One of the most widely recognized stories from the New Testament, stories that Yeshua Himself told, is the story of the Good Samaritan, and we find that in Luke 10, beginning at about verse 25. It’s a story that any child that’s ever been to Sunday school knows, and even people that aren’t believers, aren’t Bible readers, know the story of the Good Samaritan. Any fellow that’s done something nice for someone, especially someone that he doesn’t know, “Hey, that guy is a good Samaritan.” And it’s an amazing story, actually. But there is a backstory that I want to share with you that makes it even more exciting and a more impactful lesson from Yeshua. He’s telling the story of a man, just an ordinary man, walking down the road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Same pathway that we travel today to get from Jerusalem to Jericho, although it’s a much nicer road. It’s paved and it’s well-lit. But this man is walking, and he’s attacked by robbers. He’s severely beaten. His clothing is stolen. All of his belongings are taken, and he is left for dead. Now there is a phrase in Hebrew that refers to that situation, and it basically means he is so close to death that he is breathing his last breath or two. There is no expectation that this guy’s actually going to live. He’s lying by the side of the road. Then Yeshua begins to tell the story of what happens to this man as someone comes along, someone that perhaps could help him. And Yeshua says that this man is a priest. Now here’s an important part of the backstory. You see, the people that are on the hillside listening to Yeshua’s stories, these are people who live in the rural parts of Israel, the northern part of Israel, and they are people who are taught by the itinerant rabbis that walk the highways and byways of that part of the nation. And those men are Pharisees. So these are people who most identify with the teachings of the Pharisees. Now the Pharisees believe in things like angels and demons in a spiritual realm. They believe in life after death. They believe—of the entire canon of Scripture that they had at that time, and they also believe in the oral Law, the oral traditions. On the other side of the coin, we have the Sadducees. The Sadducees were the keepers of Temple worship. They did not believe in life after death. They did not believe in angels, or in demons, or in any kind of spiritual realm, nor did they believe in the entire canon that was available at that time. They only believed in select pieces of Scripture, and they did not believe at all in the oral Law. So the Sadducees and the Pharisees were not good friends. As a matter of fact, they were religious enemies. So back to our story. Yeshua explains that someone is coming, someone that perhaps could help this poor man. And this person that’s coming is a priest. “Aha!” everyone says. “Aha!” Part of that Temple worship system. This person is a Sadducee. This person isn’t going to stop and help. He doesn’t want to become unclean. His personal journey, what he has next on his schedule is much more important to him than what happens to this man. So then Yeshua goes on. Next we find a Levite. “Aha!” they say. “Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk,” they click their tongues. Same thing. A Sadducee. He’s not going to stop. He’s not going to help this person. His personal journey, his personal belief is much more important to him than the condition of this man lying by the side of the road. Then Yeshua begins to talk about the next person that’s coming, the person that perhaps will really help this man who is so in desperate need of help. And by now, these people are on the edges of their seats, anticipating who is going to come and help this man? And of course they know, it’ll be a Pharisee. That’s where Yeshua is going with this story. It’s a story about the difference between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the Pharisee is going to be the hero of the day. And so comes this person, this person that stops, this person that is willing to be inconvenienced to even use his own money to help this man. And then Yeshua tells them who it is. It’s a Samaritan. What?! How can this be? The Samaritans are the ancient enemies of all Israel. They’re the enemies of both the Sadducees and the Pharisees. How can Yeshua say such a thing? How can this be? And at that moment, Yeshua hit them right between the eyes with their own hypocrisy, with their own bias, with their own prejudice and gave them a beautiful picture of His own heart of what mercy is really all about.