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The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Let’s turn to Luke 10:25-37. Here we have one of the most famous of Jesus’ parables, the
Parable of the Good Samaritan. Let’s see what we can learn …
v. 25
25
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked,
“what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Luke says that on one occasion, when Jesus was teaching His disciples, a teacher of the
law, or a lawyer, stood up and asked a question to test Jesus. This man wanted to see what
Jesus had to say. He may have been expecting to catch Jesus in a fault, or perhaps he was
genuinely interested in Jesus and wanted to know if Jesus would say something
interesting.
v. 26
26
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
Jesus replied that we should always look to what God’s word says. We have the Bible
written down for us, and it is our duty to look to it first whenever we have a question
about what to do. When someone comes to ask you for advice, don’t just easily offer your
own opinions but try to understand what God’s word says.
Don’t be surprised when you ask your pastor for advice and he tells you what the Bible
says! You should be surprised and worried if he says something different.
The question is “How do you read it?” We must all interpret the Bible and learn to apply
it in our lives. The question is whether we do that well or not. We should diligently study
God’s word so that we can be as certain as possible as to what it means.
v. 27
27
He answered, “‘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, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
The lawyer’s reply was a good one. He quoted from a passage in Deuteronomy 6 called
the Shema, which Jewish men recited every day as part of their prayers. He also quoted
from Leviticus, where we are called to love our neighbors as ourselves.
God’s requirements are simple, but impossible to do perfectly.
 “With all your heart” – God desires our whole hearts, not sharing our affections
with anyone or anything else. Everything else in my life, I must order in relation
to God as He is the one who has given those good things to me. How can I love
God’s gifts more than the Giver Himself? Therefore, I will love God by loving my
family. I will love God by loving myself. I will love God by loving my country
and my brothers and sisters in the church. But none of these things can take God’s
place in my heart, and none can compete with Him.


“With all your soul” – I will love God with my emotions and feelings. I will
express my feelings of love and awe, and not be ashamed or keep them bottled up.
I will laugh and rejoice with my God because He is good. I will draw near to God
to understand His heart and share His burden for a lost and broken world.
“With all my strength” – I will love God with all of my effort and will. My love
for God won’t just be words, but I will use what strength and energy I have to
please Him. I will be His hands and feet, and let Him send me to serve others.
“With all my mind” – I will love God by focusing my mind on Him. I will think
about Him frequently, not just when I am at church. I will say “Good morning” to
God when I wake up, and “Good night” to Him when I go to sleep. I will ponder
His goodness and mercy, imagine what He has in store for me, and try to improve
my mind so that I can better appreciate Him and His works.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the fulfillment of the law in regards to how we
ought to treat one another. It is more than “Do no harm,” but active and positive.
Our love for God is demonstrated and made real by our love for other people. Here
though, the Jews understood “neighbor” to mean their fellow countrymen.
v. 28
28
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
The lawyer had the answer to his question, and very quickly! Perhaps he anticipated a
lengthy debate. But what God requires is ultimately very simple. So simple that you don’t
need to be a teacher of the law to understand His will. But God’s requirements are also
difficult.
v. 29
29
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
As the lawyer thought about it, he realized that he could not in fact carry out these
requirements perfectly. He should have humbled himself and asked Jesus a genuine
question: “Teacher, how can I do this?” To this even better question, Jesus had the answer
in Himself. “This is why I have come,” He would say.
But instead of humbling himself, the teacher of the law wanted to justify himself. We can
all understand this man because we do this same thing all the time. When we are faced
with the good command of God, instead of humbling ourselves to ask for His grace to do
the task before us, we change the subject or attempt to find a way to narrow the scope of
our duty. We ask, “What less can I do?” but God’s love in us asks, “What more can I do?”
Truly, we all need God’s grace working in us!
v. 30-32
30
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was
attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving

him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the
man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and
saw him, passed by on the other side.
To answer the lawyer’s question, Jesus used a parable or story. Jesus often used parables
to teach His disciples. We should observe things that happen in our lives and around us
and ask God to teach us from these things. You might be surprised what you can learn
that way!
The road from Jerusalem to Jericho is 14 miles long, and descends 3,000 feet during that
time so that they terrain is very rugged. In Jesus’ time, there were many bandits in the
wilderness. This poor man was caught by these bandits, who were merciless and left him
to die.
The priest and Levite (or temple assistant) both passed this man by. When they saw him,
they quickly made a decision in their mind that it would be too much trouble to help.
They would be late and who knew if they could help at all? Maybe it was a trap? And if
this man was dead already, then they would ceremonially impure just by being too near
the body and would have to go through the trouble of cleansing themselves. That would
involve buying a cow for sacrifice and waiting at least one week before being able to
serve in the temple.
v. 33-35
33
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he
took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.
Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of
him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after
him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may
have.’
Then Jesus surprised his listeners. But a Samaritan! Why a Samaritan? This man had no
reason to help a Jew, an enemy. The Samaritans and Jews hated one another. But the only
thing this good man saw was another man in need of his help.
It is too easy for us to think of our enemies in simple terms. They must be bad
thoroughly. Anything else is too complicated. But could it be that they are human like
you and me? Whether it is a person of another political party or a radical Islamist, we
have a tendency to believe the worst of what we hear. We tend to believe every viral
email that is forwarded to us. “See how bad these people are!” “Can you believe what
they are plotting?!” Instead believing the worst, C.S. Lewis says that we ought to hope
for the best, that those people are not as bad as we hear about.
Jesus choose to use a Samaritan in his parable for this reason. He wanted to show that no
matter who a person is, they are God’s children. They may be wrong, and we must
oppose evil actions, but we must also beware of making the case too simple. These

people are also our neighbor. If we draw a circle to include those who we love as
ourselves, it must include even our enemies.
This Samaritan also had somewhere to go, but he stopped and helped this man. He took
care and time to help him, and paid for him without asking for anything in return. This
was the man who fulfilled the law, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
v. 36-37
36
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of
robbers?”
37
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
The lawyer could not even answer Jesus straight when asked which of these three men
was a neighbor. “Go and do likewise,” Jesus said.
Again, if the lawyer would have humbled himself, he would ask Jesus, “Teacher, how can
I do this?” He did not, but we can. Jesus points to Himself and says, “With God, all
things are possible.” Jesus came to make a way for us to be transformed by the Spirit.
You see, Jesus is our Good Samaritan. Once, we were attacked by Satan and his demons,
who beat us, stripped us, and left us dying. Religion passed by and did nothing to help.
But Jesus, while we were still His enemies and rebels, stopped and healed us by His own
blood. He went through a lot of suffering and expense for our sake. He had mercy on us
when we did not deserve mercy.
I learned this lesson myself last year. I will never forget it. I was on the bus on a hot
summer day and a girl came and sat down next to me. She was upset and smelled bad.
She called her father and was talking very loudly right next to me. I was very annoyed.
She had forgotten her wallet in her bag at her friend’s house and needed a ride, but it
sounded like her father did not care or asked her to call one of her friends instead. Finally,
after a few minutes, she hung up and was quiet. I was thinking, “This girl comes from a
really low-class family. She’s loud and rude. You can’t trust a person like this. Even her
father doesn’t trust her. She gets whatever she deserves.” Then the bus stopped and a man
walked forward quickly toward the front exit. As he passed, he handed the girl a twenty
dollar bill and left without a word. The bus moved on and this girl and I sat there, both
quiet. The Holy Spirit spoke to me. This man showed mercy while I just sat there and
judged. This was my own parable of the Good Samaritan. God taught me that I should
not judge others, but show mercy on them because they are my neighbor.
To conclude, I want to ask you to think carefully about those in need around you. They
can either be people you know or people that are in other parts of the world who are in
need. We are blessed in America and are in an opportunity to help others through
programs such as Pilgrim.