‘The Gospel of Luke: Encountering Jesus’
Message: ‘Jesus, the Good Samaritan’ Text: Luke 10:25-37
Introduction: Today’s text is the parable of the Good Samaritan. It’s perhaps one of the most well known stories in the Gospels, even to those outside the Church. Consider this:
• There are ‘Good Samaritan’ hospitals.
• Walt Joyce told me about the ‘Good Samaritan RV Club’ that gives campground discounts and its members help one another.
• There are even ‘Good Samaritan Laws’ that protect those who help others who are injured.
So, to call someone a ‘Good Samaritan’ is a good thing. (adapted from Brian Bill)
Before we look at the text, it’s important to know that the parable of the Good Samaritan is a simple story to teach a spiritual or moral truth.
• In this parable, someone being beaten, robbed and left for dead on this particular road happened often.
• But, since names were not given, it doesn’t represent an actual event.
To most who read it, the parable of the Good Samaritan is pretty clear-cut, which is why it’s so popular.
And it tugs at the heart of the Christian.
• We read it and are challenged to consider whether we’re a ‘Good Samaritan’ in how we treat our neighbors.
• And… that’s a good thing.
So, open your Bibles to Luke 10:25, where we’ll address
• what seems to be the obvious and what we’ll find, is the not so obvious meaning behind the parable of the Good Samaritan.
1. Luke 10:25-28 What shall I do
Read: Luke 10:25-28 to inherit eternal life?
Let me begin by saying that wanting to know where you’ll spend life after death, is the most important question anyone can ever ask.
• It’s more important than ‘Who shall I marry?’ ‘Where should I go to college?’
And ‘Should I take this job?’
• The truth is, your life could be over, before you ever get answers, to those other important questions.
But, there are a few things about the way this question is asked and the man who asked it, that are problematic to me.
First, it was a lawyer who asked the question. No, he didn’t defend bad guys or protect victims in a court of law.
• A lawyer, in Jesus’ day, was a religious professional, very often a Pharisee, whose job it was to interpret God’s Law for the common people of Israel.
• And not only interpret it, but live it out, as an example to them.
So, because the Lawyer knew the Law, he would know God’s requirement for eternal life. And, by what we’ll see in a few moments, he thought he had that nailed down.
So why ask the question? The same reason the other religious leaders even bothered to talk to Jesus… to trip Him up.
• Remember, most of them hated Jesus. And hold on to that, it’ll come back later.
The second problem with the lawyer’s question is that it’s actually irrational; illogical.
Let me read the question again but emphasize a couple words to see if you can get it.
• ‘…what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’
Question: Do you see the problem?
• You can’t do anything to inherit something.
• It’s something that’s given/left to you as a gift.
You see, his understanding of how to inherit eternal life was flawed at its foundation. And we’ll see later it’s because of how the religious leaders interpreted God’s Law.
So, back to the text. Jesus, rather than answering his question, asked the lawyer…
• What is written in the Law?
And it’s the first question we should always use when asked anything about Christianity:
• What does it say in the Bible?
The lawyer responds: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.
Jesus told him he was right! I bet it made the lawyer rather proud. But, what Jesus said next, caused his heart to tremble.
• Do this, and you will live.
Again the lawyer would have known that Jesus was quoting Leviticus 18:5 which says: You shall therefore keep My statutes and My rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.
Here’s why the lawyer was trembling.
When Jesus said Do this and you will live, he knew that just believing You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.
• He would have known that just believing that, wasn’t enough, he needed to do it.
The lawyer also understood Hebrew grammar that would make Jesus’ words and the words of Leviticus 18:5 troublesome for him.
• Here’s what Jesus and Leviticus 18:5 actually say:
• If you want to earn eternal life by keeping the law, then keep the Law. Do it and live.
• But… you must keep on doing it, perfectly, to earn eternal life.
I can imagine what must have been going through the lawyers mind:
• I can’t possibly love God completely, in every situation, all the time.
• I can’t possibly love my neighbor completely, in very situation, all the time?
If you remember from our study of the Gospel of Luke, the religious leaders cared nothing for the ordinary people. The laswyer knew he failed to show them the love he had just said was necessary to earn eternal life.
Listen, what Jesus revealed to the lawyer back then, and what’s still true today, is this:
• The standard for our obeying of God’s Law in order to be saved by it,
• is absolute perfection.
2. Luke 10:29-37 Who is my neighbor?
Read: Luke 10:29-37
The lawyer was smart and realized Jesus had him on the ropes, as it were. He needed a way out. So, he asked Jesus another question in order to find a loophole in God’s standard of perfection. And his question was: And who is my neighbor?
Jesus responded by telling him a story, a parable. You all know it, so I’ll give just the highlights.
A man, traveling alone on a very dangerous road, was overtaken by thieves.
• He was badly beaten, they robbed him and left for dead on the side of the road.
A priest and a Levite passed by the man and didn’t bother to give him a second look, let alone help him.
A Samaritan, someone hated by the Jews, sees and helps him. Immediately caring for his wounds and taking him to an inn to recover.
• He uses his own resources, at great expense, to see that the man was properly cared for.
Jesus asks the lawyer one more question: Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?
The lawyer responded: The one who showed him mercy. Notice he couldn’t even say ‘the Samaritan’ because of his hatred for them as a people.
Once again, Jesus replied in similar fashion, to the lawyer’s first question: You go, and do likewise.
• When Jesus told the lawyer to go and do likewise, He was defining for him what the law meant by loving your neighbor.
Now, what we usually take away from this passage is that
• All people; even those we might consider our enemy, are in fact, our neighbor.
• And, we’re to help them, when we recognize there’s a need.
• Even when it takes us out of our comfort zone. Even when we must use our own resources. Even when it’s a risk to do so.
• We need to help all those we can.
It’s quite possible John Wesley had the parable of the Good Samaritan in mind when he wrote this:
• Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.
I believe that’s always been our take away from this text. Now, while it is true, it’s not based here in Luke 10:25-37. It’s found elsewhere in Scripture.
• But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. (Luke 6:35)
• And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)
• So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10)
• Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. (Hebrews 13:16)
It’s in those verses that we’re commanded as Christians, to do good to others, to help our neighbors, even if they’re our enemy.
• What we innocently do, is take the truth of those verses and apply it to the parable of the Good Samaritan
• because it looks like it fits.
• But, I believe it’s because we’re looking at the parable from the wrong perspective.
3. Luke 10:20-21; 25-37 The whole story
Read: Luke 10:20-21; 25-37
As I was preparing for the message last week on Luke 10:17-24, I also read, more than a few times, what came before and after.
• When I did, I noticed what I believed to be a connection between last weeks and this week’s passages.
Here’s what I found:
Last week in Luke 10:20 Rejoice that your names are written in heaven. This week in Luke 10:25b What shall I do to inherit eternal life?
• First and foremost, both texts are about being saved, about having eternal life.
Last week in Luke 10:21 I thank You Father that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding. This week in Luke 10:25a A lawyer stood up to put Him to the test.
• Jesus is revealing that it’s the religious leaders, represented by the lawyer, who are both wise and understanding,
• and yet, don’t have a clue about what God has to say about being saved… about inheriting eternal life.
So, with this in mind, our passage this morning
• is not for the Christian to teach them to love their neighbor.
• It’s intended for the lost, who are trying to earn their way to heaven by either keeping the law or trying to be good enough.
• It’s intended to teach them that there’s nothing they can do to be saved, to inherit eternal life…
• To show them that someone has to do it for them. And that someone is Jesus, who in my opinion, is the Samaritan in the text.
• And remember, the religious leaders hated Jesus, just like they hated the Samaritans.
So, the story is not about being kind, it’s about being lost,
• Being, if I can use a $20.00 theological concept, totally depraved, being w/o any means of earning salvation.
Jesus, twice in our text, told the lawyer to do the Law:
• To fully, always and in every situation, love God and your neighbor.
• And if you continually do that, perfectly, you will earn eternal life… be saved.
But, here’s the problem… we can’t do it! And the Lawyer knew it. One slip up and we’re literally ‘toast’ in hell. So what Jesus wanted to teach the lawyer was the same thing we need to know today…
Following the Law of God, trying to be good enough and hoping it will save us… won’t work.
• The Priest and Levite in our text wrongly used the Law to keep them from helping the half-dead man on the road.
• To me, they represent the Law here. And Jesus wanted the lawyer, and us, us to see it did nothing for the man.
In context here, Jesus wanted the lawyer to see that the Jewish understanding and teaching of God’s Law, was incorrect.
• It was never meant to save anyone, to earn them eternal life.
• Instead, its purpose is to show us our sinfulness and lead us to Christ.
The Apostle Paul wrote about that in Romans 3:20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His (Gods) sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
And in Galatians 3:24 he writes: So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.
The man on the side of the road, was almost dead, but… those who have yet to place their faith in Jesus, are actually dead in their sin… and the Law, can do nothing about it, but show them that they need Jesus.
And, in the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus comes to the man left for dead. And helps him, heals him and cares for Him, out of His own resources, until he’s well.
And notice, He even promises to come back for him… sound familiar?
• Doesn’t Jesus promise to come back for all those who are His?
• Our text this morning, is a message to those who are still lying by the road, wounded and bleeding, forgotten and abandoned.
• Our text this morning is a message to those who feel hopeless and helpless, not half-dead but completely dead and destroyed by sin.
• Jesus… is your only hope and help.
How is Jesus your hope and help? God’s Word, the Bible tells us that Jesus took our place, He died for us, so that we might live for Him.
• Romans 5:8 But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
• 1 Peter 2:24 He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.
Do you need to feel the healing, saving touch of Jesus this morning? He is your Good Samaritan.
Before I close, I don’t want to leave all those who are saved by God’s amazing grace, wondering what’s all this have to do with me.
The hard truth is, we still find ourselves, at times, lying in a ditch, on the side of the road;
• often as the result of our own poor choices, and other times by circumstances outside of our control.
We’re lying there hurting, broken, in pain, frozen in despair,
• wondering how we ever got there,
• desperate to be renewed, refreshed by the Holy Spirit…
• but God seems… silent.
Trust Jesus, look to Him and only to Him. Be reminded of and pray back to God His own words of promise:
• He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)
Christian, do you need to feel the healing touch of Jesus this morning?
• He still, is your Good Samaritan.