The story of the Good Samaritan seemed so radical when it was given, but the reality is that it was Jesus’ teaching right out of the OT. In the parable, the priest and the Levite both saw the man and walked by, leaving their brother to die.
For them, there would have been a concern about ritual purity, but what about mercy? In Exodus 23:5, the Lord said:
“If you see the donkey of someone who hates you lying helpless under its load, and you want to refrain from helping it, you must help with it.” — Ex. 23:5 CSB
If this is the case of a donkey, which is just an animal, then how much more would God call us to help out our brother who is lying hurt on the side of the road?
In Exodus 23, the Lord presents them with expectations with honesty, justice, and mercy. We will see these throughout both the Old and New Testaments.
For us today, we need to understand that as much as we are to seek purity and holiness, we also need to seek for mercy and justice. And this isn’t just for those like us. This isn’t just for our family and relatives. This is for those who would be considered foreigners and aliens in our land. And this is for those who would be considered our enemies.
This is what should separate us as followers of Jesus.