The Parable of the Two Good Guys

*Below is an excellent modern day perspective on the “Parable of the Good Samaritan”.  With our divisions in Christianity, attitudes that create polemic environments, and complexity of narratives/interpretations we sometimes miss common sense and the whole spirit of the Gospel.  Hopefully this piece helps awaken you from within the rabbit hole.*

————————————————————————

A young man who knew his Bible, could cite chapter and verse, was sent by his pastor to question this new teacher in town, name of Jesus, to see if he was “sound”. “Jesus,” the lad was told to ask, “how do I get eternal life?”

“That looks like a Bible you’ve got there, young fella” Jesus said.

Waving the black book to which Jesus had pointed, the lad declared, “Yep, it’s the inspired and inerrant Word of God, infallible and perfect in every way.”

“Sorry?” Jesus said.

“It’s the inerrant Word of God,” the lad repeated.

“Let me see,” said Jesus.

The lad handed the Bible to Jesus, who took it, opened it, shook it, smelled it, then returned it to the youngster. “Who says it’s inerrant?” he asked.

“God says,” the youngster replied.

“Where does God say that?” asked Jesus.

“In the Bible,” the youngster replied.

“But that doesn’t answer the question,” Jesus said, “it begs the question. It’s circular reasoning to say that the Bible is inerrant because in the Bible God says that the Bible is inerrant. What you claim to be true you’re assuming rather than proving. Which is a logical fallacy, which is bad apologetics, which shames our faith.”

“You what?” said the lad, completely discombobulated. “Are you trying to trick me?”

“Of course not,” said Jesus. “It’s just that you’re brandishing that book like it’s an assault weapon rather than a surgeon’s scalpel, and I suspect that you read it rather unimaginatively, one-dimensionally, as if it were a cook book rather than a love story, and listen to it as if it were a collection of notes rather than a magnificent symphony. You search it for answers, but you don’t allow it to probe you with questions. You look for closure when you should pray for critique. God certainly speaks to us through the scriptures, but interpreting the Bible is rarely a simple matter, let alone an open-and-shut case. We should expect to be surprised and disturbed, to have our fixed views challenged – and our settled selves changed.”

But the young man had that impatient, I’m-not-listening-to-a-thing-you-say look on his face. “Just answer the question,” he demanded: “How do I get eternal life?”

“Ahem,” sighed Jesus (not “Amen”). “Let’s turn to the Bible then. What do you say it says?”

“It’s obvious,” replied the youngster (rather smugly, it must be said): “You must love the Lord with all your heart and soul, mind and strength, and you must love your neighbour as yourself. Leviticus 19:18 and Deuteronomy 6:5. End of.”

“Excellent. So all you need is love,” said Jesus, pretending to be impressed and persuaded. For he suspected that the lad had an agenda, that he would try to embarrass and expose Jesus as an unreliable teacher. And Jesus was right.

“Ah,” the lad said, “but who is this neighbour I must love?” Of course he knew the answer: according to Leviticus and Deuteronomy, the neighbour is my fellow believer. But rumour had it that Jesus was mixing with all sorts, pervs and quislings and folk of other faiths, so how would he answer the question?

But Jesus didn’t answer the question, or at least he didn’t give a straight answer. Instead he told a story. “One night a man was walking to town when he was attacked by some thugs. They beat him up, took his wallet and iPhone, then ran off, leaving him half-dead. A minister happened to be walking along the same road, but when he saw the man, he checked his watch and hurried past him. A priest followed a few minutes later (he and the minister had been at a conference on theological ethics). He also saw the man, left some change, but stepped around him. Then two strangers to the area, oddly dressed, came upon the man, and when they saw the state of him they were overwhelmed with pity and compassion. They held him in their arms, stopped the bleeding, called a cab, took him to a local public house, and stayed with him all night. The next morning, they gave the landlord £100. ‘Look after him,’ they said. ‘Call a chemist and get some bandages, Savlon, and Ibuprofen. We’ll be back in a few days and reimburse you for any extra expense.’ Now,” concluded Jesus, “who were the good guys?”

The youngster was nonplussed. “The ‘good guys’? What’s that got to do with getting eternal life?”

“I’ll get to that,” Jesus replied. “But first, answer my question.”

“Well, the minister and the priest – what denominations were they?”

“Who cares?” said Jesus.

“And were they born again?”

“Does it matter?” asked Jesus

“And those two other guys – are you sure they weren’t gay?”

“And if they were?” said Jesus.

“And why didn’t they call 999 for the cops and the paramedics?” the youngster continued his third degree. “Had they been drinking? Were they on drugs? They sound like foreigners. Were they migrants, even illegals?”

“What is this, a sketch from Life of Brian?” suggested Jesus.

“And the man who was mugged – where was he going, what was he doing? It all sounds very suspicious to me.”

“I …” began Jesus, quite flabbergasted.

“And …” interrupted the youngster.

“Look,” counter-interrupted Jesus, “Leviticus and Deuteronomy don’t have the last word on defining ‘neighbour’, and eternal life isn’t a matter of your church, theology, or religious experience, nor do you ‘get’ it, you live it, starting now, with simple human decency: being truthful and thoughtful, kind and generous, acting justly, practicing mercy – and not just to your own, to fellow citizens and co-religionists, but to anyone in need, especially strangers, whatever their ethnicity, faith, or sexuality. If they’re hurting, they’re your neighbour, and if you help them, you’re their neighbour. We are called to help even those who hate us, and one day you might find someone you hate helping you. Eternal life is another life, but it’s hidden in this life.”

“Well,” harrumphed the youngster, “I’ve heard enough. You’ve said nothing about getting saved. You’re clearly unsound.” But feeling sorry for Jesus, he added, “I’ll pray for you.” Then he handed Jesus a leaflet and started to walk away.

Suddenly, however, he stopped, as if struck by lightning. But the sky was blue, though a cottony cumulus cloud had just passed the sun, which winked, flashed, then glowed benignly, like a huge egg yolk, on the two people below. The young man turned around: “I’ll think about what you said.”
Jesus waved and picked up his fishing rod.

— Kim Fabricius

(Kim Fabricius is a man who settled on a farm in the south of England, where Love mugged him, hugged him, and finally bugged him into faith and ministry. He read theology at Mansfield College, Oxford (1979-81), and then became the pastor of Bethel United Reformed Church, Swansea and a chaplain at Swansea University (1982-2013).)

 

Advertisements

About The Smiling Pilgrim

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God." -- 1 John 4:7 A simple man exploring the mysteries of love - TSP
This entry was posted in Reference Pieces and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to The Parable of the Two Good Guys

  1. Pingback: The Parable of the Two Good Guys — The Smiling Pilgrim – wolf4915

  2. Makes you think.. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. sargondorsai says:

    An interesting story. Definitely gets you thinking, especially in this day where everyone has to be labeled so we know who we’re not supposed to like.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I was just teaching on this last night. Jesus instructed us to love him, love others (all others), then share that love. If that was the only thing we knew, that would be enough.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. cyberfizh says:

    An excellent retelling of the parable of the Good Samaritan summed up in the words, “If they’re hurting, they’re your neighbour, and if you help them, you’re their neighbour. We are called to help even those who hate us, and one day you might find someone you hate helping you. Eternal life is another life, but it’s hidden in this life.” Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Not a fictional Jesus…this is something historical Jesus would have said if he was present today.

    Enjoyed reading it!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. dgrownupkid says:

    Loved this post! Such a good take of channeling the parable. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. thejuicenut says:

    I love your perspective and enjoy reading your reinterpretations. This post is timely and should have a wide readership so I am going to repost it. Thank you 😊👏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  9. thejuicenut says:

    Reblogged this on pearsnotparsnipsdotcom and commented:
    I am of no religion, but this modern interpretation of the Parable of the Good Samaritan by The Smiling Pilgrim seems apt and timely and a good read, so I felt it deserved a wider readership

    Liked by 2 people

  10. wooddogs3 says:

    Lovely and apt.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. spearfruit says:

    Excellent! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. lil' gini says:

    Magnificent! Thank you so much for this post. I hope you don’t mind if I share it. ❤
    BIG LOVE lil' gini

    Liked by 2 people

  13. lil' gini says:

    Reblogged this on Today's Glimpse of Glory and commented:
    A Wonderfully Apt Blog Post from the Smiling Pilgrim. Very much worth the read.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Really enjoyed reading this wonderful story 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Karen says:

    Really enjoyed reading your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This was really fun to read! I really like how this adaption unfolded towards the end!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. galeweithers says:

    A great story with lots of food for thought. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I can not tell you how much I love this!

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Reblogged this on Art by Rob Goldstein and commented:
    Today’s homily is sharp and will make you smile!

    Like

  20. ronbrownx says:

    Great retelling of the Good Samaritan parable using modern terms and setting.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Reblogged this on Espiritu en Fuego/A Fiery Spirit and commented:
    The Good Samaritan. Who is my neighbor?

    Liked by 2 people

  22. This one is quite an interesting read. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Chibimoekko says:

    What a great retelling of the story~!

    I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger award. Please feel free to either accept or decline. Cheers to your blogging journey either way 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Love this story! Kindness is King! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Pingback: The Parable of the Two Good Guys — The Smiling Pilgrim – SoulXRae

  26. soulxray says:

    This is a great post, it really makes someone rethink their life 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s