The Good Samaritan
This is probably one of the most well known and wellloved parables of Jesus.
It is also one of the most misunderstood parables of Jesus.
Tonight we will take a guided tour of this parable.
I hope to prove to you from the Scriptures what Jesus was trying to get across to His original audience and by extention to us today in telling this great story.
What this parable is not...
It is not a fable.
Like Aesops fables.
This is not a biblical story akin to the tortoise and the hare.
The story is realistic.
It takes place in real places with real people.
The Sammaritans are real and still exist today.
The road to Jericho from Jerusalem is still around and I've travelled on it.
Didn't walk it though.
Used a bus :D And it is rather desolate in the Judean wilderness.
The story is not an allegory.
Each character does not have a meaning.
The good samaritan is not Jesus.
The oil and wine are not the sacrements of the church.
The Inn is not the Church.
The two coins are not the New and Old Testaments.
Many early church fathers interpreted the parables this way and while many of them got things very right, on this one they got it wrong.
So lets see how we can get it right!
Read the Parable
Lets read the parable.
A man wwas 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 xpriest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
32 So likewise xa Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33 But a ySamaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.
34 He went to him and zbound up his wounds, pouring on zoil 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 adenarii3 and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.
(Hand out paper)
Please write one or two sentences.
What is the parable about?
What is the real truth that Jesus is trying to convey?
Jesus was teaching the disciples how to fry burgers.
Jesus wanted to instill in his listeners the importance of having your own donkey.
(Give a minute or two for writing.
Read out some of the answers)
Good answers but they illustrate my point.
People misunderstand the parable.
This is what the Bakers Exegetical Commentary says
The passage’s themes are ethical and practical.
At the heart of believing in God is loving him and one’s neighbor.
In fact, life is found in loving God and one’s neighbor.
One should be a neighbor by showing compassion to anyone in need.
Being a neighbor does not make distinctions in offering care.
Compassion may involve time and sacrifice.
The issue is not to define who the neighbor is or to seek to do the minimum one can do.
This is a simply a call to be a neighbor
Except they are dead wrong as we will see.
There is SOME truth in the statement, but this is NOT why Jesus told the parable.
Lets look at the parable story itself.
Jerusalem to Jericho
Jericho is close to the Dead Sea (16 kms north) and below sea level.
Jerusalem is in the hill country.
The route is quite steep and dangerous.
No settlements or towns on the way.
Lots of caves and hideouts.
Its alot safer today, physically but if you are Jewish not so much.
Today Jericho is in a Palestinian territory and Israelis are forbidden from entering.
Big red signs.
Blind Barimaeus was healed there.
And Zacchaeus was from there.
Herod beautified the city.
So it was not unusual for peopel to travel there.
So the poor man is attacked robbed and stripped.
Not even the shirt on his back.
They beat him so he was bloody and bruised.
A priest walks by.
A priest is close to God one would think.
He would have compassion.
But no. he passes on the other side of the road.
Then a Levite.
A servant in the Temple.
Maybe he will help.
He comes and takes a look and then moves on.
Remember this is wilderness.
If night comes this half dead man will probalby die of exposure.
Priest don't care.
Levite don't care.
So next we meet the Samaritan.
We all know what the Jews thought of Samaritans.
Some dispute as to where they came from but they seem to be descendants of Israelites who were left behind after the Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom.
They had their own subset of Jewish beliefs and their own temple.
They allowed their temple to be dedicated to Zeus by the Greeks, unlike the Jews and their temple was actually desroyed by the Jews in the intertestimental period.
In 6 AD some Samaritans desecrated the Temple with human bones during Passover.
So one can imagine at the time of Jesus relations were not at their best.
Now we have this parable where the roles are reversed.