I will admit that it can be challenging to hear this parable of Jesus and actually hear anything new. We have heard it so many times, of course, and more than that, there are so many overlays of interpretation and understanding — both cultural and otherwise — that it can be difficult to uncover Jesus’ true intent here.
Trying to hear this familiar parable in new ways this week, I spent some time with Amy-Jill Levine’s interpretation in her book, Short Stories by Jesus. I would recommend her treatment of the parable especially for her take on the ways in which for thousands of years it has suffered from inaccurate understandings which are rooted in antisemitism. Even more than that, she brings to it a point of view which perhaps only one deeply seeped in Jewish scholarship can bring. If nothing else, reading her perspective will surely slow you down enough that a new angle on this familiar parable might just emerge.
In the end, though, I Dr. Levine puts forth an understanding of the parable which I have always carried. To be a neighbor is to show mercy. It is to act in love, not only to feel compassion for the suffering of another. And in the explosive-for-the-time example Jesus offers, this way of being comes alive through t..<!–more–>
Source: Dancing with the Word