Now before you go looking all weird at me, let me make my point. He had been attacked by robbers who beat him up and left him near dead and who then stole all his clothes. This means that there was no way for those who passed by him on the road; the priest, the Levite, or the Samaritan to have any idea who he was, what ethnic group he was part of, or what economic class he came from. He couldn't even talk so his accent or language couldn't give him away. He was simply a man in need. Apparently, to Jesus, that's all we need to know when Jesus tells us to "go and do likewise."
Three additional quick 'bullet points':
- How much does this man remind you of Jesus' saying, "I was hungry and you feed me, naked and you clothed me, homeless and you took me in......as you did to the least of these, you did it to me"?
- Tie that awareness to the fact that Jesus would, not to distant from the telling of this parable, be stripped, beaten, and left to die on a cross on the side of the road. The meaning of this man in the parable takes on great importance.
- Finally, it may be worth noticing that while the wine and oil that the Samaritan used on the stranger's wounds was part of a 1st century 'first aid kit', they are also elements of the daily temple sacrifice. Jesus telling about them is, I think, another way of pointing out that regardless of what our gifts and sacrifices are in church, unless they are repeated in our daily lives as we come across the wounded and hurting, they will mean nothing.
Hope to see you Sunday.