THE CHARITABLE SAMARITAN
25 And a lawyer stood up
and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit
eternal life?" 26 And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How
does it read to you?" 27 And he answered, " 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." 28 And
He said to him, "You have answered
correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE." 29 But wishing to justify himself,
he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" The Good Samaritan. 30 Jesus
replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and
fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away
leaving him half dead. 31 "And by chance a priest was going down on that
road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 "Likewise
a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the
other side. 33 "But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him;
and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged
up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own
beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 "On the next
day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take
care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.'
36 "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man
who fell into the robbers' hands?" 37 And
he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him,
"Go and do the same."
Who is Jesus
talking about here really, when He speaks about the charitable
The great majority of people would probably answer without any more
ado: Us! He puts up an
ideal for us. He speaks of and shows us, how He wants us to be and what
That is also the most common explanation you hear from the pulpits
almost everywhere. It is presented as an ideal
text, and what is mostly left clinging in peoples ears after is exactly:
“Go and do the same!” (v.37).
And it is ideally also, but not above all!
We should pay attention to the word of Jesus here as well: “Take care
how you listen!” (Luke 8:18).
This – and these – whom always tempted
Jesus (v.25), was not capable to hear the Word of God other then as
ideals, admonitions and law. What does God want us to do? And
clearly there was required a not so little portion of hypocrisy,
dissimulation and misinterpretation of God’s laws demands down to an
“acceptable” level, to be able to hold out, and have any hope of
salvation (inheritance of eternal life).
That is exactly what Jesus calls these people, both learning and
life – hypocrisy! And this is what He tells His disciples to
beware of in Matthew 16:6, where He describes them as the leaven
dough. In other words, something that will gradually permeate
How this understanding – in proportion to
God – had made them obdurate, we can see among other of his opening
question: “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Is it normal that you do something to inherit? It is owing to
We also find the same question aimed toward Jesus of a ruler in
Luke 18:18. This was the teachers of Israel!
Already the first word he puts into his
mouth reveals his hypocrisy: “Master!” He certainly did not see Jesus as
a Master, but on the contrary he wanted to set a trap for Him, and
unveil Him as a false teacher.
This man considered himself as holy!
Jesus begins His answer with a counter question: “What is
written in the Law?” In other words: “Do you know?” And: “How do you
read?” Matching the previous mentioned: “Take
care how you listen!”
But this man – as the legally trained man that he was (v.25a) –
does not stop one moment to this, but has already an answer ready at
hand. (v.27). He felt that he was on home ground, and Jesus does not
have anything to put off on this answer, but says on the contrary: “You
have answered correctly.”
There was nothing to say against his knowledge – but He
continues: “Do this and you will live.” What you know is
right, and God’s will – also do that!
The way to true experience always goes here. For example you who
think that you have great faith – say to a mountain that it shall be
cast into the sea. (Matthew 21:21b). This does not even require great
faith, but only a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20) – the smallest of
all seeds (Matthew 17:32) – according to Jesus.
Well, let us not exert ourselves here, let us just settle with a
tree: “Be uprooted and be planted in the sea; and it would obey you.”
(Luke 17:6b). Does not that work either?
Well, settle with moving the book on the table before you then. If
that does not succeed for you, you have at least learned something true
– if not pleasant – about your faith – it is smaller than a mustard
At least, you do not have to imagine something that is not true.
If it was nothing to put off on this
man’s knowledge, his practicing was obviously not equally
good, something that his "wishing to
justify himself" (v.29) shows.
Jesus – the true light – touched and revealed something that
created unease in this mans inner being. His “construction” through many
years creaked and wavered, and he stepped immediately in to save it, to
seek to break the sting that touched him, and bypass the unpleasant and
pushing in it, by turning the focus on another problem: “And who is my
He stood there already judged of course,
and if he in truth would have opened up for the acknowledgment Jesus had
brought him to, he should’ve “understood” and assumed the work of
Golgotha, when that time came.
The alternative to this is a glowing and bitter hate against the
truth, which will say towards Jesus, because it/He tears down what they
put their trust in, and is an honor to them.
It was this hatred that brought Jesus to the cross. You can
read about the reason to Jesus crucifixion here about this man: “But
wishing to justify himself.” (v.29a). Even if the deepest reason for
Jesus cross is in God’s savior will. It is His savior way for you!
“Jesus replied and said.” (v.30a). He
used this opportunity to come with this story. This man, who had fallen
among the robbers, did obviously not belong among the upright in Israel.
We can see that in the two cities Jesus talks about: Jerusalem and
Jericho. The first one – God’s holy city, and the other – the one of God
- by Joshua - cursed city. (Joshua 6:26-27).
Here it says that he went from one, and down to the
other. (v.30). It is just like the lost son, who left his
father’s house, and went to a land far away. And what is longer
away from God than what for the sin’s sake is cursed by Him?
Then – on the way – he fell among robbers.
Are you lying half dead, without life in God, among robbers, you
who were intended for the Lord’s community here on earth, and the
heaven’s glory in eternity?
Both the priest and the Levite who came,
saw him, but passed by on the other side. (v.31-32). Why? Yes, because
of their hard hearts first of all, but also – and mostly of that reason
– that they did not have what it took to save him.
Their God was the God who helped the one who helped themselves – in
other words, a God of the Law. And how should a poor one, who
could not even lift his finger, manage before Him?
But then this Samaritan, the ejected, false teaching, the one who
in their eyes, nothing was right with.
Do you now see who the charitable Samaritan is? And who
is the one who lies so helplessly by the road? Hopefully you know the
You may say: “He looks so much like me where he is lying, undressed,
helpless and lame!” I thought the world – this Jericho – would satisfy
the heart’s desire, but look, it has left me with an empty soul, far
away from God.
Jesus also had, towards this legally
trained whom He wanted to save, a completely certain intention to use
exactly this Samaritan in the story. They were – with their quasi
teachings – looked down on of the true believing Jew’s, but here the
legally trained must realize and admit that after the Law one is not
righteous according to their descent – that you are a Jew – but after
deed, no matter what kind of people you belonged to. As Paul also says
in Rom. 2 that “not those who hear the Law, are righteous before
God, but those who do after the Law…” And that is whether they
are Jews or heathens.
This was the Lord’s answer to the legally
trained man’s question: “And who is my neighbor?” (And he had to answer
himself): “The one who showed mercy toward him.” (v.37a). Love is
the fulfillment of the Law!
Jesus is the true fulfillment of the Law! He had to – without
knowing himself – testify about Jesus this legally trained; that is
the one who showed mercy: “I desire compassion and not sacrifice.” (Matthew
He wanted to tempt and trap Jesus, but was himself standing as an
undressed, lost sinner – one who not even had done what a Samaritan
could do, despite his knowledge.
It says nothing of it here, but now he hopefully saw: It is me who
is lying there by the road! For no one poor and starving, goes empty
handed away, from a meeting with Jesus. (Luke 15:53a).
Do you have what it takes to save a poor
man such as this one? You do if you have been saved yourself! It is not
your love you see, your ability or your deed it is
asked for, but Jesus’ – the charitable Samaritan’s.
Look how He in every way heals and provide for the poor man!
Everything has been thought of! Nothing has been spared!
It is first when Jesus has taken care of a person in this way that
it really belongs to Him. Therefore He also says: “I did not come to
call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13b).
Yes, then you are forever His!
Holy Bible New American Standard
Translator: Benedicte Holtan Smart