“The Good Samaritan”
March 18, 2018 A.D.
by Pastor Ben Willis

April 19th, 2018 by mdevita

LUKE 10:25-37 [NLTse]

25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking Him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”

27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”

29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

31 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. 32 A Temple assistant [a Levite] walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

33 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. 34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, [almost $200] telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

36 “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

37 The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”


The road between Jericho and Jerusalem was a fitting location for Jesus’ story. It’s said it was “treacherously” windy – a favorite of robbers – offering lots of nooks and shadowy places where bandits could hide, and from which they could surprise and ambush travelers. And Jesus said that, along this route some bandits attacked a Jew, beat him up, stripped him of all his possessions, and left him for dead alongside the road. And then in Jesus’ story, He said that a priest came along…

Now, if there was anyone who should have known God’s law of love, you would have thought it would have been a priest. You’d think that his calling would have meant he was a person of compassion, wanting to help others see and live close to the Lord Almighty Whose greatest commandment was to love Him and to love others. But, in addition to the laws commanding His people to love, the Lord had given many laws in His Word that talked about how doing certain things – like touching blood or touching a dead person – would pollute your soul and keep you from Worship for a time and, if you were a priest, keep you from leading others in Worship for a time. (Of course, God’s laws also explained how a person’s soul could be purified and become clean again after touching blood or a dead person.) So, it would require sacrifice for a worshiper and a worship leader to help those in need, but you would be able to Worship the Lord and lead others in Worship after completing the required ceremonies.

It speaks to the Jews understanding of God, and the condition of the priesthood as a whole in Jesus’ day, that it’s a priest whom Jesus portrays as showing no love or compassion for the man, not even checking to see whether he was dead or alive,

but passing by him on the other side of the road altogether!

Next comes a Levite, a member of that tribe in Israel that had been ordained to assist the priests in all the work of the Temple and Temple Worship. Where the Lord says that the priest didn’t even check on the beaten man’s condition, the Lord Jesus, at least, says that the Levite went over to see how the man was. And yet, even though the Levite would have known God’s law and the importance of loving your neighbor across it, he, too, after seeing the direness of the man’s situation, passes by on the other side of the road, as well…

At this point it’s probably important to make clear that Samaritans were considered the lowest class of humanity by the Jewish people because Samaritans used to be Jews from the northern tribes, but their holy lineage had been watered down by their intermarriage with non-Jews who didn’t keep God’s law. So, over the generations, the Samaritan-people’s observance of the law became twisted and considered an abomination by their cousins, the Jews, as well. So, Jews had nothing to do with Samaritans. A Jewish person wouldn’t even travel through Samaritan territory, but would go around it to the east or the west, adding a day or more’s time to their journeys by going around it instead of going through!

And that revulsion seems to be at the heart of the Lord Jesus’ message here: Because it is the despised Samaritan, not the revered Jewish priest or Levite, who lives out God’s law of love. This “hated” Samaritan does not consider the beaten man’s race or religion. No. He dresses the man’s wounds with wine (to disinfect them) and oil (to sooth the pain). He puts the man on his animal and takes him to an inn for rest and recuperation and covers the bill himself. Then he goes even further, telling the innkeeper to spare no expense in taking good care of the man, and that he – the Samaritan – would pay for any extra expenses the innkeeper had incurred when he came back through the area again!

Three things strike me about this Parable of the Good Samaritan.

First, Almighty God has made clear to all humanity in Jesus Christ that He loves us! And the way God has told us He wants us to respond to His love is to love Him and to love others. (The apostle John underlines this when he writes, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, Whom we cannot see?” So, when the priest and Levite refused to help the robbed man they were showing that they didn’t truly love God. Yes, for them to have helped the man they might have sacrificed being able to Worship and being able to lead others in Worship for a time. But love often requires sacrifice, doesn’t it?

Second, the Lord Jesus seems to be making absolutely clear to us that you don’t have to be the right kind of person to show the world God’s love. According to those around you, you may be too old… Or you may be too young… You may be too short… You may be too tall… You may not be popular enough… You may not be smart enough… You may not be athletic enough… Or wealthy enough… Or good looking enough… Etc… to be a part of this or that or some other thing, according to those around you. But the wonderful news is that – whoever you are – God made you “very good”. And though every human being has fallen short of God’s perfect goodness, God has saved you if you have put your trust in Jesus Christ. And God sent Jesus to show all humanity what God’s love looks like. And Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit and wants to send us so that we can show others what God’s love looks like, too! Empowered by the grace that is ours by faith in Jesus Christ, anybody – even a hated Samaritan, even you and me! – can show those around them (around us) what God’s love looks like!

And, thirdly – lastly – what shows God’s love to the world most strikingly is when we love and help and have compassion on those who are in

need, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, political party, religion, etc… Many people around the world – believers and unbelievers, alike – will help those who are like them or who they like. Helping loved ones, showing compassion towards friends, … everyone does that. No, we show God’s love most strikingly to those around us when the criterion we set for helping others is need: If they are in need and we are able to help, then we understand that they are our neighbor, and we give to them as generously and freely and without expectation of return as the Lord Jesus has given to us.

As we go from this holy place this morning to live by faith and apply what the Lord has been saying to us in this message, I ask you to look at your life and think about someone around you who’s in need but who you don’t want to have anything to do with… The Lord Jesus is calling you (and me) today to show them His love and mercy.

Who has treated you so horribly that maybe you’ve even wished they were dead? Well, in the cross and from the Throne of Grace in Heaven, Jesus is calling you to show them His love and mercy.

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