The Good Samaritan

Luke 10:30-37  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. 31  And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32  And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, 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 on him, 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. 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. 36  Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37  And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.


I.       The purpose of this parable is to teach this lawyer, and the people standing by, the true purpose of the law.

A.    The law is not to save, or separate families, nations, or peoples.

B.    The law is to instruct us in how to properly serve God.

1.      God has given us all the instructions necessary to live a life acceptable to Him.

2.      If you want to know what to do in order to please God, then read, absorb and obey the law of God.


II.         The setting of this parable.

A.    Christ is answering a question a lawyer put to Him.

1.      A lawyer is not like a lawyer today.

2.      A lawyer in the days of Christ was a person who studied the Mosaic law.

3.      This was a person who could supposedly fill the “unlearned” in on all the various, minute concepts the law was supposed to be teaching that they didn’t understand.

4.      The truth is that the lawyers knew less about the principles of the Mosaic law than the common people.

5.      The same thing is true today, when the lawyers of the United States know less about the moral concepts and principles of daily living than the common, “unlearned” citizenry.

6.      Both the lawyers in Christs’ day and in our day operate so their profession will continue to increase, regardless of the consequences to individuals or society.

B.    Verse 25 - Note that the lawyer stood up.

1.      He stood up so that he could be heard and seen as being above the other people there.

2.      This reminds me of Christ teaching that at a feast, we ought to take the lower seat instead of the higher seat.  Luke 14:8-11.

C.    The word “tempt” is exactly the same Greek word that was used when Satan tempted Christ.  (See Matthew 4:7 and I Corinthians 10:9)  It means to test throughly.

1.      Matthew 4:7 - Christ told Satan, “It is written again, thou shall not tempt the Lord, thy God.”

2.      I Corinthians 10:9 - Paul instructed the Corinthians not to tempt Christ as some of Israel tempted Christ and were destroyed of serpents.

3.      The temptation of Matthew 26:41 when Christ was facing Calvary. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.  “a putting to proof (by experiment [of good], experience [of evil], solicitation, discipline or provocation); by impl. adversity:--temptation.”[1]

D.    The lawyer called Christ “Master”.

1.      This word means an instructor, a doctor (in instruction), a master teacher.

2.      The lawyer is not calling Christ “lord”, “Lord”, or “LORD”.

3.      I believe he called Christ “Master” in an attempt of seeming respect, especially in front of all these people.

4.      In truth, he has no respect nor admiration for Christ at all.

E.     The lawyer’s question.

1.      It is my opinion that the lawyer is trying to trick Christ with this question about eternal life.

2.      He really believes eternal life can be found in the law, not as a gift to undeserving sinners.

F.     Why I believe the lawyer is a counterfeit follower of Christ.

1.      Verse 25 - He stands up to stand out in the group.

2.      Verse 25 - He tempts Christ with his question.  The word “tempt” means “to test throughly”, therefore this lawyer doesn’t already believe Jesus is the Christ, or the Saviour of his unrighteous soul.

3.      Verse 25 - He deceptively calls Christ master, when he has no intention of obeying His commandments.

4.      Verse 29 - He attempts to justify himself

5.      Verse 37 - He doesn’t do the things the law teaches that he ought to do.

G.    A lesson for us in this lawyer.

1.      We ought to be real, not just get our information and way of living out of a book.

2.      May God help us to proper, practical, observation of His Word in our daily lives.


III.  The purpose of this parable is not to reflect the fall and recovery of man

A.    This interpretation is held by many, but it is not the true interpretation.

B.    I am inserting this thought into this parable so we can learn a very valuable lesson.

1.      It is possible to incorrectly interpret a passage of scripture with correct doctrines.

2.      The following interpretation is incorrect, yet most of the doctrines are correct.

3.      Remember, Paul told Timothy to rightly divide the scripture, II Tim. 2:15.

C.   Correct doctrines incorrectly applied.  (Please note that scripture is supposed to interpret scripture - this principle is sadly lacking.)

1.      The certain man represents Adam, the representative head of the human race.

2.      His going down from Jerusalem to Jericho represents his going out from Paradise into a world of thorns and briars.

3.      His falling among thieves represents the powers of hell, which assault him and leave him stripped of all heavenly raiment.

4.      His wounded condition indicates the result of sin upon him, which leaves him helpless and unable to get to heaven on his own.

5.      He is “half-dead” indicating that his spirit is dead, but his body is still alive.

6.      The priest represents the patriarchal dispensations, which left humans still lost and unable to find a safe haven in salvation.

7.      The Levite represents the Levitical dispensations, which also have left humans lost.

8.      The Samaritan represents Jesus Christ, who was a native of Nazareth, a despised city in the eyes of the Jews.  (There is a very serious problem here.  Christ was not a half-Jew, half Gentile transplant.  His genealogies can be traced back to King David through Mary and Joseph.  His being born in Nazareth didn’t make him any less Jew, except in the eyes of the Pharisees and Scribes.)

9.      The trip the Samaritan took represents the trip Christ took from heaven to earth.  He came to give the aid that all human instrumentality could not give.

10.  Christ poured in wine, which represents His pure blood, which he shed for the redemption of sin.  (It is rather humorous to note that people I am acquainted with who believe in using grape juice in the Lord’s Supper believe this is literal wine, which has healing properties.  The recent change of words {some are actually saying the word wine means grape juice} makes this symbolism even more humorous!  Is the Good Samaritan pouring grape juice on these open wounds?  That’s not very healing!)

11.  Christ poured in oil, which represents the Holy Spirit, which he gives to all believers when they are saved.

12.  Christ puts the man on his own beast, which represents man’s inability to move himself into fellowship with God.

13.  Christ then brings the man to the inn, which represents the local church.

14.  The Old and New Testaments are the two pence which the Samaritan gives to the host to take care of the man, because they are the expounders and administrators of the manifold grace of God.

15.  The Samaritan declaring that he would provide additional funds for the care of the injured man represents rewards that God will provide for faithfulness.

16.  All of this sounds very good, and runs fairly smoothly throughout the parable.

17.  It is very important to remember that the purpose of this parable is to teach this lawyer, and the people standing by, that the true purpose of the law is not to give salvation, but to reveal to each individual his great wickedness before God, and his utter helplessness to conform to the demands of God for righteousness.  The lost person would then go to God, confessing his sinfulness, and asking for grace (that which he doesn’t deserve) and mercy (because he is guilty of high treason against God).

18.  See verse 37 - “…Go, and do thou likewise.”  If this parable teaches the fall of Adam and the redemption of sinners, why did Jesus tell this lawyer to “Go, and do thou likewise.”

19.  It is very dangerous to incorrectly apply correct doctrines to any scripture.  Error is the final result.


IV. The parable.

A.    The parable is given when the lawyer attempts to justify himself by wanting to know who his neighbor is.

1.      The purpose of the lawyers question was to tempt Christ into giving a false and/or confusing answer.

a.      The lawyer didn’t want to know the truth, mainly because he was sure he already knew the truth (his truth).

b.      He wasn’t seeking the truth of eternal life, because he believed he kept the law enough to already have eternal life.

c.      All he wanted to do was to show how smart he was and how dumb Christ was.

d.      He was attempting to justify himself (in whose eyes I’m not sure).

e.      Jesus turned the entire thing around and showed the importance of the law, whose principle teaching is to love God first, then you will be able to love one another; and all of our actions is the result of our inner feelings.  If we love God, we will do good to our fellow man, if we don’t love God, we won’t do good to our fellow man.

f.       Christ wants the man, and those standing by, to understand the purpose of the law - to realize their sinfulness before God.

g.      Galatians 3:24 - The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.

B.    The certain man represents no particular race or nationality.  This is just any person who finds themselves in a bad situation through no fault of their own.

C.    The priest represents the priesthood, which the lawyer knew quite well.

1.      When Jesus mentioned the priest passing by the injured man, the lawyer would probably agree that the priest had done the right thing.

2.      The lawyer believed that the injured man had his own problems, and that he wasn’t responsible to help him.

B.    The Levi represents the tribe of Levi, who, the lawyer knew, believed they were just a little bit better than everybody else.

1.      When Jesus mentioned the Levi passing by the injured man, the lawyer would probably agree that he had done the right thing.

2.      The lawyer would believe that the injured man had his own problems, and that he wasn’t responsible to help him.

C.    The Samaritans were half-Jew, half-Gentile transplants who settled west and north of Jerusalem.  They were hated by the Jews, who didn’t consider them Jews, but believed they were invaders into the promises God had given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

1.      When Jesus mentioned that a Samaritan helped the injured man, this would cause the lawyer to have pangs of conscience, or he would think that the wicked ought to help the wicked.

2.      Verse 36 - Christ asked the certain lawyer who was the neighbor to the fallen man.

3.      Verse 37 - The lawyer was forced to answer (before all the crowd), “He that showed mercy on him.”

4.      Verse 37 - Jesus told him to go and do likewise, showing him that the Mosaic law taught to have unbiased love and act on that love.


III.  The lessons of this parable

A.    That true mercy is not restricted to “Jew helping Jew”.

1.      This message in particular would hit this lawyer and the other Jews standing by very hard.

2.      The Jews believed they were serving God when they bypassed the stranded traveler.

3.      They also believed they were serving God when they persecuted and killed Christians.

B.    We must first help those that are nearest to us, but should not be restricted to those.

1.      It is important to note that Christ is teaching that Godly love is to help those that fall (not those that jump) into trouble.

2.      It is important to note that Christ taught to give limited help, not unlimited help. 

3.      Galatians 6:2 states, Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 

4.      Galatians 6:5 states, For every man shall bear his own burden. 

5.      Both are correct. 

C.   We ought to help those who aren’t our friends (at least they haven’t yet become our friends.  After we help them, friendships are likely to “break out”).

[1] Quick Verse for Windows, version 3.0h.  Copyright 1992-1994 by Craig Rairdin and Parsons Technology, Inc.  Strong’s definition G3986