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Beyond Silver Coins III – The Parable of the Good Samaritan Luke 10

October 4, 2006

Let me tell you one thing about innkeepers. They were crooks. Everybody knew it. No better than Samaritans, even though they were Jewish. Like shepherds who were unclean, like tax-collectors who were thieves, innkeepers were rogues. No doubt when Jesus introduced this character into the story the people laughed.

How gullible could a man be, this stupid Samaritan? Now we have proof that good-living people are naïve. Giving money to an innkeeper in advance of service. We all know what he’ll do with the money and with the poor unfortunate who is injured. Money into pocket, victim onto the street.

Now two silver coins represents a considerable amount of care. It appears that this man wasn’t going to get better any time soon The Samaritan is expecting the innkeeper to look after him for several weeks on the back of payment. But he may not be back in those weeks and so he asks the innkeeper to look after him on the basis of a promise. ‘When I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have’ (:35).

Three things:
1.    there will be some cost to the innkeeper, some sacrifice (extra expense)
2.    this will be repaid (I will reimburse)
3.    the Samaritan is coming back (when I return)

Now there is a dilemma facing the innkeeper, one that the crowd has probably already resolved for him. The dilemma is this:

"will he act in such a way as to merit reimbursement?’

He has three choices:
1.    THE ROGUE: he will confirm the stereotype, steal the money, eject the victim, and perhaps even lie to the Samaritan when he returns and get more money.
2.    THE LEGALIST: he will care for him for those few weeks. After that his obligations are completed. He has fulfilled the law and with a clear conscience he can put the man out on the street. After all, who would trust the word of a Samaritan?
3.    THE MERCIFUL: he will care beyond the two silver coins. Trusting the promise of the Samaritan that he will return and reimburse.

The genius of this story is that we just don’t know how he will react. There is always the possibility that the innkeeper will surprise us. But it’s his choice.

From → Parables

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