The Good Samaritan.
May 3rd, 2002
Received by H.
My dear brother:
After my bombardment with historical messages, which surely will not seem interesting to many, but which are also necessary for a better understanding of what Jesus did and said, we will focus on the parable of the “Good Samaritan.”
First, I want you to write down what the Gospel according to Luke tells us, the only gospel wherein this episode is described.
Once one of the experts in the Law stood up to test him and said, “Master, what must I do to be sure of eternal life?”
“What does the Law say and what has your reading taught you?” said Jesus.
“The Law says, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind — and thy neighbor as thyself’,” he replied.
“Quite right,” said Jesus. “Do that and you will live.”
But the man, wanting to justify himself, continued, “But who is my ‘neighbor’?”
And Jesus gave him the following reply:
“A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho. He fell into the hands of bandits who stripped off his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead.
It so happened that a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
A Levite also came on the scene and when he saw him, he too passed by on the other side.
But then a Samaritan traveler came along to the place where the man was lying, and at the sight of him he was touched with pity. He went across to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put him on his own mule, brought him to an inn and did what he could for him.
Next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the inn-keeper with the words, ‘Look after him, will you? I will pay you back whatever more you spend, when I come through here on my return.’
Which of these three seems to you to have been a neighbor to the bandits’ victim?”
“The man who gave him practical sympathy,” he replied.
“Then you go and give the same,” returned Jesus.
Very well, this is the story, perhaps the most famous parable from the whole Bible, and so many people consider it the parable which is easiest to interpret.
You know that the interpretation that is given to things depends on people’s perspicacity. It depends on the development of their mind and soul. Therefore, many things that seem superficial and easy at first glance, may be very deep, transmitting wisdom on multiple levels. Do you remember that I once spoke of the bee that can distinguish “colors” and wonderful ornaments on petals, which for men only seem to be white? So it is with soul perceptions. The quick and easy answer often hardly scratches the surface of a really deep treasure.
I want to analyze with you how this parable is related and interpreted in the Urantia Book. Write the text here, and I will insert my observations. Let’s go!
The Urantia Book:
That evening a considerable company gathered about Jesus and the two apostles to ask questions, many of which the apostles answered, while others the Master discussed. In the course of the evening a certain lawyer, seeking to entangle Jesus in a compromising disputation, said: “Teacher, I would like to ask you just what I should do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered, “What is written in the law and the prophets; how do you read the Scriptures?”
The lawyer, knowing the teachings of both Jesus and the Pharisees, answered: “To love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Then said Jesus: “You have answered right; this, if you really do, will lead to life everlasting.”
“Knowing the teachings of both Jesus and the Pharisees”, of course, because the lawyer was a Pharisee. And the answer he gave even shows us to what faction of this sect he belonged. What he recited was exactly what Hillel of Babylon had proclaimed: “To love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and your neighbor as yourself.” That was the whole Torah (the Law), he had taught, all the rest was just comment.
The Urantia Book:
But the lawyer was not wholly sincere in asking this question, and desiring to justify himself while also hoping to embarrass Jesus, he ventured to ask still another question. Drawing a little closer to the Master, he said, “But, Teacher, I should like you to tell me just who is my neighbor?” The lawyer asked this question hoping to entrap Jesus into making some statement that would contravene the Jewish law which defined one’s neighbor as “the children of one’s people.” The Jews looked upon all others as “gentile dogs.” This lawyer was somewhat familiar with Jesus’ teachings and therefore well knew that the Master thought differently; thus he hoped to lead him into saying something which could be construed as an attack upon the sacred law.
Sure. In the Old Testament you can read in many instances, how the Law specified a different treatment between Jews and Gentiles. What was not legal to do to a Jew could be legal to do to a heathen.
The Urantia Book:
But Jesus discerned the lawyer’s motive, and instead of falling into the trap, he proceeded to tell his hearers a story, a story which would be fully appreciated by any Jericho audience.
Said Jesus: “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell into the hands of cruel brigands, who robbed him, stripped him and beat him, and departing, left him half dead. Very soon, by chance, a certain priest was going down that way, and when he came upon the wounded man, seeing his sorry plight, he passed by on the other side of the road. And in like manner a Levite also, when he came along and saw the man, passed by on the other side. Now, about this time, a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed down to Jericho, came across this wounded man; and when he saw how he had been robbed and beaten, he was moved with compassion, and going over to him, he bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine, and setting the man upon his own beast, brought him here to the inn and took care of him. And on the morrow he took out some money and, giving it to the host, said: ‘Take good care of my friend, and if the expense is more, when I come back again, I will repay you.’ Now let me ask you: “Which of these three turned out to be the neighbor of him who fell among the robbers?”
And when the lawyer perceived that he had fallen into his own snare, he answered, “He who showed mercy on him.” And Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”
The lawyer answered, “He who showed mercy,” that he might refrain from even speaking that odious word, Samaritan. The lawyer was forced to give the very answer to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” which Jesus wished given, and which, if Jesus had so stated, would have directly involved him in the charge of heresy. Jesus not only confounded the dishonest lawyer, but he told his hearers a story which was at the same time a beautiful admonition to all his followers and a stunning rebuke to all Jews regarding their attitude toward the Samaritans. And this story has continued to promote brotherly love among all who have subsequently believed the gospel of Jesus.
It was not heresy to refer to a Samaritan as “one’s neighbor.” But logically, considering the opinion of Jews of Samaritans, this statement was very provocative, even scandalous. And it was the Pharisee who had to pronounce it, because of Jesus’ excellent handling of the question.
So, my dear brother, the Urantia Book gives us exactly the same interpretation that we may read in so many comments. The base for this interpretation is the lawyer’s original question: Who is our neighbor? And the answer, of course, is: Everybody is our neighbor, Jew, Gentile, and even Samaritan.
In the example of the parable of the mustard seed I have already explained how Jesus formulated his parables in a very provocative way, in order to get the attention of his listeners, and to lead them to think and meditate. The same thing happens here, because for the Jews there was no “good Samaritan.” Everybody expected, after the scene of the priest and Levite, that an ordinary Jew would enter into the action. But no, it was a Samaritan, the provocation of provocations.
I call the explanation which is given us in the Urantia Book and by so many preachers, an explanation on the first level. It is the obvious thing, the surface. But now, my dear friend, we will deepen more. We will go beyond the common comments, and we will shed new light on more hidden aspects of this story.
The story is actually much more provocative. Why does Jesus relate that a priest and a Levite passed by the place of the assault without helping? Why did that spiritual apathy and inactivity of both supposed men of God not cause the rejection of the listeners? Because the priest and the Levite had acted well, interpreting the Mosaic Law in their manner. Both the priest and the Levite had to offer their services in the Temple, and they could only do so when they were in their “pure state,” ritually clean. However, to become involved with a severely wounded man, in danger of death, would put at risk their ritual purity. They could no longer fulfill their functions in the Temple, because the Law prohibited it. Therefore, they acted with prudence and left the poor man lying in his misery. Additionally, the moribund poor Jew had suffered this misfortune because of what the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter 28, states: for his sins, he was suffering.
Therefore, my dear friend, you will understand that, what Jesus tried to explain, besides the obvious thing, was that if there were laws that conflicted with each other, a hierarchy of laws should exist, and it is essential to obey the higher law. The highest law, and Jesus never got tired of preaching this, is the Law of Love. How could a rite, a ceremony, any obligation, even if it seems sacred and extremely important, eclipse love? The loving deed is exactly that light, which we put on high, so that the world may see it. Therefore, Jesus preached in this parable exactly what he also preached when explaining that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Love as the supreme manifestation of God’s Will must never be put aside by any other law.
The lawyer understood this very well. Jesus had attacked the Pharisees’ formalisms and technicalities frontally. Nowadays, we would say that it is not about praying mechanically, fulfilling an obligation, but of activating our love, because when doing so, we are praying from the depth of our soul, without words, but through our desires and with all honesty. It is not about making three or five genuflexions, it is not about covering or uncovering one’s head when attending a religious service, it is not about eating pork or abstaining from it, it is not about considering Saturday or Sunday the Day of the Lord, it is not about going to confess oneself or not doing it. It is about righteousness and the true desire to fulfill the Will of God. And His Will is that love may reign supreme, because He is Love. When people think that they may come closer to God through formalisms, they are badly wrong.
When infringing the supreme Law of Love, they exposed their false sanctity; they demonstrated that the foundation for their righteousness was sand and not solid rock. And although this tore apart the Pharisee lawyer’s chest, he had to admit it.
God’s Will is written in Love, and not in letters of law.
Do you find this really clear? Do you really not remember a story you read some time ago? I will recall it to your memory.
One day, a theology professor instructed his students to prepare a concise speech on the parable of the “Good Samaritan.” Then he sent them to deliver this speech in the different classrooms of the school. He allowed more time to some, he gave very little time to others, and so they had to deliver their speech at full speed and hurry immediately to the following classroom.
On their way, they passed by a miserable beggar. Few paid attention to him, and those who were in a greater hurry never paid him any attention. However, the beggar was indeed the touchstone that the professor had put in their way. Although all students had the parable in their minds, fresh and vividly, they forgot the practical application of their interpretation, to help their neighbor, because a law, the professor’s order to finish their work by a certain hour, weighed on them and was more important to them than a practical demonstration of their love. They behaved exactly as the priest and the Levite did in the story.
Don’t you believe that this mentality continues? And sadly, people do not realize it. Yes, people’s awareness moves on different levels, and unless their level of understanding rises higher, they will never realize their faults.
I will call this interpretation of the parable the explanation on the second level. It is the less obvious thing, where you may already see some of its depth.
There is yet another explanation for the parable, not an obvious explanation, even hidden, which none of the listeners came to at that time. However, Jesus understood this level of interpretation very well.
Why did the Samaritan help the wounded Jew? You understand implicitly, of course, that the assaulted and badly wounded poor fellow was a Jew. He helped him, simply because he only saw a human being who needed help, and desperately.
The Pharisee instantly thought: “There is no good Samaritan!” And he was right. For him, there was no good Samaritan, and he would never find any. Do you know why? I will explain this to you.
You always boasted of your good intuitive knowledge of people, that is to say, when you see someone for the first time, you already know, or you believe you know, how that person will act towards you. Your expectations usually come true.
Of course, this is correct. Because at the bottom, this is the problem that the psychoanalysts call “the other one.” M___ already tried to explain it to you. Your expectations come true, because “the other one” actually does not exist. Of course, the person does exist, but their acting is nothing other than the reflection of your expectations. What you anticipate materializes in them. Therefore, the Pharisee can never find a good Samaritan.
Yes, I know, you wonder how Jesus, on the other hand, could suffer such abuse that he was subjected to, if he only projected his love on other people. How is it that this love was not materialized?
Actually, the materialization of your expectations is only possible in “the other one,” when he already has the equivalent of it in his soul. If his love is sleeping deeply, buried under thick layers of sin and evil, your love for him can hardly materialize in the form of a reciprocal attitude.
However, in most cases, you will be successful, because most people only need this stimulus, this opening and warmth, in order to be able to mobilize the kindness that exists in them, and to respond correspondingly.
Have you thought why the Samaritan could travel on the road in the Jewish country, without having anything bad happening to him? Have you thought why the innkeeper, a Jew, of course, received him with open arms? Have you thought why “positive thinking” is so effective?
It is a universal law. Like any natural law, it is neutral in its operation. We are applying its positive or negative charge, depending on our way of acting. Negative performance is the cancer of human society, causing the corresponding negative reply in others.
You could also say that, if “the other one” does not exist in such an independent form, but is rather, to a large extent, the phantom of our expectations, then it is false to say “we and they,” as the only correct word is “we.” The distinction between us and them, Jews and Samaritans, Catholics and Protestants, etc., is nothing other than the expression or materialization of human lack of understanding on this vitally important topic. Nobody is an island unto themselves. Each and everyone lives in an interlaced system, where they act, and where others cause reactions in them, too.
The only way of breaking this potential cycle of evil, as it is existing right now and has always existed, in fact, is in giving a solid base to our actions, and the only possible base is that of LOVE. I write this word in uppercase, because even natural love is flexible and moldable, and it may easily change its polarity.
This is the lesson that we can learn from the Good Samaritan. This is the spiritual lesson, the third level. You may lose your bet, you may suffer disappointments, but in most cases, your loving attitude will be rewarded, even in this earthly life. This is what it means to be the “light of the world,” put on high, so that it may shine over the darkness of negativity, so that it may serve as a point of crystallization for a new and better world.
Man is not independent. He is prisoner in a vortex of emotions, and his mentality is tinted by the polarization of the atmosphere wherein he lives. If you don’t want to be dragged down by this vortex, but to serve as a fixed point, as a stable pillar in this world, you have to incorporate that which is stable and never changes: The Love that our Heavenly Father has for us.
Well, my brother, this has been a very long message, however, I hope it may have also been a productive one. Tomorrow, if you permit me to do so, I would like to deliver a last message, in the context of the Samaritans, and later I will focus on answering some questions that you have in mind.
May God always bless you.
Your brother in the spirit,
© Copyright is asserted in this message by Geoff Cutler 2013