A Story From The Bible…

Luke 10.29-37 accurately translated from the original Greek


…And so Jesus told them a story to explain what he meant:

“There was,” he said, “a young man called Jerry Cohen who was making his way across the city late at night when he was set upon by some yobs. They kicked him to the ground, stole his wallet and phone and left him for dead. He lay in the doorway of a shop, blood seeping from the deep cut to the back of his head and pooling into the shadowed corner. With his teeth broken and ribs cracked, Jerry slipped into unconsciousness.

By chance, a group of people from a local church were out that night witnessing to the young people partying in the bars and pubs of the district and for whom, let’s be honest, this was an unwelcome intrusion. Some of these well-meaning church-folk noticed Jerry lying in the doorway as his life ebbed away, but as they couldn’t see all the blood they simply assumed he had passed out from an excess of alcohol. They decided to leave him where he was to sober up. ‘Let’s give him the Good News to read when he does,’ said one, tucking a tract called Salvation through the Redemptive Power of the Cross into his top pocket. 

Minutes later, an evangelist happened to pass Jerry, still curled foetally on the floor, and noticed that the premises next to where he was seemed to be one of dubious repute. Its lights blazed even at this late hour and there were over-sized, suggestive pictures of athletic-looking young men in the windows. He didn’t want to look too closely because he didn’t want the taint of sin to cling to him but it seemed obvious that if the shop was what he thought it was, then the boy next to it could only be a homosexualist, hell bent on foisting his perverted lifestyle on everyone and destroying traditional marriage in the process. And so he walked swiftly on, quietly quoting Romans 1.27 to himself: Men commit shameful acts with other men, and receive in themselves the due penalty for their error. ‘If ever there was a sign that the end times have arrived,’ he thought to himself, ‘it’s the likes of that degenerate individual over there.’ As he crossed the road, he failed to see another young man approaching in the opposite direction.

Sam Harrington wasn’t a homosexualist either – because really there’s no such thing – but he was a homosexual. He’d had been working late and was eager to get home so he too was taking a short cut through the centre of the town. He spotted Jerry in the doorway and before he could even think what he was doing, he had pulled his phone out of his pocket and had dialled the emergency number. While he waited for the ambulance to arrive, he cradled Jerry’s head in his lap, holding closed the gash to stop further blood loss and helping it start to heal. When the ambulance arrived, Sam went with Jerry to the hospital where he sat anxiously in Accident and Emergency for  two hours, waiting to hear how he was. When, finally, a nurse came to tell him that now the young man’s jaw had been wired together and his head stitched there was every chance he would pull through, Sam wept unashamedly.

With the last bus long gone, he began his long walk home. He didn’t have enough money for a cab and he didn’t like ringing his partner in the early hours of the morning to ask for a lift.”

“So tell me,” Jesus said finally, “which of the three, do you think, was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of the yobs? Who showed him real love?”

His followers looked around blankly at each other, for surely this was a question that was impossible to answer.    

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