The Good People Smuggler

This year I've been leading a Bible study on Luke's gospel and tonight the question was raised; what would the content of Jesus' parables be today? I was intrigued by this, particularly in relation to the well-known parable of The Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). The power of this story has been lost over time because we've become sanitised to its shock value. This is particularly in relation to "who is the hero?" A Samaritan would have been the least expected person to demonstrate love to his neighbour, at least as far as the expert in the law would have been concerned. So, I've had a go at retelling this story for today. I'd be interested to know your thoughts.

On one occasion a Christian leader stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"

He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbour as yourself.'"

"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbour?"

In reply Jesus said: "A man was living in a certain country when war broke out. His home was destroyed, his possessions stolen, his workplace bombed and the man himself was left physically and emotionally distraught. Fearing for his life he fled his home country and found himself desperate and alone in a foreign land. An aid worker happened upon this man, but he was on his way to a meeting to discuss ways to distribute government funding, and so he passed by on the other side. So too, a government official on his way to the same meeting, saw this man and walked on by. But a people smuggler came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, applying antiseptic and healing creams. He put the man on his boat and transported him to another country where he would be safe. He funded the man's journey, as well as his accommodation at the other end and said to those he'd charged with the mans care that no expense should be spared. "I'll reimburse any out of pocket expenses you may have in caring for this man."

"Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who was forced to flee his home country?"

The Christian leader replied, "The one who had mercy on him."

Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise." 


  1. I think this works... I think terrorist also works and to my mind is closer to the semantic meaning of samaritan to the original audience. I wonder of you could have a religious leader who feared for his (her?) government funding as one of the passers by.... but a really effective piece


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