The last few Waypoints stories are based on parables — stories Jesus told when He was teaching. Among these, two stories are based on the same parable — commonly known as “The Good Samaritan.”
One of these manga brought the parable into a modern setting in an attempt to make it more relatable. The other one shows the original context, and attempts to show how Jesus’ audience would have reacted.
Jesus’ parables are rich in meaning. But the problem for modern readers is that we’re so far removed from the original context in which these stories were told that we miss some of the nuance and impact they had. We hope our adaptations help bring these parables to life for the reader, each in different ways.
One thing modern Bible readers may not see is that the parable of the Good Samaritan would have been absolutely shocking to Jesus’ original audience. He spoke to a Jewish audience, but used a surprising hero — a Samaritan — as a good example to follow.
It’s hard to imagine what the modern equivalent would be. In “Who is my neighbor?” set in modern-day Japan, we made the Good Samaritan a homeless woman — an unexpected hero, to say the least. She’s the kind of person that passers-by ignore. She’s someone society doesn’t expect much of, who is looked down on and rejected.
But the hero in Jesus’ parable was even more unexpected, because Samaritans were considered more than outsiders — they were enemies. And as we explored in a previous blog post, the hostility between Samaritans and Jews was serious, and went back centuries.
By making the hero a Samaritan, Jesus showed a radical example of “neighborliness” that extends far beyond our own prejudices, cultures or comfort zones.
Just like in ancient times, we modern people, too, let our differences come between us. We like to stick with those who are most like us, caring for the needs of our inner circle while ignoring the needs of those on the outside.
But what if we all considered strangers, outsiders, even our would-be enemies to be our neighbors?
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we had more Good Samaritans among us?
“Which one of these three do you think was a neighbor
to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
“Go and do likewise.”