Study 7 THE GOOD SAMARITAN
TEN OF OUR LORD’S PARABLES
by Francis Dixon
Scripture Portions: Luke 10:25-37
In this parable of the Good Samaritan we have an illustration of man’s need and of God’s way of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ:
- (1) Verse 30 – “a man…” gives a description of the sinner before Christ has found him…going down…from the place of blessing to the place of a curse…robbed, wounded, stripped…half dead! – a picture of unregenerate human nature!
- (2) Verses 31-32 – the priest and Levite teach us that the Law of Moses and ordinances (represented by the priest and Levite) cannot save us.
- (3) Verses 33-35 – the Samaritan brings before us a word-picture of the Lord Jesus and His work to save and redeem lost humanity. See the whole story of Galatians 4:4; Matthew 9:36; John 15:16; Luke 4:18; Ephesians 2:6; John 10:28; Philippians 4:19 – told in verses 33-35!
Notice in this parable an illustration of how we should engage in soul-winning:
- (1) Verse 30 describes the many around us who need to be saved; they are perishing (John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 1:18).
- (2) Verses 31-32 describe the attitude of many Christians to those who need to be saved – indifference.
- (3) Verses 33-35 describe the way we are to engage in this work. What teaching!
But the Lord’s application of the parable is in verse 37: “Go and do likewise”. In other words, we as Christians must act like the Good Samaritan – not in order to be saved but because we are saved. Having been saved by the grace of God we are to “go and do likewise”, that is, to show mercy!
1. Why should we, as Christians, show mercy?
- (1) Because it is an act of humanity to do so. The world is a great brotherhood of human souls, and there is a doctrine of the brotherhood of man taught in God’s Word (Acts 17:26,28). It is human instinct to act, not as the priest and Levite, but very much like the Samaritan, and if the natural man shows mercy to fellow men, how much more should we as Christians! Are we to be less considerate of the poor and needy than people of the world? God forbid!
- (2) Because our profession demands it. We profess to be Christians, followers of Christ, who went about doing good (Acts 10:38), bringing relief to the afflicted, comfort to the dying and healing the broken-hearted (Luke 4:18). Of what value is our profession if we are not like Him?
- (3) Because our own experience demands it. Think what mercy has been shown to us! We were in the awful pit of sin when He found us; He lifted us up and saved us, making us His own (Psalm 40:1-3). Surely His love should constrain us to go and show mercy to the lost (2 Corinthians 5:14).
2. When should we, as Christians, show mercy?
- (1) When we know of the need. The sin of the priest and Levite was in the fact that they saw and knew about the sad plight of the man, and did not act.
- (2) When, in God’s providence, such needs cross our paths. In verse 31 we read the word “happened” (or “by chance” KJV), but there is no such thing as chance in the lives of God’s children. If a poor fellow like this Jew crosses our path and we find him half-dead by the road, that is not chance; it is the providence of God, and such opportunities are given to us to show mercy.
- (3) When it is in our power to do something (Proverbs 3:27-28). There are times when we are not able to give help – there may be a financial need and we cannot help to meet it (look up Galatians 6:10); but of course the priest and Levite had the opportunity. They could have ministered, but failed to show mercy. Let us be careful that we do not fail in this way.
3. How are we, as Christians, to show mercy?
The attitude and action of the Good Samaritan will help us to see:-
- (1) We are to do so irrespective of who they are. The man by the roadside was a Jew, and consequently the Samaritan might have said, ‘Oh, he’s a Jew and I’m a Samaritan. I can’t help him!’ (John 4:9). But he did not say this. He did not allow the barrier of race or place to stand between himself and that poor, needy, half-dead Jew. Look up Galatians 6:10 again, and notice the words “all people”. God make us large-hearted, generous-hearted Christians!
- (2) We are to do so without expecting any return. The Good Samaritan knew of the Jew’s poverty, but that made no difference. He was just as ready, in fact more ready, because of this fact to minister to him. If our motive is pure, anonymity is very commendable!
- (3) We are to do so with true sympathy and compassion. Look at verses 33-35, and compare Matthew 9:36. How we need this compassion! – this consciousness of other people’s needs that moves us to go…and see…and bind up…and pour in…and bring…and take care…and repay!
- (4) We are to do so by practical, sacrificial and social help. Have another look at verses 34 and 35. There is one phrase that surely must grip us. We read of the bandages, the oil to soothe, the wine to cleanse, but after all these ministries had been performed, we read that the Good Samaritan “took care of him” – there is our definition of what it really means to show mercy.
Surely we must “go and do likewise”. May God make us Good Samaritans!