New Testament Samaritans
As mentioned the Samaritans were large in number and posed a threat to the order
that Pontius Pilate was seeking to establish. Although they were misled in their
assumption regarding the place of worship and the Hebrew Scriptures in their
complete form, they were seekers according to the New Testament. They also
received Jesus after the testimony of the Samaritan woman at the well.
Nevertheless the New Testament reveals that they were heavily looked down upon
by the Jews and scorned. This makes them very important in the New Testament
because Jesus taught that the common attitude toward the Samaritans had to
change, and not only the Samaritans but that of the whole gentile world.
Jesus passed through Samaritan towns instead of crossing the Jordan to avoid
them. When he spoke with the Samaritan woman, contrary to Jewish custom, he said
a time would come when worshiping in Jerusalem or on Mount Gerazim would not be
important but they that desire to worship God would worship in the spirit. When
Jesus was asked whom to regard as a neighbor, Jesus told them the story of the
Good Samaritan precisely because Samaritans were despised.
The apostles understood that within the Church Samaritans must be not be
despised and should be accepted as equal to Jews. Peter and John conducted a
special mission to Samaria to confirm Samaritans who had already been baptized
by Philip (Acts 8:14-17). The salvation of the Samaritans was a central point
between the preaching of the gospel to the Jews (Acts 2) and the preaching of
the gospel to full-blooded Gentiles (Acts 10).
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