I appreciated this article by Tullian Tchividjian.
He considers Jesus’ parable about the Good Samaritan and presents an interpretation which emphasises the fact that it was told in the context of a discussion about eternal life.
I think Tchividjian helpfully points out that to contend that Jesus’ lesson is that eternal life is gained by treating more people better undercuts the real focus of the story.
There are ethical implications about how we treat others, but these are based on Jesus’ portrayal of himself as the outsider who sacrificially care.
There are some issues to consider about this interpretation, but it is interesting in that it asks us to find Jesus in the story, not just as the one telling the story.
For every good story in the Bible there’s a bad children’s song. This is the one I remember for the Good Samaritan:
The man who stopped to help, right when he saw the need; he was such a good, good neighbor, a good example for me.
On the surface, this little ditty may seem harmless. The problem, however, is that Jesus wants us to identify with every person in the parable except the good Samaritan. He reserves that role for himself.