The Great Samaritan
The Great Samaritan
(Luke 10:30-35) -- "And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee."
This parable is probably among the most well known of all the parables. Everyone is familiar with the story of the "Good Samaritan". But far too many people do not understand the primary meaning of the parable. This is not a parable told to highlight the need for Christian doctors. It is not about feeding the poor or caring for the sick. Chapter 10 is an evangelistic chapter, and right in the middle of it is this parable...this evangelistic parable. This parable is about compassion. The greatest compassion that can be shown from one person to another. It is about the compassion of Christ for sinful mankind and the compassion that Christians are to have for the lost around them.
THE WAY OF SIN.
For just a moment, let us consider this traveler as being representative of all mankind. He is traveling down life's road, leisurely enjoying his journey. while it is true that no one can know the future for certain, it certainly appears that the road is quite safe.
But things are not always what they seem. The road of life is certainly not without its hazards. The Bible says of Satan, in the Garden... "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made" (Gen. 3:1). Jesus said of the Devil, "He was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (Jn. 8:44).
Deception is a trademark of sin and Satan. How many are even now like this lone traveler. They proceed through life as if they haven't a care. They seem to believe that if they treat life well, life will treat them well. They are completely unsuspecting of the dangers that lie ahead. But that is the way of sin. It has been that way since the beginning of time. Satan likes nothing better than to lure man into thinking that there is nothing to fear from this life or the life to come. Then sin jumps up from behind a rock and shows itself in all it's disgusting fury and leaves behind a hollow shell of a man. Notice the similarities between sin and the robbers in our parable.
Sin has stripped you of your raiment. Adam was created in the image of God. He was clothed only in the perfection of God and reflected the righteousness of God. But when he succumbed to the temptation of Satan, he was stripped of his perfection. His glory became his shame. His loss was so great that he could no longer commune with God as he had before. Then he passed this condition down to his children and so on. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
Sin has wounded you. All men are born with the sin nature. "There is none righteous, no not one." Because of the terrible wounding of sin there is nothing you can do that will commend you to a holy God. "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags."
Sin has left you alone. "He that believeth not is condemned already." You can find no comfort in the fact that you are a sinner. There is no hope in sin. No love, no assurance, no future. And if you die in your sin you will stand alone before a holy and just God.
Sin has left you half dead. This is ultimately the end of sin. "For the wages of sin is death."
THE WAY OF JESUS.
Such is the condition of all men. And such was the condition of this traveler. Fortunately for him, however, a compassionate man came by. This man was a stranger, a foreigner, a man from a far off country. And because of his race (Samaritan) he was one who would have been rejected by any self-respecting Jew. But even so, notice the actions of this good Samaritan in verses 33-35. Mankind, stripped of virtue, wounded, and left alone to face eternity on his own, has also been visited by a compassionate Saviour. [He too was from a far country, and was rejected by the Jewish people.] Note the similarities presented here:
Christ saw the sinful condition of man. As God looked down through time He saw the dread and totality of sin. He saw the helplessness of man. He saw the need of man for something greater than himself.
Christ had compassion on man. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (Jn. 3:16). "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). This is what grace is all about! "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (I Jn. 4:10).
Christ came to man. This is the "mystery of godliness" spoken of by the apostle Paul to Timothy. Man could not help himself so Christ, moved by compassion and grace, stepped from His throne in Heaven to become the help that sinful man needed. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:5-8).
Christ administered healing to man. Jesus said, "I am come that ye might have life, and have it more abundantly." "And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." (Lk. 4:17-21). Jesus came to reveal God to man. He came to give hope and promise to all those who had been ravaged by sin.
Christ sacrificed for man. [the Samaritan gave up his ride for the injured traveler] Not only was it a sacrifice but it was the greatest sacrifice ever shown to mankind. "For He hath made Him to sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (II Cor. 5:21). Because of the sacrifice of Christ we may claim the righteousness of God and therefore stand in His good favor. "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23).
Christ brought man to a proper place for nurturing with the instructions, "Take care of him". Simply stated, this is the role of the church. Mark 16:15 records the mission of the church: "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature". Matthew 28:19-20 elaborates on this: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." The church is to teach, nurture, aid in growth, and provide spiritual strengthening to those who have experienced the grace of Jesus Christ, The Great Samaritan.
PERSONALIZING THE INSTRUCTION.
At the end of this beautiful parable, Jesus told the lawyer to "Go and do thou likewise". We each may consider this a personal instruction. Certainly we all agree on the two greatest commandments (vs. 27). We are to be like the Samaritan:
Not like the priest (vs. 31). The priest is representative of the Pharisees...then and now...who are more concerned with not defiling themselves with sin and sinners than they are about the immortal souls of men. How many of God's own children continually "snub" the lost around them? Some will even go so far as to say something to the effect of, "We just don't want their kind in here". Do we deceive ourselves by playing church? That is, we think if we keep the rules and rituals and traditions that we are what we should be. This is a lie that Satan is using to keep us from reaching out to others.
Not like the Levite (vs. 32). This man actually come close enough to be of some help but then he passed on by. Probably, after seeing the condition of the poor traveler, he became afraid of becoming the victim of robbers himself. Are there any here who will not witness, will not invite, will not speak of the Bible or the goodness of Jesus because you are afraid of what those around you will say or do? If so, then you are no better than this Levite who left the traveler to die. Aren't you glad that Jesus didn't feel that way toward you?
Not the Lawyer (vs. 29). This lawyer did not have love for those around him and he knew it so he wanted to try to justify his sinful attitude. Jesus said, "Whosoever will may come, and him that cometh, I will in no wise cast out." Can you say the same thing? He also said, "Why do ye call me Lord, Lord and do not what I say?"
ARE YOU LIKE THE SAMARITAN?
Do you take notice of the lost friends and relatives around you? Do you ever think of their souls condition? Do you pray and weep for those who do not know Jesus Christ as their Saviour? Are you compassionate to the most important need in their life? Do you exhibit any pity for those whose soul is torn and condemned by sin? Do you minister to those around you? Can others see Christ living in you? Do you exhibit the hope and assurance that they long for? Do you care enough to bring them to the House of God for the spiritual buffet that awaits them here; or do you leave them on their own and hope that they can find their own way?
Notice one more thing about the good Samaritan. "When I come again, I will repay thee" (vs. 35). Let this be a warning to the church and to each individual. The Great Samaritan is coming again. When He comes He will reward every man according to their works. He will also weigh each church in judgment. How will you stand in that day?