The Good Samaritan
Love Your Neighbor
Luke 10:25-37 The Message
A Story of Love Series
Jesus also taught us to love our neighbor and He told them a story about what it means to love.
In Luke 10:25-37 the story of love went like this, “Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?”
He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?”
He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”
“Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”
Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?”
Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.
“A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’
“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”
“The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded. Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”
To help us understand the full context of the story we need to understand why Jesus used a Samaritan Woman in His example of loving your neighbor.
In the 1st Century, Jews despised Samaritans (https://classroom.synonym.com/who-were-the-samaritans-in-jesus-time-12083469.html).
It had been that way for many many years. When the Hebrew people were exiled, the Northern kingdom scattered in 722 B.C.E. to Assyria. “The northern kingdom was destroyed by the Assyrians and the population deported as per Assyrian military policy (resulting in the so-called Lost Ten Tribes of Israel).” The ten tribes of Israel taken to Assyria never returned home to Israel and they assimilated into other cultures (https://www.worldhistory.org/israel/).
The Southern Kingdom was captured by the Babylonians and all Jewish people in the Southern Kingdom of Judah who were considered to be useful and valuable were taken to Babylonia, 598 - 538 B.C.E. Two tribes of Israel made up the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
(https://www.britannica.com/event/Babylonian-Captivity). In 530 B.C.E. Babylon was conquered by the Persians and the new ruling power allowed the Jews from the Southern Kingdom to return to their homeland in 538 B.C.E. (https://www.worldhistory.org/israel/).
The two tribes from the Southern Kingdom of Judah that were allowed to return home were from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. We remember that Jacob (called Israel) had twelve sons that made up the twelve tribes of Israel. Basically, two tribes returned to Israel.
By the 1st Century, Samaritans were a race of people who originally came from the Northern Kingdom that had been partially assimilated by other cultures. Samaritans were outcasts.
Notice in the story the priest didn’t take time to care for the man who had been beaten.
The Levite religious man also avoided helping the man who was injured. The Levites descended from the tribe of Levi (who was the son of Jacob and Leah). The Levites had been tasked with religious and educational duties in the Temple (Joshua 13:33, cited in Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Levites" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company).
The despised Samaritan was the only person in the story who showed the beaten man kindness, compassion, and love. Notice the man took time to stop.
The story of love, true love as God sees love, certainly would have given His audience at the time something to think about. When He used the Samaritan as an example of love he was turning their world upside down.
Jesus turning over the tables outside of the Temple in Matthew 21:12-13 was no more shocking than Jesus saying that a SAMARITAN would receive eternal life because he took time and care to love the stranger.
Not only did the Samaritan clean his wounds, he gave the man clothing (because the robbers even took his clothes), he LIFTED him on his donkey, he took him to an inn and made sure he was comfortable, he paid the innkeeper so he could recuperate there, AND the Samaritan told the innkeeper if more money was due he would pay his bill in full on his way when he came back by the inn.
After Jesus outlined what the Samaritan did, he turned it back to the religious scholar who asked the original question.
Jesus asked the scholar what he thought. He asked the man to decide which man was a good and loving neighbor?
The scholar responded and said clearly it was the man who showed kindness to the beaten man.
It was the Samaritan.
Jesus knew it’s always more convincing when you see the truth for yourself.
Jesus knew the scholar would remember his answer to Jesus’ question.
And so, Jesus told the scholar in order for him to receive eternal life, he should love his neighbor…really love his neighbor.
Jesus gave the scholar a vivid story he would remember and carry with him. Jesus knew the people in the crowd who heard the story would understand what loving their neighbor meant. The other important element to the story was that Jesus made it clear that when they love their neighbor they will receive eternal life.
Love is the key.
When we change our world with love, we are the hands and feet of Jesus.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Love
Ask God to send someone to you who needs kindness and love.
In God, Deborah
acrazyjourney.com for God