Summary: The three character types and philosophies seen in Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan.
The Good Samaritan Luke 10:30-37
INTRO.: The background of this story is a question that came to Jesus from a lawyer: "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" His motive was to test Jesus. Jesus turns the question back to him and he answers correctly. To onlookers, it must have seemed he asked a question to which he already knew the answer.
We must remember Jesus had not yet died for the sins of men. The answer given was the best answer available at the time. Having asked such an obvious question, the lawyer must find a way to save face. So, he asks a follow up question about which the lawyers carried on an ongoing debate: "Who is my neighbor?"
Jesus answers with this story. Read text. Three observations about the story.
1. Disaster reveals who real friends are.
2. Character is revealed in how one reacts to human need when no one else is around to see.
3. Reality of one’s profession is seen in willingness or unwillingness to use his resources to help others.
Our attitude toward possessions is important. Jesus paints a picture of a needy man and spotlights the character of others. There are three personalities seen:
I. The Greedy Grabber: the thieves philosophy is "What’s yours is mine. I’ll take it."
A. Not uncommon today:
1. Theft ranges from Enron executives to petty thieves.
2. The cost of theft is millions almost daily.
3. Most thieves are sneaky - not violent. They are still thieves.
4. Many think the only sin is getting caught.
B. Even religious folk must beware of this temptation: it may take some very subtle forms.
1. Rob employers by not doing an honest day’s work, Rob employees by not paying a fair wage. Acceptable in society.
2. Cheat on taxes by not declaring extra earnings. No harm in cheating the government? Harms a cheater!
3. "Everyone does it" not a good excuse." We are not to act like everyone.
4. "No one will miss it." "Only insurance co. will be hurt." are common excuses.
5. Satan authors these lies.
II. The Selfish Keeper, represented by priest and Levite: he says, "What’s mine is mine. I’ll keep it."
A. Many excuses were available to these men:
1. "He asked for it." Traveled a dangerous road alone.
2. He might be dead anyway. Ceremonial defilement may have been a real concern.
3. The fear robbers might still be near.
4. The priest and Levite may have been in a hurry.
5. May have feared someone would blame them for the poor victim’s plight.
6. Perhaps thought, "I can’t afford to help."
7. Jesus didn’t think any of these excuses worth mentioning.
B. This self-centered attitude is socially acceptable:
1. No one would criticize or even notice their neglect.
2. Their behavior is "normal" by human standards.
C. What’s wrong with their attitude then?
1. Left the needy man as he was found. The victim is no better for their passing.
2. No love is seen. Even an animal might do better.
3. No religion is seen in "religious" men. They shame their positions.
4. This attitude causes modern churches to die, souls to be lost.
5. It is erroneous. The truth is; "What’s mine is God’s"
III. The Selfless Giver, represented by the Samaritan: His philosophy is "What is mine is yours. You may have it."
A. What kind of man was he?
1. Not popular. Hated by Jews.
2. Not wealthy but had good credit.
3. Had compassion. Put others first.
4. Generous. Gave two days’ wages. Offered more.
B. His attitude is Christian.
1. His actions demonstrate love.
2. He followed God’s example. I Jn. 3:16-18
3. He asked himself "How much can I do?’ not "How much must I do?"
C. He provides a powerful example for the modern Christian and his Church:
1. We are to be the world’s neighbor. We can never ignore the plight of the needy if we follow Jesus.
2. Our world’s greatest need is for the Gospel. We must share it with our neighbors.
3. God has blessed us with the Gospel. We must share. "Freely you have received. Freely give."
4. God may send opportunities to help others and when we do it in His Name, we meet a double need.
CONC.: Most of us are never put in the Samaritan’s position. We are tested in subtler ways as needs of others are revealed. Our character is seen in our attitude toward these needs and our possessions.