Love thy neighbor? This parable is not understood by most “Christians,” whether Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical or Mormon. Few today understand what “neighbor” meant in the parable of the Good Samaritan, because few understand who the Samaritans were.
When Jesus was asked by a lawyer of the Law of Moses “What shall I do to inherit ETERNAL LIFE?”
Jesus asked the lawyer what is the “greatest commandment” in the Law, and the Jewish lawyer quoted from the Old Testament law to love god [Deut 6:5] and LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF [Lev 19:18], as reported in the parable of the Good Samaritan, recounted in Luke 10:25-37.
Jesus answers that the lawyer is correct and says, “This do, and thou shalt live.”
When the lawyer asked, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered with a story, a parable:, the parable of the Good Samaritan, which was used to define “neighbor” very broadly, to include enemies.
The Samaritan (the hated enemy) is the one who exemplifies this broad definition, and who provides the example of one who is saved by their compassionate actions toward their enemy.
The Samaritan is not even a believer, not one having “faith” — he has not accepted Jesus as his savior or even the Jewish faith — yet this is who Jesus chooses as the example of one who gains the eternal life the lawyer asked about.
If Jesus were addressing Jews in Jerusalem of today, it would be the “Good Palestinian”; if Jesus were addressing the segregated South of the 1950’s, it would be the “Good African American.”