The parable of the Good Samaritan teaches that it is not who your neighbor is that matters, but being a good neighbor to all that is important. In this story, Jesus presents three types of people.
A. Luke 10:30
The thieves, of course, are takers. Their mentality was: What’s yours is mine and I’ll take it.
B. Exodus 20:15; 1st Corinthians 6:9-10; 1st Peter 4:15
The Ten Commandments plainly forbade stealing. Thieves are among those who will not enter the heavenly kingdom.
C. Psalm 37:21; Titus 2:9-10; James 5:4; Malachi 3:8-10
Of course, very few among us are burglars, muggers, or shoplifters. Even so, it’s likely we’ve been guilty at times of being takers. Those who borrow without repaying are takers. Those who pilfer from the workplace are takers. Those who withhold wages from workers who’ve earned them are takers. Those who fail to contribute financially to the ministry of the Lord are takers.
D. Proverbs 6:30-31
There may well be circumstances in which stealing is genuinely pitiable. Nevertheless, restitution is mandatory. No matter how sympathetic we may be with the thief, theft is wrong.
E. John 10:10a; Exodus 20:13
Jesus pointed out that thieves are often guilty, as well, of murdering and destroying. The thieves in our primary text left their victim “half dead”. Often, one sin leads to more sin.
F. Ephesians 4:28
The remedy for stealing, of course, is to work, and not just to work for one’s own provision, but also to help the needy.
A. Luke 10:31-32
The priest and Levite were keepers. Their outlook was: What’s mine is mine, and I’ll keep it. As religious leaders in Israel, they should have been first to render aid, but, upon inspection, declined.
B. Proverbs 21:13; 28:27; 1st John 3:17-18
Failure to assist the needy is accursed behavior. It demonstrates a severe lack of love.
C. James 2:15-17
This behavior is so rotten, it’s used as a self-evidently wrong example to demonstrate a deeper spiritual truth.
D. James 4:17
Any time we neglect to do what we know is right, it is as sinful as deliberately doing wrong.
A. Luke 10:33-35
The Samaritan, obviously, was a giver. His attitude was: What’s mine is yours, and you may have it.
B. John 4:9; 2nd Kings 17:24-41; Deuteronomy 10:18-19
This parable is commonly known, but its background is not, so people often call any passerby who comes to the assistance of a stranger a “good Samaritan”, which completely overlooks the fact that Jews and Samaritans had nothing to do with one another because Samaritans were foreigners, brought in by conquerors, to occupy Israel. It was in spite of the animosity between these peoples that the Samaritan helped the victim. When strangers need help, help should be given.
C. Deuteronomy 15:7-8, 11; Luke 3:7-11; Hebrews 13:16; James 1:27
Open handed giving is essential. It is a personal obligation, not to be outsourced to some social service or church program.
D. Deuteronomy 24:19-22; Leviticus 19:9-10
The Old Law made very specific provision, stating that a farmer was not permitted to claim all his crops for himself. Some was to be set aside for the poor. It is right, still (Ephesians 4:28), to include the needy in one’s budget.
E. Proverbs 19:17; 22:9; Ecclesiastes 11:1; Luke 6:38; Hebrews 6:10
The Lord looks very favorably upon those who are generous toward the less fortunate.
A. Proverbs 11:24-25
Every choice has a consequence. Ultimately, takers and keepers will lose, but givers will gain.
B. Matthew 25:31-46
Jesus takes personally our treatment of others.
C. 2nd Corinthians 8:9
He was willing to become poor that we might be rich.
By Bryan Matthew Dockens
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