When I listen to Malala Yousafzai, that 16-year old Pakistani girl who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, I have to sit back and marvel.
Outspoken on behalf of liberty since a little girl, the Taliban hunted her down and just over a year ago shot her in the head. She survived (she says miraculously, and who am I to deny that?), and has recovered almost 100 percent. She is now more outspoken than ever.
It goes without saying that I am an unabashed, completely convinced Christian, a follower of Jesus the Christ. It is also true that I have a real problem with the road that Islam is taking the world. (Lest you take that as a slam against Islam, understand that I have the exactly same concerns about Western Civilization too).
Malala has caused me to think more deeply about Jesus’ famous parable about the Good Samaritan. If Jesus were speaking the parable to today’s followers, the hero of the story would not be a Samaritan. Because of the parable, it’s a compliment today to be considered a “Samaritan”. In Jesus’ day the Samaritans were an outcast people, at least in the eyes of the Jews. They were considered usurpers, a mongrelized people, and troublemakers. It was upon a Samaritan town that the disciples wanted to call down fire from heaven. (Luke 9:54)
Yet Jesus seemed to have a special regard for these people. He used a Samaritan as a prototype of a good neighbor, and it was to a Samaritan women to whom he revealed himself as the Messiah. (John 4)
So while there might have been a goodly share of Simon Magus types running around Samaria (Acts 8:9-23), it was one of the first places outside of Judea to hear the gospel, and the people accepted it.
Malala has caused me to wonder: If Jesus were telling the story today, would it be instead the Parable of the Good Muslim? I kind of think so.
Lenny Cacchio is a resident of Lees Summit. He blogs at http://morningcompanio nblogspot.com/.