If you are familiar at all with the Bible, and even if you are not, you have probably heard of the parable about the Good Samaritan. In-fact, there are Hospitals and nursing colleges named after this parable. Even in Secular society, if someone performs a random act of kindness they are referred to as a “good Samaritan”. With this said, the Lord Jesus Christ has recently laid this timeless parable on my heart.
I felt the Holy Spirit 🕊️tell me “There is more here than meets the eye.”
“The Scriptures are shallow enough for a babe to come and drink without fear of drowning and deep enough for a theologian to swim in without ever touching the bottom”St. Jerome
I began my deep dive into the parable of the Good Samaritan. (Luke 10:25-37)
The parable begins with a Lawyer asking Jesus a very important question…”What must I do to inherit eternal life?”..
Jesus answered the lawyer’s question by repeating the two commandments that summarize the original ten…
Luke 10:27: And He answered, “You shall love💕 the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”
Seeking to “justify himself” the lawyer than asked another question…”Who is my neighbor?”
When we encounter the word “lawyer” in Scripture, we need to concentrate on the “law” root. The “law” here is the Mosaic Law, the codified system of rules and regulations meant to govern Israel in YHWH (God’s) ways as the nation lived in His land, the Promised Land. The suffix “–er” means “one who practices.” A “lawyer,” therefore, was an expert or scholar of the Mosaic Law.
As an expert in Mosaic Law, the lawyer was attempting to test or trap Jesus into saying the wrong thing so that He (Jesus) could be “proved” a false prophet. Because Jesus responded in a manner that honored the Mosaic Law, this was not possible, so the lawyer sought to JUSTIFY himself (sought to make himself righteous before our Holy God) by claiming to keep the entire law of Moses. 😲
Important note: Jesus was known to come from “Galilee” (a land of “Samaritans”); therefore, he was PRESUMED to be a sinner by the Jewish religious elite. In reality, both of Jesus’ earthly parents (Mary and Joseph) were from the Tribe of Judah in Judea. They just happened to be living in Galilee.
In addition, these lawyers who considered themselves to be EXPERTS in JEWISH LAW and the PROPHETS should have KNOWN that the land of Galilee would someday be considered GREAT because the MESSIAH WAS PROPHESIED TO COME FROM THAT REGION. (Isaiah 9:1)
John 1:46: Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good be from Nazareth?” Philip *said to him, “Come and see.”
Isaiah 9:1: But there will be no more gloom for her who was in anguish. In earlier times He (YHWH/GOD) treated the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali with contempt, but later on He will make it glorious, by the way of the sea, on the other side of the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
Nazareth (Jesus’ hometown) was located in the land of Galilee, which was in the northern area of Israel.
To understand the Jewish animosity towards these northern provinces during Jesus’ day, we need to remember what had happened centuries earlier. During the time of the divided kingdom of Israel, the northern ten tribes were living in the land of Samaria and Galilee. Because of their sin and idolatry, the northern ten tribes were conquered by the Assyrians and most of them were EXILED from that land. Assyria then moved their own pagan people into these regions.
The pagan Assyrians intermarried with the remnant of Israelites who had not been exiled. This “mixed race” of people became known as the Samaritans.
Centuries later, the Samaritans were greatly despised by the Jewish elite in Judea because of their mixed heritage and their presumed idolatry and paganism.
With this as the backdrop, picture the Lawyer who was seeking to JUSTIFY HIMSELF by asking Jesus – “Who is my neighbor”?
Jesus RESPONDED his question with the parable of the good Samaritan.
Luke 10:30 Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he encountered robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.
31 And by coincidence a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33 But a Samaritan who was on a journey came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
35 On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.’
36 Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed compassion to him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
As the Parable goes, there was a man who had been beaten, stripped, and left for dead lying in the road. A Priest and a Levite both pass him by without lending a hand. The Priest and the Levite were considered very important and PIOUS people in Jewish society, PROFESSING to be EXEMPLARY LAW KEEPERS! Neither the priest nor the Levite stopped to help the man. 😥 In-fact, because they were not sure whether the man was dead or alive, they moved to the opposite side of the road in order to be as far away from him as possible. In Mosaic Law, a Priest and a Levite would be considered unclean and therefore unable to perform their priestly duties for a week if they came in direct contact with a dead body. They did not want to soil their garments.
David Guzik lists the following excuses that they could have come up with (which also speaks of the excuses that we may have when we may not want to help someone!):
“This road is too dangerous for me to stop and help the man.”
“He might be a decoy for an ambush.”
“I’ve got to get to the temple and perform my service for the Lord.”
“I’ve got to get home and see my family.”
“Someone really should help that man.”
“If I’m going to serve at the temple I can’t get my clothes bloody.”
“I don’t know first aid.”
“It’s a hopeless case.”
“I’m only one person; the job is too big.”
“I can pray for him.”
“He brought it on himself, he should have never been alone on such a dangerous road.”
“He never asked for help”
It was the Samaritan, despised by the Jews, who showed mercy and compassion on the man lying half-dead in the street.
The Samaritan not only bound up his wounds but also put him on his own animal and took him to an inn. The Good Samaritan stayed with him through the night taking care of him. He even paid the innkeeper two denarii (two days wages) to continue taking care of him after he left, promising the innkeeper that he would reimburse the innkeeper for any additional care that was needed. This is LOVE in action. 💕
Now comes the twist. On the surface, this is definitely calling those of us who say we follow God to lend a helping hand to those in need, no questions asked. God wants us to have COMPASSION on those who are hurting. This should include being willing to donate both our time and money to help others. However, there is more here than meets the eye.
The first problem we encounter in this parable is the question 🤔that the Lawyer asked Jesus...”What must I DO to INHERIT eternal life?
Consider an inheritance. This is not something that we “earn”. An inheritance is something that is GIVEN to us when our loved one passes away. So, to ask what we MUST DO (actions/earn) to INHERIT something is actually an inappropriate question.
The second thing to note is that no identity was assigned to the man in the street who had been beaten, robbed and left for dead. The Jewish elite believed that only other Jews were their “neighbors”. However, Jesus just set the bar super high (as He always does). Now the WHOLE WORLD can be considered our “neighbor”. ALL of us have at one time or another been put in a situation where we COULD have helped someone, but we did not – ESPECIALLY if we consider that the WHOLE WORLD is our neighbor. Jesus was not only showing us that we should have compassion for all people, but also that we cannot EARN our way to Heaven (“JUSTIFY OURSELVES”) by “loving our neighbor”, because we CANNOT do it PERFECTLY. It is not possible.
The whole world is our neighbor! 😲
Let us take a look at the SYMBOLISM in this Parable to gain a deeper understanding of what Jesus is telling us here….
- Jerusalem: We read first of all that the man is going from Jerusalem to Jericho. Jerusalem is the throne and city of God (Jeremiah 3:17). It is where the temple is and as such is a type or symbol that represents the presence of God.
- Jericho: What about Jericho? Jericho was cursed in the Old Testament by Joshua (Joshua 6:26). As a type it is a picture of the world. This is a picture of a man leaving JERUSALEM and presence of God and going downward unto the cursed place (the world).
- The man: He is naked, robbed and left for dead. The man represents fallen humanity. Satan, who comes to kill, steal and destroy, has left mankind for dead spiritually at the fall. Is this not how mankind now is? Are we not like the man who was left for dead on the way to Jericho? But here comes help, or so we think. (Priest and Levite)
- Priest and Levite: A priest and a Levite come along. They represent formal religion. They were experts in the law and knew what it said. But RELIGION cannot save us. RELIGION cannot HEAL us. Religion cannot CLOTHE us. RELIGION has no COMPASSION for us.
- The Samaritan: When all seemed lost, One came! One despised. A Samaritan. This represents the despised ONE (Isaiah 53:3). – the Lord Jesus christ whom the Jews called a Samaritan. (John 8:48). He is the One who had compassion (Matt 9:36, Mar 1:41) and went out of His way to heal up the broken and give life to the dying. He used oil (Holy Spirit) and Wine (his blood) to bring healing. ✝️🕊️ GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST: For God so loved the world💕 that He gave His One and Only Begotten Son that WHOSOEVER would BELIEVE in HIM would not perish but have ETERNAL, EVERLASTING LIFE!! (John 3:16)
- The Inn: Just as the Good Samaritan tended to the wounds of the beaten man and brought him into the inn, so Jesus brings those that are beaten and robbed into His TRUE church (Ecclesia/called out ones – not necessarily a “building”) ⛪where they can be taken care of. Just as the Samaritan gave provision to the keepers of the inn so they can look after the man, so Jesus gives gifts and provisions (Romans 12:6-9) to His true shepherds to look after His sheep. This is the plan of God for this CHURCH age (AGE OF GRACE). The church⛪ is supposed to look after those whom the Lord seeks and finds using the resources that Jesus gives us. But look also at this great promise: ‘Look after him,’ He said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.‘ When Jesus returns everyone will be rewarded for how well we have cared for and helped our brothers and sisters in Christ! 🥰
The moral of this parable is that NONE OF US are actually the “good Samaritan” because we have ALL fallen short of the Glory of God. In-fact, we are the man lying half dead in the street, bloodied by the Satanic attacks against us. However, thank God that He has given us the VICTORY through the TRUE Good Samaritan – JESUS CHRIST. ✝️ It is so beautiful that Jesus Christ, our Creator and God, SEES the ones who are DESPISED and REJECTED by society and even by the “religious elite”. Jesus SEES and Jesus CARES! 💕 Jesus is NOT afraid to reach down into the dirt and the muck to bind up our wounds and save us!
Jesus Christ IDENTIFIES with the marginalized and the outcasts!
We should have compassion on all people as every person in the world is our neighbor🌍; however, we WILL fall short of the Glory of God because the world is a pretty big place.
Let us love our neighbor as ourselves (the best that we can as led by the Holy Spirit🕊️), but unlike the Lawyer, we should not do this in order to “justify ourselves” because we cannot love the WHOLE WORLD as ourselves. This is not possible. Our motivation to help others should always be the same motivation that Jesus Himself has – LOVE and COMPASSION. 💕
May God richly bless you in this beautiful season of Love – Christmas ❄️