Samaritans and Tax Collectors

by Sean Finnegan on August 17, 2008
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Some Samaritan Beliefs
- Bible consisted only of the first five books (Torah)
- Strictly observant to the Law of Moses
- Mt. Gerizim as place of worship
- Belief in coming Taheb, restorer, a prophet like Moses

Bad Reputation of Samaritans in Jesus' Day
- When Jesus' opponents were looking for a vicious name to call Jesus they said, "Do we not say rightly that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?" (Jn 8.48)
- The Samaritans rejected the disciples who came to one of their villages to make arrangement for Jesus to spend the night (Lk 9.51-56)
- Jesus' disciples were shocked he would even speak to a Samaritan woman at the well, "for Jews have no dealings with Samaritans." (Jn 4.9)

Parable of Good Samaritan (Luke 10.30-37)

Woman at the well (John 4.1-10, 15-30, 39-43)

In Christ barriers and prejudices are melted away by God's radically inclusive love demonstrated in the ministry of his perfect son, Jesus.

Tax Collectors

Whether or not a Jew should pay taxes to Rome was a hugely controversial issue (Luke 20.22)

Why Tax Collectors were hated
- do we really need a reason to dislike the guy who comes and says, "Pay up"
- they were working for Rome, the hated foreign power
- they were considered ceremonially unclean because of their continual contact with Gentiles and the fact that they worked on the Sabbath
- they often extorted more money than was actually required (Lk 3.13)
- they could force you to pay up using Roman power or they could take your farm or other posessions

Bad Reputation of Tax Collectors in Jesus' Day - Jesus said that even the tax collectors love those who love them (Mat 5.46)
- Jesus said regarding excommunication of an unrepentant brother, "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." (Mat 18.17)
- They called Jesus, "a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!" (Mat 11.19)
- Tax collectors were lumped in with sinners (Mark 2.15), Gentiles (Mat 18.17), and prostitutes (Mat 21.31-32)

Jesus and Zaccheus (Luke 19.1-10)

Jesus' and Matthew (Levi) the tax collector (Luke 5.27-32; Mat 10.3)

Bottom line: we are to love the unlovable, include the outcast, and reach out to the people that this world throws away, locks up, or kills off.

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