Luke 10:25–30, 36–37.
What is the most uncomfortable question you’ve ever been asked? I doubt the expert in the law, a theologian, at the centre of this exchange with Jesus enjoyed being asked: ‘Which of the three was a neighbour to the man?’ It’s the theologian who starts the conversation by asking Jesus a question in order to test him. In response, Jesus asks a question of his own.
It’s easy to imagine ourselves as one of the characters in the parable, but perhaps Luke’s account actually challenges us to cast ourselves in the role of the theologian who is focused on testing Jesus, and justifying himself. Perhaps we’re supposed to feel the theologian’s discomfort in responding to Jesus’ question?
Because Jesus demands that we recognise that even those who are hated and feared are to be seen as neighbours. Jesus’ way is often seen, not in those who think that they have the ‘correct’ theology, but in people and places we don’t expect. In such situations, the challenge of Jesus is to see what’s really going on and ‘Go and do likewise’.