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Good Samaritan

Staff Member
(Probably Judæa.)
<sup>c</sup> LUKE 10:25-37.
<sup>c</sup> 25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and made trial of him, saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? [For the term lawyer see Section 51, The lawyer wished to make trial of the skill of Jesus in solving the intricate and difficult question as to how to obtain salvation. Jesus was probably teaching in some house or courtyard, and his habit of giving local color to his parables suggests that he was probably in or near Bethany, through which the road from Jerusalem to Jericho passes. The lawyer stood up to attract attention to himself, and thus give emphasis to his question and its answer.]

26 And he said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? [Looking upon Jesus as a sabbath-breaker and a despiser of tradition, the lawyer no doubt expected that Jesus would lay down some new rule for obtaining salvation. If so, he was surprised to be thus referred to the law of Moses for his answer.]

27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. [ Deuteronomy 6:4 Deuteronomy 6:5 ; Leviticus 19:18 . Having made himself conspicuous by standing up, the lawyer had to give the best answer he knew or sully his own reputation for knowledge. He therefore gives the two great laws which comprise all other laws.]

28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. [The lawyer had asked his question simply as a test. With him the law was simply matter for speculation and theory, and the word "do" was very startling. It showed the difference between his and the Master's views of the law. He had hoped Jesus had exposed the lawyer as one who merely theorized about the law, and himself as one who advocated the doing of the law.]

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor? [He could justify his conduct if permitted to define the word "neighbor." He asked his question, therefore, in the expectation of securing such a definition of the word as would enable him to maintain his public standing and quiet his conscience.]

30 Jesus made answer and said, A certain man [evidently a Jew, for otherwise the nationality would have been specified] was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. [The road from Jerusalem to Jericho is eighteen miles long, and descends about 3,500 feet. About two miles from Jerusalem it passes through the village of Bethany, and for the rest of the eighteen miles it passes through desolate mountain ravines without any habitation save the inn, the ruins of which are still seen about half way to Jericho. This district from that time till the present has been noted for robberies, and Jerome tells that the road was called the "bloody way."]

31 And by chance a certain priest was going down that way
[a very natural thing for a priest to do, for there was a very large priestly settlement at Jericho]: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. [He did this although the law commanded mercy and help to a neighbor-- Exodus 23:4 ; Deuteronomy 22:1-4 .]

32 And in like manner a Levite also
[A temple minister. The tribe of Levi had been set apart by God for his service], when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. [In the priest and Levite the lawyer saw the picture of his own life, for he saw in them those who knew the law, but did not practice it. There may have been many excuses for this neglect of the wounded man: danger, hate, dread of defilement, expense, but Jesus does not consider any of them worth mentioning.]

33 But a certain Samaritan
[the hereditary enemy of the Jew-- John 4:9 ], where he was: and when he saw him, he was moved with compassion,

34 and came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on them oil and wine
[the ordinary remedies for wounds-- Isaiah 1:6 ]; and he set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35 And on the morrow he took out two shillings [the shilling or denarius was worth about seventeen cents, but it represented the price of a day's labor], and gave them to the host [the inn-keeper], and said, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, I, when I come back again, will repay thee. [The compassion of the Samaritan bore full fruitage. However heterodox he was, he was after all a worshiper of Jehovah and more orthodox at heart than either the priest or the Levite. Though it was not customary for an inn-keeper to furnish food either for man or beast, he could do so if he chose out of his own stores. The scant cash left by the Samaritan indicates a poverty which made his charity the more praiseworthy. His eye and heart and hand and foot and purse were all subservient to the law of God.]

36 Which of these three, thinkest thou, proved neighbor unto him that fell among the robbers?
[Instead of answering didactically, "Everybody is your neighbor," Jesus had incarnated the law of neighborliness in the good Samaritan, and had made it so beautiful that the lawyer could not but commend it even when found in a representative of this apostate race. He showed, too, that the law was not for causistry but for practice.]

37 And he said, He that showed mercy on him.
[The lawyer avoided the name Samaritan so distasteful to his lips. Jesus gave countenance to no such racial prejudice, even though the Samaritans had rejected him but a few weeks before this-- Luke 9:53 .] Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. [All the laws and teachings of God are to be generously interpreted ( Matthew 5:43 Matthew 5:44 ) and are to be embodied in the life-- Matthew 7:24-27 .]

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

If we speak of eternal life, and the way to it, in a careless manner, we take the name of God in vain. No one will ever love God and his neighbour with any measure of pure, spiritual love, who is not made a partaker of converting grace. But the proud heart of man strives hard against these convictions. Christ gave an instance of a poor Jew in distress, relieved by a good Samaritan. This poor man fell among thieves, who left him about to die of his wounds. He was slighted by those who should have been his friends, and was cared for by a stranger, a Samaritan, of the nation which the Jews most despised and detested, and would have no dealings with. It is lamentable to observe how selfishness governs all ranks; how many excuses men will make to avoid trouble or expense in relieving others. But the true Christian has the law of love written in his heart. The Spirit of Christ dwells in him; Christ's image is renewed in his soul. The parable is a beautiful explanation of the law of loving our neighbour as ourselves, without regard to nation, party, or any other distinction.

It also sets forth the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward sinful, miserable men. We were like this poor, distressed traveller. Satan, our enemy, has robbed us, and wounded us: such is the mischief sin has done us. The blessed Jesus had compassion on us. The believer considers that Jesus loved him, and gave his life for him, when an enemy and a rebel; and having shown him mercy, he bids him go and do likewise. It is the duty of us all , in our places, and according to our ability, to succour, help, and relieve all that are in distress and necessity.
I believe the Samaritan to be like the true image of the Holy Spirit at work, I know that to see any suffering is but an oppurtunity to see Gods glory when that suffering finds rest. For how can we speak of living in the Spirit of Christ and not seek to destroy all suffering with the power of love and kindness which is supposed to be our greatest gifts given freely in abundance to us so we can overflow and return as freely as we were given. To not reach out to mourning from sinners and the lost is like Jesus never having done the same and so much more for us. I who loves the Lord more than myself or my life could never withhold mercy, kindness, or love to any who seek it because thats not how Jesus and the Holy Spirit raised me, and if any see error in this then I have to question which Spirit guides their pride and self rightousness for none of us are anything to brag about, but all are special and wanted and loved by their Creator for He alone I do have pride in! Glory to God and praise the Lord our Prince of Peace!