The Good Samaritan

The Good Samaritan

Luke 10:25-37

“But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him and when he saw the man he had compassion.”


                Luke’s gospel is the only one that holds the parable of the Good Samaritan, but it is still a crucial parable that teaches a large lesson on loving your neighbor. The scene is set by a lawyer who stands up and tries to trap Jesus with some questions, most notably “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” To which Jesus ask the man what the Old Testament law says about what a person must do to inherit eternal life. The man correctly answers to love God with all your heart, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus commends the man for answering correctly and tells him to do these things and he will be good to go. But the lawyer is not satisfied with that and ask Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”

                Now here is where we find our friction and our parable. To summarize the parable as best as I know how, Jesus tells the man a story. In the story a certain man is traveling down a road and is robbed and beaten nearly to death and left there. First a priest comes by and goes to the other side of the road, then a Levite (these men assist the priest), but he also passed by on the other side of the road. Next a Samaritan comes by, and to a Jewish crowd this would have been the last person in the world they wanted to hear about. Samaritans were considered outcast and half-breads and Jews wanted nothing to do with them. They hated them so much that if they had to travel to a certain place and Samaria was on the way, they would alter their path around Samaria instead of walking through it. But ironically the Samaritan, the last person they would expect to help the man, actually helps him. Jesus ask the lawyer which of the three were the man’s neighbor, and the man says “the one who had mercy on him”, and he was right.

                 Let’s look at the lawyer. He was only asking these question and playing this game because he wanted to justify himself and say that he had already loved God and loved people, he wasn’t expecting to actually be challenged by Jesus. A lot of the time when we ourselves have questions about something we are doing in life, like whether it is a sin or not, or if we are doing something correctly, we are really just going to scripture to justify ourselves. Sometimes people do this when they get into arguments. They use the word of God to justify something they are doing, but that is not the way the word is meant to be used. And a lot of the time we may think that we have certain things figured out, like this lawyer thought that he had loving your neighbor down pat, but in all actuality he had no love for the Samaritans.

                I think that miss using scripture is the side note to these verses and this story, what I believe is the really strong point in all of this is answering and living out the question, “who is my neighbor?” With all that has gone around the world we may find ourselves asking this question. With terrorist attacking on almost a daily basis all around the world, and with tension lines being drawn between certain groups (such as race relations lately), who will we as Christians claim to be our neighbor? Will it just be our American brother or sister that bleeds red, white and blue? Will it be just the people of our own ethnicity because that’s how the world wants us to divide? Or will us as Christians stand up and say that we will not let the actions of the few around the world dictate who we will love. In fact, we will stand up and love the unlovable, and the hated in the name of Christ, who loved us when we were so unlovable and deep in sin. When we wanted nothing to do with Him, He loved us to the point of dying for our sins, and raising again.

                Let us stand with the example that the Good Samaritan has set and say that there is no limit to the places where we will show our love to people around this world, because Christ has loved us.