Storytelling stimulates the brain in a very particular way. We can feel the emotions of the moment, recapture the sensations – taste, smell, touch. Scientists can track this brain activity as people are reading a book with a gripping
Stories stay with us. That is why Jesus used so many in his teachings. He used fictitious situations to help people to memorise important truths. He chose themes that were familiar to his audience. As he was talking, they could imagine what he was describing.
One famous example is the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 25 – 37). Take time to read it if you can. The people listening to Jesus would have known how dangerous that
journey to Jericho was, and some would have known people who had been robbed and left to die, just as the man in the story had been. As Jesus started to mention the Samaritan, many in the crowd would initially be feeling hostile and would be ready to see him as the villain of the piece.
Jesus’ story had a surprise ending. It was the Samaritan, the outcast, who helped the injured man. This would have been so confusing to the listening crowd, and I expect some
of them reacted quite angrily to this turn of events.How many of those listening though would have remembered that story and kept mulling it over in their minds or discussed it with friends?
Our challenge, as a faith community today, is to find ways of telling the same truths that Jesus gave us in ways that stimulate and engage people today. If we were to write the Good Samaritan story today, who would be the outsider that
would challenge our prejudices?