The parable of the good Samaritan, can be also read as an interesting example of the pedagogy of Jesus. A lawyer poses a question to Jesus, which was responded too by the same person. Following the two commandments are necessary for entering the kingdom of God. He doesn’t have any confusion (or at least doesn’t show) regarding the love of God. He has some doubts about this word, “neighbours”. Or bible says, he wants to justify himself. Anyways a question is posed to Jesus, who is my neighbour?
Just imagine a youngster asking a similar question to a priest/pastor/elder of the church or the society? Compare their responses to that of Jesus. Technically Jesus never responds to the lawyer. He narrates a parable, and at the end of the parable asks another question to the lawyer, which is not exactly the same as that of the lawyer. Jesus asks, which of them do you think was a neighbour to the injured man?
When the lawyer wanted to know who is his neighbour, Jesus is helping him reach another answer — who was the neighbour to the injured man? When the original question was about my salvation (entering the kingdom of God), the final response is more about being neighbour to the other — after listening to his cry, and helping him.
Two interesting takeaways are…
1. The great teacher Jesus doesn’t answer the questions directly; but invited the other to make an informed response. Jesus doesn’t think for the other. He respects the freedom of the other.
2. Probably Christianity is more about hospitality than about one’s salvation. The good Samaritan who became a neighbour, who might enter the kingdom of God, was not thinking of his salvation while he was helping the injured man. He just wanted to help the other. Salvation is intimately connected to listening to the cries around us.