.'
'Which of the three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?'
The expert in the law replied, 'The one who had mercy on him.'
Jesus told him, 'Go and do likewise.'" Luke 10:29-37
Often when we read this story we ask ourselves which man are we: the priest, the Levite or the Samaritan? This is a great question to ask. It's Jesus' point that we should have mercy on everyone with whom we come in contact. But I think there is another fantastic question to ask ourselves when reading this parable.
Who are my Samaritans?
See, the Parable of the Good Samaritan was genius because of who the Samaritans were to the man asking the question and to the audience listening to the answer. The Jews hated the Samaritans. There is a long history to this hatred, but the short answer is that the Jews felt that the Samaritans were inferior, racial half-breeds. Jesus shocked the crowd by having a Samaritan be the hero of the story instead of the priest or Levite.
I heard pastor Douglas Wilson say the situation likened to a black man being the hero in this story as it was being told to a group of white Mississippians in 1950.
So, who are your Samaritans?
Who does God want you to humanized? Who would you be shocked to see as the hero of this parable? Would it be an illegal Mexican immigrant? A democrat? A Syrian? A hillbilly? A transexual?
God wants to tear down our prejudices. He wants us to start seeing people as people. In fact, He wants us to start seeing people as people capable of being the best neighbor in our time of need. So yes, this parable asks us to show mercy to those in need, but it also begs us to check our own prejudices. So, ask who your Samaritan is and turn that group into a neighbor instead today.