Updated: Jun 27
In Luke chapter 10, Yeshua makes His famous declaration that the two greatest commandments are to love the Lord with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. Then He tells the story of the Good Samaritan to highlight how to love or not to love your neighbor.
How to miss loving your neighbor is to have such a sense of self-focus and importance, that you don’t have the time to stop for an individual who is suffering right next to you. This can happen even if you are in the "ministry." And this includes all kinds of "discriminatory" attitudes that anyone can use to make excuses for not caring for others. The example of that principle is the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37).
The illustration of how to miss loving the Lord comes next, in Luke 10:38. The way to miss loving the Lord, is to be so busy with serving Him that you get worried and troubled, and thus miss the simplicity of your loving relationship with Him. An example of that principle is the story of Martha and Miriam (Mary). All three – the description of the two greatest commandments, the good Samaritan, and Mary-Martha – are found in the same chapter, Luke 10. They are in the same chapter for a purpose, because they are all teaching on the same theme.
Samaritans were the descendants of inter-marriage between Israelites and Assyrians (II Kings 18). They were considered second-class citizens by the Israeli Jews. The hatred and tensions went in both directions, from Jews to Samaritans, and vice-versa. This was very much parallel to the situation between Jews and some Arabs in the Land today (and in most situations of ethnic hatred/tension around the world).
Ironically, the region of Samaria is located in today's "West Bank" – and is now inhabited largely by Palestinian Muslim Arabs. We Messianic Jews in Israel should make sure we care about the Palestinians as human beings, despite the violent and harsh political conflict between us.
We Israelis and Palestinians have an opportunity to live according to the moral of the story of the Good Samaritan. Or not.
Are you your brother's keeper?
The word for Samaria in Hebrew is shom’ron שומרון. The root is shomer שומר from which we have words like “keeper, watchmen, guard.” A Samaritan is a shom’roni. A “keeper” is a shomer.
This is the word that Cain (Kayin) used when he said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). He said, “Am I my brother’s shomer?” השומר אחי אנוכי
I am convinced that Yeshua had this linguistic comparison in mind when He told the story of the good shom’roni - and that His local Hebrew-speaking audience also understood the comparison.
The two stories need to be put together to get the “point”. Cain refused to be his brother’s shomer, whereas the good shom’ronichose to be his brother’s shomer. Cain and the Good Samaritan are the anti-thesis of one another. Yeshua challenges us to choose which one we will be like.
The word shomer also means “watchman” and is used in Isaiah 62:6 – “I have appointed watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem, all the day and all the night.”
עַל־חֹומֹתַיִךְ יְרוּשָׁלַ͏ִם הִפְקַדְתִּי שֹׁמְרִים כָּל־הַיֹּום וְכָל־הַלַּיְלָה
My friends at “Watchmen for the Nations” with David Demian have chosen the name of the ministry from this verse. They, like many dear saints, have chosen to be a good "shomer."
Let’s all choose to be good Samaritans, to proactively be our brother’s keeper, and to be watchmen on the wall. It’s all one and the same.