Jesus taught the lesson of “the Good Samaritan” by way of answering the question “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29), the point being that loving a neighbor as oneself (Luke 10:27) is about helping others one may encounter, however needed. Though the message is intended to motivate selflessness, it lends itself to thanksgiving and praise, as well, for the narrator, Christ Himself, is the model on which that “Good Samaritan” is based. Notice the comparison.

“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead” (Luke 10:30). These highwaymen are a figure of Satan who assaults his victims (1st Peter 5:8) with temptations to sin, leaving them to die (Romans 6:23).

“Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side” (Luke 10:31-32). Religious men of the greatest esteem are useless for deliverance. Only one has the power to save: “Jesus Christ of Nazareth… Nor is there salvation is any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:10, 12).

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was.” (Luke 10:33a). The most significant detail in this narrative is not that it was a stranger passing by who rendered assistance, but that it was a Samaritan who did so, “for Jews have no dealings with Samaritans” (John 4:9). That a member of a repressed minority would be compassionate toward one from a hostile nation is remarkable indeed. The Samaritan represents Jesus, “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).

“And when he saw him, he had compassion on him and went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:33b-34). It is God above who “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3), and He sent His Son for this purpose (Luke 4:18). The Lord Jesus went to great pains so that sinners could receive healing (1st Peter 2:24).

“On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you’” (Luke 10:35). This benefactor paid the wounded man’s expenses out of his own pocket. Likewise, Christ absorbed the cost of sinful man’s redemption. “You were bought at a price” it is written (1st Corinthians 6:20; 7:23). That price was nothing less than “His own blood” (Acts 20:28).

The kind stranger could not be indefinitely delayed while his ward recovered, so he left him in the charge of the innkeeper. Similarly, Christ left earth to return to the Father, but sent the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles, as He said, “It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment… I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:7-8, 12-14; cf. 14:16-17, 26; 15:26).

“’So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?’ And he said, ‘He who showed mercy on him.’ Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go and do likewise.’” (Luke 10:36-37). The message remains that a Christian must prove himself a neighbor to any and all who need care, including even those who are perceived as enemies (Matthew 5:43-48; Romans 12:17-21). Therefore, be selfless (Philippians 2:4). Yet, another lesson should not be overlooked: Christ set the perfect example. Therefore, give thanks (1st Thessalonians 5:18).

By Bryan Matthew Dockens

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