Parable of The Good Samaritan

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Parable of The Good Samaritan

Sermon by  Thomas Thornhill Jr

Passage: Luke 10:25-37


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Having completed the parables of Matthew 13, we want to focus on some other parables.   As previously noted we have about 32-33 parables (the difference is based upon what some determine to be a parable).   I want to devote the next 2 months to various parables taught by Jesus.  We will not cover all of them, but I have selected a variety of parables that deal with a variety of subjects.  Some are the more familiar, while others less known.  Today, I want to begin with another of Jesus’ better known parables – The Good Samaritan (others being the Parable of the Sower and the Prodigal Son).

This particular parable comes with a context as to why Jesus taught it, and one that must be taken into consideration.  It is also a parable I have alluded to from time to time in sermons as it relates to the way we deal with others.  Today, we look at this parable in greater detail and remind ourselves of its message, which we need desperately today.


  1. The background
    1. Jesus is in the midst of His time preaching and teaching. We read in Luke 10:25-28 that a lawyer stood up to test Jesus.   He asks, “what shall I do to inherit eternal life.”
    2. Jesus asks him what his answer is – a good way to interact with one you are studying with AND to get clarification as to what they are seeking
    3. The lawyer answers, Love God with your all, and your neighbor as yourself. NOTE that the Jews understood these verses and saw their importance.   Loving God is taken from Deuteronomy 6:5, and loving your neighbor is taken from Leviticus 19:18.  The lawyer, a student of the law, would have understood these things.  We know Jesus later emphasized these two commands (Matthew 22:37-39) and noted that all the law and prophets were established upon them (more in a lesson later this year).
    4. Jesus replied, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” (IF only the lawyer would have stopped there
    5. BUT, vs. 29 notes, “He, seeking to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’”
    6. This prompted Jesus to tell this parable that we want to address.
    7. NOTE: As we begin, Jesus is using this to teach one who likely is not a follower of Him. Point: Many of His parables WERE understood even by His enemies.
  2. The Parable
    1. A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Galilee.
      1. Note: While not specifically stated, likely Jesus in mentioning the man had a Jew in mind –
        1) The lawyer was a Jew, 2) He was quoting from the Old Law, and 3) considering the other characters in the parable, this is the most likely intention, as we will notice.
      2. Jerusalem was a city in the mountains, with an elevation of about 2500 feet. Jericho was about 800 feet BELOW sea level.  The distance between them was about a 14 miles journey (that is more than 3200 foot drop in elevation).
        The road was a wilderness region with mountains and canyons.  It was treacherous and known for its hazards including bandits.
    2. He fell among thieves – again, this was not uncommon back then, he was stripped of his clothing, wounded and left for dead.
    3. By chance, a certain priest and then a Levite saw him and passed by. We are told the Levite looked and then passed by on the other side.
      1. Obviously, a priest would have been a religious leader, and like so was the Levite. As such they ought to have been caring and compassionate people.  Priests dealt with sin and sinful people who were striving to be right with God, seeking forgiveness/justification AND warning all about godly behavior.
      2. Levites, the tribe of priests (but not all Levites were priests), helped to care for the tabernacle/temple in various capacities. They too would have been familiar with people struggling with sins and seeking forgiveness/justification.
      3. They ought to have been compassionate and caring about others.
      4. Recall the verses the lawyer quoted to Jesus as the greatest command. Does their action sound like they loved their neighbor?
    4. The Samaritan
      1. Samaritans – we are despised breed of people to the Jews. We learn about them from Old Testament history.  They were the offspring of the Assyrian captivity which defeated Samaria (capital of Israel/divided) ~722 BC.  Assyria would displace nations as part of their strategy.  The Samaritans were the offspring of captives brought to Israel who lived among the Israelites left behind.
        In the days of Jesus, Samaritans were highly despised by Jews as half-breeds.  And the feeling with somewhat mutual.    That adds to this story.
      2. He had compassion – this Samaritan did not see an enemy Jew, rather a human being with a need.
      3. He went the extra mile – he bandaged his wounds, poured oil and wine on them, set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and cared for him.
        As we was ready to depart the next day, he gave the inn keeper two denarii (a denarius was considered the wage of a common worker) and said he would pay him more if need when he returned.
    5. The application of the parable – Jesus asked, “Who was the neighbor?” The lawyer rightly answered, “He who showed mercy on him”.   Jesus replied: “Go and do likewise”.
  • The Application
    1. How is this parable about the kingdom of heaven? The lawyer asked about being saved.  This parable explains PART of what is involved in securing the kingdom of heaven after this life.
    2. But its primary meaning is found in the context – it answers the question: Who is my neighbor?
      1. In defining a neighbor, we need to think in terms of being a Christian. And thus, the answer is – ANYONE we have opportunity to help.
      2. And we need to factor this in when we look at the command, “Love your neighbor as yourself”. That verse is actually found 8 times in the New Testament.
        1. 3 times in Matthew – 5:43 – where Jesus said we are to love our enemies; 19:19 – Jesus speaking to the rich, young ruler; and Matthew 22:39 – on another occasion when Jesus is asked the same question we have here.
        2. Mark 12:31 – same occasion as Matt. 22:39 & Luke 10:27 –our text
        3. Romans 13:9 where it is described as the summary of all the commandments
        4. Galatians 5:14 where “all the law is fulfilled in one word…”
        5. James 2:8 where it is described as the royal law.
      3. How much concern do we show for others? The above verses alone emphasize our need for this. But there is so much more.
        1. Our brethren
          1. We are to love and care for them – James 2:14-17 declares faith without works as being dead.
          2. 1 John 3:10-11 – whoever does not practice righteousness or love his brother is not from God. Also 3:17-18 which again emphasizes the brother in need and not helping him.
          3. Matthew 25:31-46 – one of the factors when we stand in judgment will be how we cared for others, especially our brethren.
        2. What about the lost? –
          1. 2 Corinthians 5:11, we ought to be concerned about their souls. ONE of the best ways to create opportunities to share the gospel is to do good for your neighbors.
          2. First, you are simply being a good example – Matthew 5:16
          3. Second, it shows you genuinely care about others, including them.
            Just like Jesus who showed great compassion.
          4. NOTE: This needs to be sincere, not simply a technique to try and get prospects to teach. IOW, regardless of whether they are willing to study with you or not, you still be the good neighbor.  That is SO MUCH the life of a Christian – Romans 15:2, seek to please your neighbor; Romans 13:10 – love does no harm to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (this follows vs. 9).
        3. What about our enemies? –
          1. Again, be reminded of Matthew 5:43-45 – love them, bless them, pray for them and do good to them.
            Note here the command to “do good” to them.
          2. Romans 12:19-21 is a great passage to think about here. Act like the Christian, even if they do not.
          3. And this includes your love for a government that is less than supportive of God and Christians (cf. 1 Timothy 2:1-3 – pray for them).
      4. This is also about “the golden rule
        1. Matthew 7:12. The Good Samaritan illustrates that so clearly.
        2. Commentators in times past have noted in this parable the 3 different “rules” of life: (We noted this when examining that text)
          1. The iron rule – “Might makes right” – the thieves took what they wanted.
          2. The silver rule – “do no harm” – both the priest and Levite demonstrated this at best, but in this case it was a total failure – perhaps “tarnished silver”. The did no harm to the wounded man, but they certainly didn’t help him.
          3. The golden rule – the good Samaritan – he went out of his way and even sacrificed for a Jew (a likely enemy). This truly is “caring enough to sacrifice for what is best” (my definition of agape love – TT).
      5. Finally, be careful in judging who is worthy of your help and who is not.
        1. The Samaritan simply acted. He didn’t ask questions.  He saw the need and was able to help.  So he did!  It is that simple.
        2. We sometimes make judgments about who to help or not. And while we MUST make judgments, we need to make sure our motives in that are genuine and pure.  Do be prejudiced or hard hearted in this.
        3. Consider Galatians 6:10 – do good to all, especially your brethren.

The parable of the good Samaritan is a good reminder to us about our need to be Christians at all times and before everyone.  IF we practice this fully, we WILL be given opportunities to share not only the love of our Lord, but His message as well.  And that makes it worthwhile.  So, how do you view your neighbors?  Think about it!