The Parable of the Good Syrian

Credits: © Nikolay Doychinov/AFP/Getty Images

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

“What is written in the Bible?” 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 neighbor 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 neighbor?”

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Turkey to Iraq, when he was attacked by terrorists. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A Catholic priest happened to be going down the same road, when he saw the man, he passed by on the the other side. So too, an American Evangelical, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Syrian, as he traveled, came to where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and dressed his wounds, applying medicine and bandages. Then he put the man in his own car, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out some money and gave it to the manger of the hotel. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of terrorists?”

The devout Christian replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”