Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Luke 10: 25 - 37 (NKJV)

 25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”

27 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.’”

28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 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. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 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. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”

37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”


Tim's comments: Most everyone is familiar with this teaching of Jesus. In it, we are required to love God above all, and to love our neighbor (our fellow man). But, as the parable makes plain, we are not just to love in the abstract, but our love is demonstrated through action. We are required to help people in need, even if they are not "one of us" or even our supposed enemy (Levites and Samaritans did not get along; they were enemies). 

Notice that the lawyer, after answering Jesus correctly, asks an insincere question "Who is my neighbor?" This is an insincere question because, as the text points out, the lawyer was seeking to justify himself rather than to learn from Jesus how to be a good neighbor. He wanted to shirk his responsibility from others by excluding some people from the category of "neighbor." Jesus then uses a parable to point out that all people are our neighbors, even strangers and supposed enemies.

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