Jesus and the Samaritans

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introduction

Today at Mass it was time for the reading of Luke 10:25-37 about the good Samaritan.  it is a opportunity to learn more about the Levites and Samaritans.

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Luke 10:25-37 with comments

Luke 10:25-37.

“And now a lawyer stood up and, to test him, asked, ‘Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 26 He said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? What is your reading of it?’ 27 He replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.’ 28 Jesus said to him, ‘You have answered right, do this and life is yours.’ 29 But the man was anxious to justify himself and said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbour?’ 30 In answer Jesus said, ‘A man was once on his way down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of bandits; they stripped him, beat him and then made off, leaving him half dead.”

Being attacked by bandits  is something that happened frequently at the time of jesus, when traveling to Jerusalem. For this reason it was safer to follow caravans or travel together in bigger groups. So jesus used a example that was a well known reality for the lawyer.

Jesus and his family may themself  have experienced bandits on their way to Jerusalem.

31 Now a priest happened to be travelling down the same road, but when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 In the same way a Levite who came to the place saw him, and passed by on the other side.

 

33 But a Samaritan traveller who came on him was moved with compassion when he saw him.

34 He went up to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. He then lifted him onto his own mount and took him to an inn and looked after him.

35 Next day, he took out two denarii and handed them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Look after him, and on my way back I willmake good any extra expense you have.’

36 Which of these three, do you think, proved himself a neighbour to the man who fell into the bandits’ hands?’

37 He replied, ‘The one who showed pity towards him.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go, and do the same yourself.’

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  • Jesus was not a  Levite

The Levites were one of the 12 tribes of Israel. Today there are still a few hundred Levites living on the West Bank

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Samaritans 

Despite being discriminated by the Jews, Jesus had according to me  a good relation with Samaritans and the Samaritans looked at him as the “Saviour of the World” without the need of Jesus making miracles. 

Marc, Matthew and Luke choosed for some reason to tell only about  how the Samaritan rejected Jesus hospitality once on their way to Jerusalem. 

In  John 4,3-39 , we are given  a completely different picture

the story starts with the encounter of Jesus with the woman at the well

39 Many Samaritans of that town (ed. Sychar) believed in him on the strength of the woman’s words (ed the Samaritan woman Jesus met and talked with at the well outside Sychar) of testimony, 

40 So, when the Samaritans came up to him, they begged him to stay with them. He stayed for two days, and 41 many more came to believe on the strength of the words he spoke to them; 42 and they said to the woman, ‘Now we believe no longer because of what you told us; we have heard him ourselves and we know that he is indeed the Saviour of the world.’

If you know about this encounter, you may read Matthew 10:5-6 differently:

5 ‘Do not make your way to gentile territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town6 go instead to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.”

The Jews’ view about the Samaritans.

the Jews hated the Samaritans as “dogs,” or “half-breeds.” according to housetohouse.com probably  because the Samaritans intermarried with the Assyrian invaders (ed.  in fact they loved their enemies as Jesus teached) and they stopped traveling to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice and worship helping to rebuild Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity.

read more in  www.israelite-samaritans.com and in housetohouse.com.

the Samaritan story is to be seen in the ligth of  Jesus statemen in( Matthew 20,16 ) ‘ “the first shall be last, the last shall  be first”

jesus did not agree with the Samaritans about Mount Gerizim that was and still is sacred for the Samaritans. John 4,20-26  tells what the Samaritan  woman  at the well said and how Jesus answered:

20 ‘Our fathers worshipped on this mountain (ed. she must refer to the nearby Mount Geerizim), though you say that Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.’ 21 Jesus said: Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know; for salvation comes from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming — indeed is already here — when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth: that is the kind of worshipper the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth. 25 The woman said to him, ‘I know that Messiah — that is, Christ — is coming; and when he comes he will explain everything.’ 26 Jesus said, ‘That is who I am, I who speak to you.’

28 The woman put down her water jar and hurried back to the town to tell the people, 29 ‘Come and see a man who has told me everything I have done; could this be the Christ?’ 30 This brought people out of the town and they made their way towards him.”

You may read about Samaria and its history in www.catholic.org/encyclopedia/view.php?id=10403

There is also a intresting article to preview in 
www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/43712286.pdf?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

Jesus must showed how to be respectful to the Samaritans. So…

“The apostles recognized that in the Church Samaritans must be accepted as equal to Jews. Peter and John conducted a special mission to Samaria to confirm Samaritans who had already been baptized by Philip (Acts 8:14-17). This initiation of the Samaritans was a middle stage between the preaching of the gospel to the Jews (Acts 2) and the preaching of the gospel to full-blooded Gentiles (Acts 10).” ( Source: www.catholic.com )

the relation between jews and Samaritans today

I tried to get an answer from a Jew on https://jewsforjesus.org/ but he made hsi best  to not answer. 
I tried again and wrote “jeff could not or did not want to answer my question about the Samaritan-Jew relation today. Can you find someone who can talk about it. i am writing about it on my page at http://www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/2019/07/14/jesus-and-the-samaritans/#samaritans
This time got a advice that led me to this article
jewsforjesus.org/newsletter-aug-1987/newsletter-aug-1987/newsletter-aug-1987/the-bad-samaritan/

 

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Conclusions

As said above I tried to know about the Samaritan-Jew relation today in jewsforjesus.org  disqus but got no clear answer. I like their interreligious (Christian-Judaism) approach but to get in peach with e.g. Christians you have to look for peace also with the Samaritans of today as the Samaritans were the last at Jesus time  and Jesus said that the last (in Society like the Samaritans at Jesus time) will be first in Heaven.  This post let me to  write a post about Judaism and Christian theology. You find it in in www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/2019/08/07/judaism-and-christian-theology/