Summary: Seventh in this series. The main point of the Parable of the Good Samaritan is that eternal life isn't a matter of what I must do for God bu rather what God has done for me.
This week as I was preparing for this message I did as I often do after I first spend time with the text itself and looked at some other sermons on this passage just to get a feel for how others handle this parable. And in the process I ran across what seemed to me to be a pretty good sermon on the passage. That message was titled “Whatever it Takes to Serve God” and it focused on the actions of the man we usually call the “Good Samaritan” and used him as an example of how those of us who are followers of Jesus are to minister to the needs of others.
It was a well crafted sermon, which made appropriate use of humor and used great alliteration to describe the 5 requirements for serving others:
But based on the rest of my study this week, I couldn’t help but feel that the pastor had developed a very good message that had somehow missed the main point of the passage. But as I looked at that sermon in some more detail it started to look more familiar. And when I went to look and see who had produced that sermon, I discovered why – it was a sermon I had preached about 8 years ago.
The parable that we’ll look at this morning – which we all know as the Parable of the Good Samaritan – is without a doubt the most familiar of all the parables. Out of that parable we’ve coined the term “Good Samaritan” to describe a person who treats others with compassion and cares for their needs. We have developed “Good Samaritan” laws to protect those who attempt to give aid, but unintentionally harm someone in giving that care. And there are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of “Good Samaritan” hospitals around the world.
And it’s pretty apparent from all of those things, and from my previous sermon on this parable, that the message that is most often taken from this parable is that we are to be like the “good Samaritan” in the way we treat others.
While I hope that is a legitimate take away from this parable since that’s how I approached the parable eight years ago, another careful look at this parable now leads me to believe that Jesus’ main purpose in telling this parable was something completely different.
Before we get to the parable itself, let me just say that this whole situation just reminds me that my walk with Jesus is a process and that as I get to know Him and His Word better, I think God allows me to see things in His Word that just weren’t apparent to me previously. It’s a great reminder of why we need to continually spend time in the Bible if we’re going to grow in our relationship with God.
Go ahead and turn with me in your Bibles to Luke chapter 10. Although the parable itself doesn’t begin until verse 30, I’m going to begin reading in verse 25 since we need to put this parable in its proper context. Please follow along as I read.
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 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.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 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. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 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. 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.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”