3 things to know about the parable of the Good Samaritan

This parable appears in the tenth chapter of the book of Luke and is told in verses 25 to 37.

PTo begin, a lawyer asks Jesus, “Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life? (Luke 10:25). Jesus asks him a rhetorical question in return in the next verse. What is his interpretation of the law? The doctor of the law accurately relates the first and second greatest commandments. Hearing this, Jesus lets him know that he is right, but then he has another question. And this question is so poignant that it is relevant in our world today. "And who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10:29). After this question, Jesus tells the parable of the Good Samaritan.

1. We are all someone's neighbor

The second great commandment is to love others as you love yourself. Notice that the Bible does not have to encourage us to love ourselves as it urges us to love others. Loving yourself is natural, but taking care of others is not. The Jewish man on his way to Jericho was robbed and nearly died. A priest and a Levite passed by him. Even without context, we can see that helping the injured would have somehow made people uncomfortable, whether for inconvenience, conflict of interest, or some other reason.

They did not have enough compassion to come to his aid and even passed to the other side of the road. Their actions were not a reflection of love. When Jesus gave the command to love others, he left no one apart from that command. In fact, Jesus openly told his disciples to bless their persecutors (Romans 12:14).

We are called to love others, regardless of the difference. In the parable, two people who did not know each other better than their culture dictated could still meet. The Samaritan did something that was socially unacceptable, but fully acceptable to Jesus. He made a personal sacrifice on behalf of a Jew.

Love unifies people regardless of religion, physical appearance, personality, or culture.

2. The sin of indifference

For the priest and the Levite the Jew did not have enough interest in their eyes for them to bother giving him help. This sin of indifference led them to avoid taking action and to ignore the command that Jesus gave us. The Levites were one of the 12 tribes of Israel and the priest also naturally has a religious background.

Yet neither of them adequately reflected the love of God. This informs us that no matter how much faith we or anyone else claims, it is our actions, not just our beliefs, that must reflect love.

3. God does not forsake us

There are a number of passages in the Bible which indicate that God is master of all circumstances. Matthew 10:29 provides us with a good example of God's sovereignty over all instances of life. This same level of control is present in the parable. The injured Jew had no control over his circumstances. Yet God provided for her through the Samaritan. God sent someone who had compassion, financial stability, and love to help the sick recover.

When people abandon us, we can count on God to always be with us.

Aaron Brown

Article reproduced in part and translated from the site Crosswalk.

Image Credit: Renata Sedmakova / Shutterstock.com

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