One of the most common phrases used to describe someone who helps others in times of need is “a Good Samaritan”. This phrase has become so common that in many cases, those using this title have no idea its source or contextual meaning.
The original description and story behind the Good Samaritan is found in God’s Word… let’s take a few minutes to read about the Good Samaritan and how his actions affect every one of us.
Luke 10:25-37 (KJV)
25) And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?…37) And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
For us to properly understand the story of the Good Samaritan, we need to notice the pretext of this story found in Luke 10:25-29…
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
Here, we find the Lord talking to a lawyer (a person who was educated in the Old Testament laws of God.) The lawyer stands up, and asks a question of Christ desiring to trip up Christ and find fault with Him.
He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
To avoid falling into the lawyer’s trap Jesus wisely responds by asking the lawyer two questions….“ What is written in the law? How readest thou?”
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.
The lawyer responds with a quote from the OT found in Deut 6:5
And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
Here, Jesus knew that no fallen human can love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind. Jesus response was clearly an attempt by Christ to point out the lawyer’s great spiritual need… to recognize his sin and then come to Christ for the forgiveness.
But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?
However, the lawyers response clearly indicates that he was blind to his own sinful condition.
The lawyer had missed the point. He didn’t want to own up to his own sinful condition. He now was trying to change the subject to the second part of his response, the need to love our neighbour as ourself.
This is where Christ now begins the story of the Good Samaritan. Christ, in His infinate wisdom seeks to show this man his sinful condition, his need of salvation, as well as trying to answer this man’s question about who is our neighbor….
And Jesus answering said, A certain [man] went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded [him], and departed, leaving [him] half dead.
Here, the Lord begins the story by presenting sinful mankind’s condition before salvation. Mankind, following Satan’s attack in the garden of Eden is now sinful, naked in God’s presence and mortally wounded. Sinful man is now half dead…. He is spiritually dead while still possessing physical life. Soon, however, he will be totally dead without God’s intervention in his life. This was the lawyer’s current condition.
31) And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
Here, the priest represents organized religions. They can do nothing to heal this man’s condition. Religion without submission to the will and ways of God is simply hypocrisy and of no value to God nor man.
32) And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked [on him], and passed by on the other side.
Next, the Levite (a picture of the law) passes by, once again of no help to this wounded man. All of our works of righteousness are nothing in the sight of a Just God.
33) But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion [on him],
Jesus Christ is pictured by this Samaritan. Here Christ comes to the wounded one, the helpless one, the half dead one. When Christ saw him, out of mercy based upon love He begins to help meet his needs.
34) And went to [him], and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
Christ goes to the sinner, medicates his wounds of sin with the Spirit (oil) and His blood (wine). He then supports and enables him through His Spirit (beast) leading him to His church (inn).
It was there at His church that this man was cared for by God and loved.
35) And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave [them] to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Here Christ is seen paying the debt of the sinner, giving this debt payment to the host (the saints in the congregation). By this He is enabling the host to care for the newly saved one. In other words, He is giving the church the truth and leadership and other blessings so that they can properly care for him. At Christ’s second coming a further set of blessings (rewards) will be given to those who are faithful in caring for this newly saved man.
36) Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
After Christ told this story, trying to show this man his sin and the salvation and care that is found in Christ, Jesus now points him to the answer to his question… the Samaritan is the true neighbor of the man is such great need.
37) And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Now once, again Christ places the responsibility on the man to show mercy to those who has wronged him. Again Christ, is trying to show him his sin and need to come to Christ for salvation.
For those who are saved …
We need to never minimize what the Lord did for us when He came to us, saved, us and then led us by His Spirit into His church where we are fed and cared for.
For those who have yet to be saved…
Don’t be like this man who was unwilling to take an honest look at his sin and spiritual needs. By being honest with ourselves, and our God, we can not only see our spiritual need and look to Him to meet that need.
Heb 12:2 (KJV)
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.