Summary: The parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us that love for God is demonstrated by our love for others - especially our enemies.
On his journey to Jerusalem, Jesus taught his disciples that love for God is demonstrated by love for others.
Let’s read the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37:
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “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.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)
In research done by Darley and Batson at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1973, a group of theology students was told that they were to go across campus to deliver a sermon on the topic of the Good Samaritan. As part of the research, some of these students were told that they were late and needed to hurry up. Along their route across campus, Darley and Batson had hired an actor to play the role of a victim who was coughing and suffering.
Ninety percent of the “late” students ignored the needs of the suffering person in their haste to get across campus. As the study reports, “Indeed, on several occasions, a seminary student going to give his talk on the parable of the Good Samaritan literally stepped over the victim as he hurried away!”
Jesus taught that our love for God is demonstrated by our love for others. He used the parable of the Good Samaritan to teach this truth.
The analysis of the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 teaches us that our love for God is demonstrated by our love for others – especially our enemies.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Occasion for the Parable (10:25-29)
2. The Overview of the Parable (10:30-35)
3. The Observation from the Parable (10:36-37)
I. The Occasion for the Parable (10:25-29)
First, observe the occasion for the parable.
Most people know the parable of the Good Samaritan, but they do not always recall the occasion for the parable. Jesus rejoiced that his Father had revealed his truth regarding the plan of salvation to people with childlike faith instead of to the wise and understanding. That prompted a question.
A. The First Question (10:25-26)
First, notice the first question.
Luke said that a lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (10:25).
It is helpful to note that a lawyer in Israel in Jesus’ day was a theologian. This man knew the Scriptures and sought to apply them to daily life.
Now, he asked the question that is of supreme importance, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” There is no question more important in this life, is there? All people have a sense of eternity, and want to know how to get there.
However, the lawyer was not asking this question with sincerity. Luke noted that he was putting Jesus to the test. How foolish to put Jesus to the test!
But the question itself was contradictory. The lawyer asked, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” An inheritance is by definition a gift. It is something that is received, usually because of a relationship with the donor. The lawyer misunderstood the nature of eternal life. It is not something that is earned or deserved; it is a gift that is received.