Grace & Peace


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Examining the Parable of the Good Samaritan

In Luke's gospel, we find "On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (vs. 26) to which Jesus replied, "What is written in the law?" "How do you read it?" (See vs. 27) He answered: "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, Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

(vs. 28) "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." (vs. 29) But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"

In reply Jesus told the well known parable of the Good Samaritan. (See Luke 10:30-35)  Jesus followed the parable with His own question to the expert in the law, asking him (vs. 36) "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" To which the expert in the law replied, (see vs. 37) "The one who had mercy on him." At which Jesus said, "Go and do likewise."

Of the three in the parable who had opportunity to help the wounded man who had fallen into the hands of robbers; one was a priest, one a Levite and of course, the third was the Samaritan. In this parable spoken by Jesus, we're never told why the priest and the Levite side-stepped the man, avoiding him altogether, as they both chose to pass by on the other side of the road.

A parable is usually just a short simple tale, based on familiar things, meant to convey a moral or religious lesson, and it's even possible Jesus was recalling something that actually happened. But, I believe Jesus was trying to make the point that most of the religious priests and Levites of that time would have side-stepped this wounded man to avoid becoming defiled, as they were worried about their sin problem. They prided themselves in their effort to keep the law. Yet, they could never really keep it, and their hearts were often cold.

We don't have to be worried about our sin problem, because Jesus took our punishment at the cross, so we are truly free to help someone in need. And if you are born-again, then you've received His sacrificial gift.  He took your sin and gave you His righteousness. Righteousness means right-standing with God. So now, because of, or by the righteousness of One, Jesus Christ, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. (See Rom. 5:18)

So, it was fitting that when the so called 'expert in the law' asked Jesus "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" that Jesus answered him as He did by asking a question in return, "What is written in the law?" "How do you read it?" (See vs. 10:26)

Rom. 10:4 says, "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth."

Rom. 6:17-18; "But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. (vs. 18) You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness."

Rom. 5:5 goes on to say, "And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us."

Rom. 13:8-10 tells us, "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law. (vs. 9) The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." (vs. 10) Love does no harm to it's neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Rom. 5:18; "Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men."

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Thanks, David