The Parable of the Good Samaritan
Once, a lawyer came to test Jesus. “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25b).
Jesus asked the man, “What is written in the law?” (Luke 10:26a).
“So he answered and said, ‘“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,” and “your neighbor as yourself”’….But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” (Luke 10:27, 29). He didn’t want to love anybody he didn’t have to.
Jesus answered with the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Humanity Without God
Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.”
This man was going down from Jerusalem, the city of God, to Jericho, a pagan city. He fell among thieves. They beat him, took his wealth, and left him in a pool of blood. He was half-dead, on his way to complete death. This man is a picture of humanity away from God, battered and robbed by Satan.
“Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.”
The priests performed the religious rituals of the day. Levites were the custodians of the law. These two represent religion, with its rituals and rules.
Here is this man, lying in blood. The priest wraps his selfrighteous robes around himself and leaves that man bleeding and dying. By this picture, Jesus is teaching that religion alone cannot save you.
The Levite is the man who walks by and says, “What a mess you are. You have gotten exactly what you deserve.” The law can only condemn. It cannot save us. (Read Romans 7:7-13.)
People need more than rituals and rules. They need a friend—they need Jesus!
The problem with this priest and Levite was that they did nothing.
“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.”
This is a picture of Jesus Christ.
The Samaritans were those left behind after Israel was carried into captivity, who then intermarried with the heathens. The Jews of this day had “no dealings with Samaritans”—whatsoever. (See John 4:9.)
Being a Compassionate Friend
This Good Samaritan’s compassion was not mere sentimentality. A person with genuine compassion sees people through the eyes of Christ.
He went to the hurt man. The Samaritan ministered to the man as he was. We don’t have to wait until those who are hurting come to us. Go to them.
“He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine” (see Luke 10:34). In the Bible, oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Wine is a symbol of the blood of Christ.
“He set him on his own animal” (v. 34). Jesus allows us to take His place, and He takes ours.
The Moral of the Story
Jesus asked the lawyer a question.
“So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”