Both pieces – one the story of how Jesus chose to send his followers out to minister and the other a parable to convey the truth that everyone is our neighbor – underscore just how serious the treatment of the most vulnerable is to Jesus. It is the hope of better treatment for them that is at the heart of his good news. Without it, there is no kingdom of God.
Dehumanizing groups of people has always been a part of human history, and if anything, it is stronger than ever today. When the most powerful person on earth has spoken repeatedly of groups of people as “drug dealers, criminals, and rapists,” due only to their nationality, saying “these aren’t people. These are animals” about anyone (even gang members), and professing entire groups of people as “the enemy of the people” simply because they report things he doesn’t like (even if provably true), we need to reevaluate.
Whether you adhere to a Christian faith and care about the question of eternal life or just want to have a positive life here on earth, heed the words of Jesus in this story. He asks what is written in the law: love God and love your neighbor. He then makes explicitly clear that everyone is your neighbor, regardless of any differences you may have. Now that it’s clear who is your neighbor, he gives us one final command: go and do it.