Date: July 15, 2018
Pastor Steve Graham
Title: The Good Samaritan
SCRIPTURES: Psalm 119:145-176, Romans 12:1-2; 9-21, Luke
Luke 10: 25-37
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[a] 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.
BIG IDEA: The Good Samaritan
Luke is a different gospel. Matthew was written first as a testimony to the Jews. It was written hastily. Mark wrote his gospel second. He was not an original disciple. But Luke was saved under Paul’s ministry in Troas about 20 years after Jesus died. John wrote his gospel near the end. He wrote what the others didn’t include. When Luke went up to Jerusalem, he probably wanted to get all the info about Jesus from the Apostles. We imagine that when he heard the story of the good Samaritan, his heart must have rejoiced at the hero who was a Gentile like himself. This story does not appear in the other gospels.
Luke begins with the Law. Lawyers are always good at asking questions with some intent to trip up. The lawyer tempts Jesus. He asks Jesus: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Now that’s an interesting question. It is also in Mark 10:17. The rich young ruler asks the same question. There was more than just keeping the law that would grant you eternal life.So in Luke 10 this lawyer asks him what shall I do to inherit eternal life. So there’s kind of a trick here. You can’t inherit life; you inherit eternal death. All men have been declared dead in trespasses and sin. They will remain dead outside of a gracious Christ. Embracing the law will not get you eternal life. So there’s a little trick in the question.
Jesus asks him two things: what is written in the law and how do you read it? This makes all the difference – how we understand/interpret the law. In v27 he answers that you should love the Lord and love your neighbor as yourself.These are the first two commandments. Then he asks “Who is my neighbor” and Jesus then tells the story of the Samaritan.
To the Jew, people who were not Jewish were not really their neighbors; they were at liberty to not help them. The story that Jesus will tell them will also reflect on the right reading of the understanding of who our neighbor is. The lawyerdoesn’t really understand who is neighbor is. He believes only Jewish people are his neighbors. Jesus tells the story.
The man is going from Jerusalem to Jericho. Jerusalem is where the temple is, the priests, etc. This man was leaving Jerusalem. Jericho was not supposed to exist. It was not supposed to be rebuilt in Joshua’s day. It was a cursed city. It prevented the Jews from coming into the land. The man who built it lost his son in the dedication of the city and lost his second son in the consummation. So this city was not supposed to be built.
This man fell among thieves. They wounded him, striped him (took off his clothes off) and left him. It was obvious that he was Jewish by circumcision. He was left naked in the road with great wounds. He can do nothing for himself. He is half dead. That’s important. He’s bleeding out, he is probably calling out for some help. And then by chance (or providence) there came down a priest. The priest is in charge of the moral law. This priest was probably leaving Jerusalem to go home. Priests would minister for a month and then go home to their family. This priest saw that he was indeed Jewish and he saw him laying there wounded. He passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite comes by. He takes a good look at the man. He can see that he is Jewish. He passed by on the other side. Both of these men representing the legal and ceremonial law could identify him as a Jew. Then they walked on by. The moral law can’t help and the ceremonial law didn’t help him either. They showed this man no mercy. Right from the door of the temple the priest left, and he left the temple behind. All the laws and the ceremonies did nothing to help this fellow. He was perishing with wounds. Both of these high men who you would think would have helped, just looked to see that he was Jewish. They were compelled to help him but they did little to help him.
But a certain Samaritan – they are half breeds; people who are disregarded. The Samaritan showed more compassion than the other two. Their view of God, the law, etc was different from the Jews. They worshipped in the hills. They didn’t worship in the temple. The Samaritan would never have been welcomed at the temple. Jesus chooses a Samaritan! This Samaritan saw the man and had compassion – unbelievable. The Samaritan is going along the road to Jerusalem to do some trading. He comes upon this man who is naked and bleeding and he can clearly tell he is Jewish. This Samaritan has pity on him. He didn’t pass by. He didn’t justify himself. He knelt down and bound up the wounds. He went to him pouring in oil and wine. He probably tore his own fabric to bind up the wounds. He closed the wounds. And he set the man on his own beast. He carries him and puts him on his beast and brought him to an inn; a place where he could get rest. He got him a bed and took care of him. He invested time in care for him. He gave the innkeeper 2 pence to take care of the man. He has given his time, he gave his money, he gave his oil/wine, he ripped up part of his garments – imagine – he is doing this for a Jewish fellow expecting nothing in return. He makes good on the loan.
So we have the Samaritan caring for the Jew. I wonder if had gone the other way? Suppose it was a Samaritan who was injured. You could understand why people would leave him to die in the road – he is just a Samaritan. He would not get the kind of care that he gave.
Then Jesus asks– which one of these 3 was neighbor to the man. The lawyer says, standing up, he that showed mercy – he wouldn’t even say the term “Samaritan”. They hated them so much. Jesus said go and do likewise. He is told to show mercy to other people.
The true teaching of the story is before us. Jesus, who was often called a Samaritan by the Jews as his birth was questionable at best. He comes from Nazareth and nobody thinks much of him. They tempt him – they think he is some sort of radical.
The person in the road is a picture of humanity. That’s all of us. We have been beaten by the world. They will leave us wounded and bleeding. It’s Jesus who comes and helps us. Jesus is the Good Samaritan. We cannot fix ourselves. We lay in our own puddle of blood and Jesus comes along and carries us to the inn.
The inn is a picture of the church of Christ. Sinful people are brought here by Jesus to get good care. Without Christ taking compassion on us, we would perish. He pours His love into our life. Christ carries us to an inn, the church. The church will help us. When Christ comes again, He is coming even as we speak, He will take us home to Himself and then we will be well cared for.
Christ is the one that makes us where the moral and ceremonial law failed us. It is Christ who died in our place and is raised again for us who can help us. The moral law and the ceremonial law are no help to a dying man lying dead in the road. We must first bring people to Christ. We must comfort them. We must play the role of the Samaritan. We must first comfort the sufferer. It may require of us to give of ourselves and our time and our ability. You have to give up some of your time and some of your things to help people in order for them to know we care.
The answer to the question of getting eternal life – it is apparent that the man couldn’t keep the law. The first part – love the Lord – he breaks this part of the law when he doesn’t do the second part of the law. Jesus wants to prove to the lawyer that he failed in keeping the law. If he failed in keeping a part of the law then he failed to keep the whole law. The lawyer didn’t understand who his neighbor was. We don’t have any differentiation between the Jew and Gentiles. The Jews made this up to justify themselves. So we cannot pretend to love God and not love our neighbor. It’s a sham. The neighbor needs to feel our love in order to know that we love God.