Yesterday, we talked about lepers, the first of four kinds of “untouchables” whom Jesus willingly touched. Today, I want to look at the second set of outcasts He welcomed to His midst, and those were Samaritans. Many of us who grew up studying the Bible, especially the story of the Good Samaritan, know that this particular group of people was hated by the Jews, but we may not understand why. The reason they were especially despised by the Hebrew people is because they were considered “half breeds.” They held certain Jewish traditions, but they had their own Torah and their own synagogue. In essence, they believed that their religion was the “true” form of Judaism — the one that predated the Babalyonian exile. This didn’t sit well with the Jews, who were certain that theirs was the right and God-honoring faith, so the two groups were constantly fighting. In fact, if you went into Samaria as a Jew, there’s a good chance you’d be robbed or even murdered, and vice-versa. How utterly shocking, then, that Jesus not only associated with such outcasts, but that He spoke to and ate with them. Yet by welcoming them to the table of His heart, He made it clear that they, too, were part of His family. Though this was unheard of at the time, it proved how boundlessly radical our Lord’s mercy for and acceptance of others was then…and still is today.
My friend, there’s no such thing as a foreigner, outsider, or alien in the Kingdom of God, for all are welcome. Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord is equalized by the cross and adopted by grace into His household. There is none greater or less, for He invites each one to sit at His table, and He asks you as His follower to do the same. By opening your heart and extending your hand to those who are different, even the ones you’ve been taught to disdain, you exemplify your Savior and take His love to your brothers and sisters in a powerful, chain-breaking, and generation-shaping way!