Luke 10:25-37: The Parable of the Good Samaritan
What do you think is the lesson of the parable of the Good Samaritan? The knee jerk response of most people is that the parable of the Good Samaritan teaches us to love our neighbour. This certainly is part of the answer but not all of it. The context of the parable of the Good Samaritan is a conversation between Jesus and a lawyer about the way of salvation. The parable of the Good Samaritan has a double purpose: firstly, it was intended so who a man who thought he was saved by obeying God’s law to love that he is not saved; and secondly, it exposes all our selfish definitions of neighbourly love as it defines love as a compassionate and sacrificial service of all. There is a double surprise here as two powerful truths address two deeply entrenched errors. Firstly, we think we are good and are saved by our goodness, Jesus will show up our lack of love; secondly, we think we know what love is but we always seek to redefine God’s way to suit us.
This is a familiar portion of scripture which is both its strength and its weakness; because it is so familiar we already think we know what it means so we often miss the details and how they contribute to its main purposes. But because we know it so well with a proper exposition we can quickly access its intended message. We will divide this portion into two sections looking firstly at Jesus conversation with the lawyer and his understanding of love and how it relates to salvation; in the second part we will tackle the parable itself looking at how Jesus uses the despised Samaritan to define neighbour love. The lawyer’s love and the Samaritan’s love are our two points.