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                        "THE PARABLES OF JESUS"

                    The Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37)


1. One of the more well-known parables that of "The Good Samaritan"
   - cf. Lk 10:30-37
   a. Hospitals have been named after the person in this story (e.g.,
      Good Samaritan Hospital)
   b. "Good Samaritan" laws have been passed to encourage passers-by to
      help those in need

2. It has been common to apply allegorical interpretations to this
   parable; for example...
   a. The traveler represents man, who has left the heavenly city
      (Jerusalem) for the worldly one (Jericho)
   b. The robbers are representative of the devil and sin, who leave
      man dying in sin
   c. The priest and the Levite refer to the Law and its sacrifices,
      which are unable to help
   d. But the good Samaritan is Jesus, who provides the help needed
   e. The wine represents the blood of Christ; the oil, the anointing 
      of the Holy Spirit
   f. The inn is the church, the inn-keeper representative of the 
      apostles; the two coins representing baptism and the Lord's 

3. As interesting as such interpretations may be...
   a. Is it really what Jesus is teaching in this parable?
   b. Or does Jesus have some other lesson that He wants us to glean 
      from it?

[In this study we shall review the setting of the parable, and then 
offer some lessons that I believe are more in keeping with Jesus' 
original purpose in telling it...]


      1. A lawyer stands up to "test" Jesus - Lk 10:25
         a. A "lawyer" in this context would be one well-versed in the
            Law of Moses
         b. The word "test" doesn't have to imply negative
            connotations; it may simply mean the man was seeking to
            ascertain Jesus' faithfulness to the Law
         c. But there are some implications that he was seeking to
            trick Jesus...
            1) He "stood" up, perhaps to draw attention to himself
            2) Later, he sought to "justify" himself with another 
               question; implying he was interested in more than just a
               simple answer to his question
         d. His question was similar to that asked by the rich young
            ruler (Lk 18:18):  "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit
            eternal life?"
      2. Jesus answers the question by pointing him back to the Law 
         - Lk 10:26
         a. In so doing, Jesus shows His own confidence in the Law
         c. In a similar manner Jesus pointed the rich young ruler to 
            the Law - Lk 18:20
         b. Keep in mind that at this time the Law was still in force,
            so the answer was still to be found in it - cf. Mt 5:17-19
      3. The lawyer replies with a proper understanding of what the Law
         taught concerning eternal life - Lk 10:27-28
         a. He quotes from Deu 6:5 and Lev 19:18
         b. Both which Jesus quoted to another lawyer on a later 
            occasion - cf. Mt 22:34-40
         c. Upon these two laws, one to love God, the other to love 
            your neighbor...
            1) The entire Law was based
            2) Those living while the Law was still in force could 
               "live" (i.e., be saved)
      4. But the lawyer is not finished... - Lk 10:29
         a. He desires to "justify" himself (was he embarrassed Jesus
            answered him so easily?)
         b. He asks the question which precipitates the parable:  "And
            who is my neighbor?"

      1. A man travels from Jerusalem to Jericho, and is beaten - Lk
         a. A distance of about 20 miles
         b. A dangerous road, known as "The Way of Blood" because of 
            the robbers
         c. Stripped of his clothing and wounded by thieves, he is left
            half dead
      2. Two pass by, doing nothing - Lk 10:31-32
         a. The first was a priest, the he second was a Levite
         b. Both of these were of the religious elite in Israel at that
      3. A Samaritan comes by and shows compassion - Lk 10:33-35
         a. Samaritans were despised by the Jews - cf. Jn 4:9
         b. They were the descendants of those imported at the time of
            the Assyrian captivity (cf. 2 Ki 17:24-41)
         c. Yet this Samaritan who would have been despised by the Jews
            shows compassion
            1) He bandages the wounds, applying oil and wine (first aid
               in those days)
            2) He puts the wounded man on his own animal and takes him
               to an inn
            3) He gives the innkeeper two denarii (two days' wages) to
               provide care
            4) He tells the innkeeper to spend whatever it takes, and 
               he will repay him when he comes again

      1. He poses the question:  Which of the three proved to be a 
         neighbor? - Lk 10:36
      2. The lawyer replies with the obvious answer:  "He who showed 
         mercy on him."
      3. Jesus then admonishes the lawyer to do likewise 
      4. Notice that Jesus turned the focus of the original question...
         a. From "Who is my neighbor?" to "Who was the one that was
            neighbor to the one in need?"
         b. This indicates that Jesus sought to draw attention to what
            it means to "Love your neighbor as yourself"

[The purpose of the parable, in view of the context and the manner in
which Jesus applied it, is clear:

   Jesus teaches who our neighbors really are, and what it means to
   love your neighbor as yourself.

Here are some lessons that can be gleaned from the parable when its
purpose is kept in mind...]


      1. One might think that a neighbor is one with whom we share 
         a. Such as being of the same race, nationality, or religion
         b. I.e., anyone who is not considered your enemy
      2. Yet Jesus put such a concept to rest by using the Samaritan as
         an example
         a. The Samaritans were different in race, nationality and 
            religion from the Jews
         b. There was animosity between them - cf. Jn 4:9; Lk 9:52-53
         c. Though considered enemies, the Samaritan was helping a Jew
            in need
      3. And so it is that Christians are to show "hospitality" (lit.,
         "love of strangers") - cf. Ro 12:13; Mt 5:43-48; Ga 6:10
      -- Your neighbor, then, is anyone in need whom you have the 
         ability to help!

      1. Of the three passers-by in the parable, the first two should
         have been the first to help
         a. The priest and the Levite should have been influenced by 
            their religion to help
         b. Indeed they were taught to love the stranger - Lev 19:
            33-34; Deu 10:17-19
      2. When they separated neighborliness from their religion, they
         became hypocritical
         a. For the priest would teach the Law, and the Levite would
            assist in the service
         b. But failing to "practice what they preach" showed how 
            shallow their devotion to their faith really was
      3. As Christians, we need to be sure to practice "pure and 
         undefiled religion", otherwise we deceive ourselves - cf. Ja
      -- What kind of religion do we have?

      1. A willingness to cross social barriers
         a. As Jesus illustrated in using a Samaritan in this parable
         b. There should be no religious, racial, or national barriers
            to showing compassion!
      2. A willingness to take risks
         a. The Samaritan took a great risk by stopping to help
            1) What if the robbers were still near by?
            2) What if other thieves came by on this road known as "The
               Way Of Blood"?
         b. So Christians are called upon to take risks - cf. Lk 6:30
            1) How do we know people won't take advantage of our 
            2) Perhaps this is an area where we need to have faith in
      3. A willingness to set aside busy schedules
         a. The Samaritan was on a journey, but took the time to stop
            and care for the man
         b. Jesus taught us to take the time to show compassion even 
            when forced - Mt 5:41
            1) The first mile may have been forced
            2) But the second mile was one to be given out of love
      4. A willingness to make sacrifices
         a. The Samaritan sacrificed more than just time and energy
            1) He used some of his own provisions - Lk 10:34
            2) He even offered an open-ended agreement to provide for 
               his help - Lk 10:35
         b. Jesus taught His disciples to be willing to make sacrifices
            - Lk 6:29-30,34-35
         c. In so doing, we are truly followers of God and walking in 
            love - Ep 5:1-2


1. With the parable of "The Good Samaritan", we are challenged to a 
   higher standard of love
   a. Higher in that the definition of "neighbor" is more inclusive
   b. Higher in that the definition of "compassion" is greater

2. This should not be surprising in light of what Jesus told His 
   disciples earlier:

   "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the
   righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means
   enter the kingdom of heaven." (Mat 5:20)

3. What is your righteousness like?  That of the priest and Levite, or
   of the Samaritan?
   a. Only as we emulate the example of the good Samaritan, can it be
      said that our righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and 
   b. Only then do we have the assurance of entering the kingdom of
   c. Therefore let us heed the words of Jesus to the lawyer who tested
                         "Go and do likewise."

Of course, without the salvation that Jesus makes possible, no degree
of righteousness is possible... - cf. Ac 2:36-38; 22:16
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