Summary: The parable confronts us with the demand to make a decision concerning the command just give by Jesus. Are we, or are we not, going to love our neighbor as our self.
LUKE 10: [25-] 29-37 [PARABLES IN LUKE]
THE GOOD SAMARITAN
Few people really understand US Internal Revenue Service income tax regulations and for good reason. According to Forbes magazine, in 2013 tax codes surpassed four million word mark. In fact, the tax codes have become so complex that even the experts have a hard time processing all the regulations. It is burdensome in its complexity.
The leaders in ancient Israel did the same thing to their religious system. They made excessive laws to govern man’s relationship with God. The growing burden of religious regulations had increase to the point where even experts in the law struggled to understand it at its core. When one such legal expert asked Jesus what matter most? Jesus affirmed that, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself” (10:27). From the lawyer’s question about who is his neighbor comes the parable of the Good Samaritan.
Of all the many parables that Jesus told, the parable of the Good Samaritan is one of the best known and most loved. This is partly because it is very much a human interest story and is painted in vivid colors. It is a story that will live forever.
This parable Jesus told is about a man who stopped to help another. A man had been ambushed, stripped, robbed, and left for dead. Others had hurried by, too busy with their own affairs to be interrupted. Then a Samaritan on his way down to Jericho encountered the wounded Jew lying alongside the road. The Samaritan, who was hated by the Jews, would be expected to pass by, but he "had compassion."
No thoughtful person can read this parable without asking himself, "Which person am I most like-the priest, the Levite, or the good Samaritan?" The concluding statement: “Go, and do thou likewise” hits us right in the gut with that challenge. We are forced to stop and think, make a personal assessment of our attitudes and actions toward needy humanity, and do something about it. We cannot be neutral or negligent. We must come out and measure up to Jesus' demands if we are going to meet His approval. The parable confronts us with the demand to make a decision concerning the command just give by Jesus. Are we, or are we not, going to love our neighbor as our self (CIT)?
I. RELIGIOUS CONCERN, 29-32.
II. COMPASSIONATE INVOLVEMENT, 33-35.
III. CALL TO COMPASSION, 36-37.
In verse 29 this self-justifying lawyer [with excellent religious instruction,] wanted to know how inclusive the love of God demanding us to be. “But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
This question was asked Jesus by the legal expert [one who spe¬cialized in the interpretation and application of the more than 600 commandments of the Old Testament] is in response to Jesus' affirmation that the greatest commandments of the law were, first, to love God, and second, to “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Luke 10:27; Matthew 22:39).
Implicit in this question is the desire to limit who could be considered one’s neighbor. The Lord Jesus answered this question by telling the famous story of the good Samaritan, which concludes with the proverb, "Go, and do thou likewise" (Luke 10:37).
So Jesus answered him with a parable about a man who stopped to help another. We find in verse 30 a man who had been ambushed, stripped, robbed, and left for dead. ‘Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.
Jesus describes a normal trip a person would take going through the mountainous pass that fell 3,300 feet along the 17 miles route from Jerusalem to Jericho. The road winded through many narrow passes and by many large rocks providing bandits many opportunities to prey on travelers. A gang of cutthroats “stripped him and beat him.” Robbers in the Middle East were known to beat their victims only if they resisted. It can be assumed that this fellow tried to keep what was rightfully his and consequently suffered a severe beating. The robbed Jew was also left naked and unconscious on the main business road from Jerusalem down to Jericho.
Fellow travelers soon happened upon the severely injured man. In verse 31 a priest happens upon the man. “And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
A priest [a decedent of Aaron] was the highest official in the Jewish religion. The priest hurriedly crosses to the other side of the road and continued on to his important business. The bleeding man may have looked dead but Rabbinical law required him to bury any corpse he found.