Summary: One of most familiar parables is the story of the Good Samaritan, found only in the book of Luke. It is a story that speaks about attitudes and true faith demonstrating itself in action.
The Compassionate Samaritan
Introduction: The story known as the parable of the Good Samaritan is found only in the book of Luke. This most familiar parable has inspired painting, sculpture, poetry, and film. Many have allegorized this story to represent Christ as the Good Samaritan reaching out to redeem a lost soul. This application does fit and is a proper application of its illustrated truths. Others have seen the parable merely as a story to encourage helping others. But the parable of the compassionate Samaritan is more than that; it is a story that speaks about attitudes and true faith demonstrating itself in action.
I. The Confrontation of the Lawyer – verses 25-29
A. An expert in the Jewish law confronted Jesus Christ with the question “What must I do to inherit eternal life?" To which Christ replied “What is written in the law?” The lawyer answered by saying, “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 neighbor as thyself” Jesus said, “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.”
B. Christ said on another occasion in Matthew 22:40 "On these two commandments the whole law hangs, and the prophets"
C. Galatians 3:10 “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.”
D. Eternal life depends completely upon keeping perfectly the entire law of God. But man with his sinful nature has never nor can keep the law absolutely. What has always been impossible for every man, the God-man, Jesus Christ has kept the law inviolate, all of it.
E. These two commandments go hand in glove and sum up the Christian experience.
F. Loving God completely can only be accomplished through a personal relationship with Him through Jesus Christ as one’s personal Redeemer and Lord.
G. When one loves God completely it is evidenced in a love for others.
H. 1 John 4:20 “If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?”
I. Seeking to justify himself and trying to save face the lawyer asks, “Who is my neighbor?” He knows that he doesn’t possess eternal life. He knows that he does not properly love – at least not all men.
J. Christ answers the question in the story of the compassionate Samaritan
II. The Plight of the Traveler – verse 30
A. A traveler journeyed along a seventeen mile downward stretch of road from Jerusalem to Jericho known as “The Way of Blood”. It was called such because it was a perilous road as highwaymen, violent robbers, often attacked those who traveled it. As the traveler journeyed we are told that this man was encircled by the thieves, who stripped him of his clothing and beat him to incapacitate him from seeking help or going after them. They left him half-dead. There he lay on the side of the road alone and helpless.
B. Like this man there are people who along the highways of life that we traverse that have genuine hurts and pain needing someone to care.
C. Again, this man was not unlike so many in this world who are spiritually helpless having been left to the die at the side of life’s road at the hand of sin and the devil’s legions.
D. The sense of this futility is seen in the words that Jean-Paul Sarte wrote: "Man can count on no one but himself; he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth." - H. Lindsell
III. The Disinterestedness of the Priest – Verse 31
A. A priest coming from worshipping God at Jerusalem. Seeing the man he for whatever reason is disinterested, doesn’t bother to take time to see whether this man is dead or alive, and simply passes by him without a thought or moment’s hesitation. He saw the man but didn’t take time to notice his condition or need.
B. The priest, who knew the Law, knew what was required in the law.
C. You would expect the priest, of all people, who knew the command to love your neighbor as yourself, would do that which was required. Externally this priest was religious but appeared to be merely a hearer of the word and not a doer.
D. A Tampa, FL, man was brutally attacked, bound, shot, and left inside his automobile to die. Later, a parking meter officer happened by the black BMW (which was parked only a block from police headquarters) ... and dutifully wrote a parking ticket and left it on the car’s windshield! He never noticed the victim inside the car. The man was discovered only after ANOTHER meter officer had written a second parking ticket and was in the process of placing it on the windshield alongside the first one.