The Parables of Jesus: Day 17

The Good Samaritan

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Today's Text: Luke 10:21-37

In this study of the Parables of Jesus, we are reading many of the stories Jesus used to teach hearers about how to live as His followers. Each day we’ll read parables in their immediate context, focusing on a different category of parables each week. Then we will work through a series of questions to understand the meaning of the text and take to heart the “secrets of the kingdom.”

Editor’s Note: In this Parables study, Jesus Himself is telling us stories—stories He wants us to reflect on and process. Rather than asking our writers to write their own stories about Jesus’ stories, we thought it would serve you and the text better to provide questions to help you dig into the meaning of each day’s parable. If you find a parable or passage particularly confusing, stop and pray. Ask the Lord to reveal Himself to you in His Word, and thank Him that we can know Him without knowing all the answers to our questions.

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Week 3: Parables about following Jesus

Many of the parables Jesus told have to do with what it means to follow Him in this life. Addressing topics from anxiety and fear, to compassion for our neighbors and commitment to the truth, Jesus uses common scenarios and familiar places to teach His disciples how to live as His people. Each parable in this week’s daily readings speaks to the Christian life in some way. Use the questions below to help you dig deeper into Jesus’ teaching.

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Day 15 Reading: Luke 10:21-37

Questions:

1. Today’s parable is fairly well known. As you read the text, what are some things you never noticed before about the story of the good Samaritan?

2. What specific situation is Jesus’ parable responding to, and what is the parable’s outcome?

3. What is the central point of this parable?

4. What is your response to this parable?

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  • Mary Ann

    As I was meditating on this parable at 2am early morning during my lunch break at work, I was asking God to help me to love and serve my neighbor, even through this busy season of being a wife, mother, it being the holiday season, being a working mama, working on putting the house on the market, planning a bridal shower…the list goes on and on!

    Well, on my way home from work this morning I rear ended a car. To make matters a bit more complicated, I was driving a rental car (my mother in law is in town and she was taking care of my daughter) and we just thought it would be easier if she had my car with the installed car seat in it. I felt terrible. As I pulled to the curb, so many negative thoughts going through my head- this person is going to be so angry, my husband will be so disappointed, my mother and father-in law will be angry. But when the lady who was driving the car I hit opened the door, the first thing she said was “are you ok”? And then she asked me if I’d just worked a shift. Turns out she was a night shift nurse as well, and “she understood”. We exchanged numbers and she said she would get a quote and see how much it would take to fix the car, but she wasn’t too worried about it. The last thing she said to me was “take care of yourself, and it’s really ok”. When I got home my husband and my mother in law were so gracious and kind, there was no anger. I felt overwhelmed with how gracious and loving everyone was-from a stranger to my family.

    You guys, this parable took a new meaning. I was the man on the side of the road. But I was shown undeserved grace and mercy. God shows grace and mercy to me daily! There will be moments in life where yes, I am called to serve and love my neighbor. But there will be times where I will be the one who needs help-I need the grace and mercy from my Heavenly Father daily! I am thankful for the reminder of this truth.

    Will you help me to pray about this situation? That we will get a fair quote to get the car fix?

    Thanks ladies.

    • Beth

      Mary Ann, thank you for sharing this story. It brought me chills when you said that you were the man on the side of the road and received mercy and grace. For some reason, I think that most of us picture ourselves as the Samaritan and not the man who was attacked. I am praying that God will help you resolve this situation. God bless you for working the night shift. I did that as a young mother and it was hard.

    • Lauren

      Thanks for sharing this perspective! We are all in need of grace and mercy. What a great reminder.

    • Julia

      Your story encouraged me, thanks for sharing! Will pray about your quote!

    • Megan

      Here I am a week later, reading this and being blessed by what you wrote. I have never thought I might be the man on the side of the road. I always put myself in one of the other characters. I pray this situation has been resolved and I am thanking God for His redeeming power!

  • Show mercy to the one’s God puts in your life. Following this commandment to Love God with my whole heart and my neighbor as I love myself will open my eyes to eternal life here on earth. Jesus says “Go and do so.”

  • Lizzieb85

    I appreciate the context passage as well, verses 21-24.
    Jesus just got through telling His disciples they are blessed because He has chosen to reveal Himself to them. They have knowledge & understanding of Him that people of great statue & power would have loved to know & never did!
    Then right after that a “know-it-all” expert in the law tries to test Jesus. Jesus’ response is the parable of the good Samaritan. He is directly showing His disciples how those of great stature are completely missing the mark even when Jesus is directly explaining it to them!
    He who has ears, let him hear.
    As for personal application, I am still chewing on it, but I wanted to share this insight.

  • Dawn Beaver

    I heard in a sermon that that particular road from Jerusalem to Jericobwas known to be a rough road. Most people would know that you shouldn’t ever walk that road alone. Some people might say to the man beaten, “well, serves him right for going down that road alone when he should have known beforehand how rough it was.”
    We do that when we see beggars on the road don’t we? “Well, he’s probably just looking for free handouts for drugs or alcohol.” We come up with excuses.
    Compassion should move from the head to the heart to the hands. It requires a response, an action. We should be starting our days asking for Jesus love, His heart of compassion, His hands, His feet.

    • Sophia

      Your comment made a connection for me. The road less traveled. Sometimes as Christians we are “beat up” for waking this road. Some walk by us. Some reach out their hand and join us. Thank you.

  • Sarah D.

    Been praying that God would show me someone I can share the Gospel with. I thought about doing it with my brother in laws parents last week at Thanksgiving, but I didn’t…I feel bad about it because for my school we need to do a witnessing report on how we shared the Gospel with someone, but I haven’t yet. And I want to be intentional about it, I don’t want to just share it just because they’re making us. I could call my brother in law’s parents, but I feel like it would be weird to just tell them straight out and it would sound blunt. Plus, I don’t want to just share the gospel with them flippantly, I would want to have a face to face conversation. I’m probably going to go on a servant evangelism trip Saturday, so hopefully I can talk with someone that I meet there. If you could all please pray for me that the Lord would show me who He wants me to share the Gospel with, and that I would be confident and kind when I do. Love you all!

    • Cathy

      You are leaning the right way…but maybe you were trying to do it on your own. No need to force it…you will know who you are to share with and how if you just leave it to God. Rest and then just put up your antennae and be ready!

      • Melissa

        I prayed for you. May we all remember to call on the Holy Spirit to fill us and guide us and make us brave and bold. Blessings ❤️

    • melissa

      I prayed for you. May we all remember to call on the Holy Spirit to fill us and guide us and make us brave and bold. Blessings ❤️

    • Meg

      I think it can be scary to share the gospel with people when you’re thinking in terms of just point blank asking someone what their faith life is like. I’m not discounting evangelical outreach in the least, but I think that the most effective way of sharing the Gospel is through your lifestyle. Especially in today’s political climate. There are so many extremist ways of thinking that obstruct the light of the true gospel. The Gospel is loving people and being kind to them and treating them with respect. If you live your life like that, you’re already sharing the gospel. People will notice, I promise. And when they ask questions, it’s the perfect opening to share how God has changed your heart and life.

    • truthseeker

      Praying for Gods direction and guidance for you in this and every area of your life. May He bless you greatly

    • Beth

      The first time I shared the gospel was on a plane and I wast talking to the man sitting next to me. He laughed at me and told me I was just young and naive and would soon learn the ways of the world. Lo these many years later I guess I’m still naive, albeit not so young. I’ve learned the ways of the world and I still cling to God. I’ve wondered whatever happened to that man, but I just put him in God’s hands. I agree with the others that you shouldn’t force it but let God guide you to who He wants you to witness to. His ways are perfect.

  • Alexis Maycock

    Love in action ❤️

  • You can have all the desire in the world and knowledge of God.. but if we don’t act and don’t love, we are nothing. The priest walked by; someone who teaches the very word of God to others and he moved to the other side of the street to avoid being “priestly.” Then, a Levite came along; someone who’s devine purpose is to serve in the temple and be near to God, saw the broken man and avoided eye contact…
    Then, a Samaritan; a sworn enemy of the Jews since the age of the Patriarchs, not only stopped and helped the broken man up, but paid for his recovery.

    It’s easy to love someone who is unknown to us, someone across the ocean, who we can imagine in anyway we please in our mind. It could be a starving child in Africa that we send a check once a month, for example. That’s easy love. How do we act toward the people who are near us, who we actually know (or know of); someone of a different race, different culture, customs, origin, political standing, sexual orientation, black sheep of the family, someone who is dirty in our eyes, someone who with a colorful history… How do I look at my neighbor? How often I avoid eye contact with a homeless person, or just politely nod at the person who lives just next door and plays his music too loud… What makes me better than that priest or Levite that walked to the other side of the street to avoid blessing someone in need, to avoid loving his neighbor.
    God, please help me see my neighbor.

  • In a book I have which provides commentary on all the parables of the Bible, the author ends his study of the Parable of the Good Samaritan this way:
    “Did not God make humanity His neighbor? Seeing a world of sinners robbed of their true nature, stripped of divine ideals, wounded by sins, unable to rise, God came down in the Incarnation to where the sinner was and gave the world a corresponding example in the act of the merciful Samaritan. Christ, through His death and resurrection, covers our nakedness, binds up our wounds and heals them with a balm extracted from His own broken heart. Not only so, but He puts us in a place of safety, provides for our needs, and has promised to return and take us to Himself. Thus the parable is radiant with the beauty of the Gospel of Christ who, in His life and death kept all the injunctions given in this peerless parable.”
    Praise be to God.

    • Beth Anne Young

      What book is this? Would love to read it.

      • Rahel

        I googled the quote and found it to be All the Parables of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer. You can read large excerpts from the book online.

    • Lyn

      Could you provide the source for that quote, including the name of the author and title of the book? It’s a beautiful summation.

      • Rachel

        I googled the quote and found it to be All the Parables of the Bible by Herbert Lockyer. You can read large excerpts from the book online.

    • Erica

      This is so beautiful!

    • Terry Anderson

      Love this!

    • AliceV

      Yes, it is “All the Parables of the Bible” by Herbert Lockyer!

  • One detail I haven’t noticed before—the expert in the law asked “who is my neighbor” in the context of his previous answer where neighbors are the folks we are called to love as ourselves. After the parable, Jesus asked who in the story behaved like a neighbor—it’s a subtle shift, but I think it’s important. We’re not being asked to figure out who it is that makes up the universe of people we need to love as ourselves in order to feel justified (which is how I read the scholar’s question), we’re being asked to be a loving neighbor, paying attention to and meeting needs God has equipped us to meet no matter whose they are. It’s like a shift to the question: “who would believe that I consider them my neighbor?” And the answer should continually be moving toward: “everyone.”

    • Lara

      Well said, Beth. Thank you for pointing this out. I never noticed Jesus’ shift in the Neighbor question. He’s impressing on us all that it’s not about keeping the law, it’s about our hearts.

    • Elizabeth

      Thank you so much for sharing and explaining this insight- that’s something I had never noticed before!

    • Pam

      Thank you for pointing out this shift. Love this.

  • Churchmouse

    Jesus answered the “expert in the law” very directly, plainly. Yet the man wanted to focus on a detail- “And who is my neighbor?” It looks to me like he was squirming under Jesus ‘ answer and so then attempted to distract from it. Love God and love my neighbor sounds pretty straight forward. But if I can deflect to who the neighbor is… Oh my. How often do I squirm under confrontation and attempt to deflect to another subject so I don’t feel so convicted? Oh my.

  • For me, the story of the Good Samaritan is the answer to verse 25…what shall I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus answers with the parable which is a salvation story. The neighbor is the One who found the man in the ditch, and didn’t pass by, but saved him and even gave him a room! We are the ones in the ditch and receive mercy as Jesus, our Good Samaritan saves us.
    We then must go out and show the same mercy.

    • April L.

      I have never thought of it that way. I guess there’s 2 ways to look at this story. Thanks for sharing.

  • If I know what the Bible teaches and what it’s whole message is, but I do not show love to those around me, than have I truly learned anything or has it changed me at all? I do not get to pick and choose what parts of the Bible I listen to and allow to change me: I take all of God’s word as inspired or none of it. I do not get to bend and twist things so they fit my worldview and allows me to live where I am comfortable as the pharisees did. My neighbors are not just those people that are like me that I am comfortable around. They are the people who believe as I do, but they are also those who do not believe as I do, they are the hurting, the oppressed, the poor, the rich, the constant, the passerby, the angry, the kind, the confused and searching: anyone my path crosses with is my neighbor. We are told to go into all the world to make disciples. All includes home. It is not necessary to go to a far country to do God’s work and make disciples, there is a mission field wherever God has placed my feet.

  • Jesus’ command, “Do this and you will live.” reminds me of my total need and dependency upon Christ and what He has fully done on my behalf, for me! I cannot possibly love God with my whole heart, soul, strength and mind, nor can I love my neighbor as I should. Praise God for Jesus who has done all perfectly–and so even as I “work” to do what is required, I “rest” fully in the righteousness of Jesus, already mine. Hallelujah!

  • Thanks for everyone’s clarification. I guess I just honestly hadn’t ever heard it before. I grew up in a strong Christian family. They always showed this. Especially my parents but for me it felt like I don’t matter as much as others matter. I was dealing with molestation so my self worth was already diminished and no one around me knew so thank you. When my therapist mentioned it, it was seriously the weirdest concept I’ve ever heard. And it is encouraging to hear other Christians put in their take!

    • Jenny

      So sorry you had to go through that as a child….but you do matter, SB! You matter very much and you are here for a purpose!

    • Emily B.

      Remember to give yourself grace, just like you would show to others. You are worthy because the Lord Jesus Christ says so!

  • One thing I hadn’t noticed before in this parable was that the Samaritan, since he left the man at an inn and said he would repay the innkeeper when he came back, showed that he was traveling and on his way somewhere as well. That told me that he had things in his life to handle and was a busy man just like the priest and levite. I think previously I just made the assumption that the Samaritan had all the time in the world to care for this man. It was a reminder to me that I need to demonstrate kindness and compassion to everyone at all times, not just when it is convenient or I am less busy to notice those around me.

    • SB

      Yes Vicki! This struck me for the first time today too!

    • Sarah Schlichter

      I hadn’t noticed this, thanks for sharing!

    • Peggy

      What an interesting detail to note! Changes how I read this. Thanks!

    • Mari

      Thank you for sharing that. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that.

    • Heather64

      I noticed that too! And the Samaritan must have been a known man of integrity because the innkeeper knew he would pay him any money he owed when he returned. His reputation spoke for itself.

    • Emily B.

      Ooh, good insight! Thank you for that!

  • We love as He loves us. He is our example. Family, friends, enemy or foe. We love them as we love ourselves but we also love them first. We don’t wait for them to prove they deserve our love, our kindness, our hospitality. If that was true Jesus would have never been born because we are all sinners . “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8. He is the example. ❤️

  • If our heart is right toward God then we will see as He sees. We will do as Jesus did. We will do unto others as we would have others do unto us. Lord, I pray that you will give me eyes to see the needs around me and the compassion to help those you put in my path. That You may be glorified!

  • Jesus chose the Samaritan in his parable to be the one who helped the man. The Samaritan was the lowest class…the one who had likely been persecuted by the Jews and who probably had more reason to walk past the man then the prior two. To me Jesus is saying there are no excuses to love and serve those around you. The Samaritan didn’t care if the man was Jew or Gentile. Even if your neighbors have persecuted you, you love and serve them anyway. No exceptions, all are neighbors.

  • So my therapist told me that the reverse of this is true if we also have to love ourselves as we would love our neighbors. I don’t know why this is so hard for me to accept. But it feels wrong. Anyone have any thoughts on this. I think he wants me to give myself the talk, Love, support that I would give anyone else. But for me this versus has just meant focus on God and show love to everyone even those that don’t seem lovable.

    • Nicole

      I think self care is very important. I know the more we focus on ourselves and our problems, the harder it is for us to look to God and have proper perspective. Of course it’s hard to speak to your situation without the details. :) I’d always go with Scripture though!

    • Deb Malloy

      Knowing who we are in Christ is so important to living a healthy life. Who are you? You are a child of God, daughter of the King. We aren’t perfect but no one is…we can be harder on others or harder on ourselves, neither honor God and what Jesus did for us on the cross. When we all submit ourselves to God, allow the Holy Spirit To smooth out our rough edges, we become more Christlike. God doesn’t expect perfection, He loves bus unconditionally, He forgives us. We are called to do the same, with everyone and this this includes yourself!

    • Cheska

      We are told to love others as we lve ourselves. I think it means that we should accept ourselves and be forgiving of ourselves as God does, that we see ourselves as works of progress shaped by God. In that sense, if we are able to do this with ourselves, we are also asked by God to be more accepting, more forgiving, more patient with others.

      • DP

        If God is telling us to love others the way we love ourselves, wouldn’t that mean that the way we are very good at loving ourselves? That we often, in our flesh, choose to serve us first? But Christ calls us to love others first- before ourselves. Because that doesn’t come naturally for us. Even the feeling of self hatred can really be a way of loving ourselves, because we are focusing inward at us rather than towards others or looking to Christ in all of His sufficiency. Praise Him who came to cover all our sin and give us His own righteousness despite who we are apart from Him.

    • ECD

      The assumption is that we are good at loving ourselves, so we should focus less on that and more on loving others. But this assumption is not true for every person. If you struggle with self-love, I absolutely believe that you should make self-love a priority. God loves you and you should love you too!

  • Love your neighbor as yourself — love anyone created in God’s image as yourself.

Further Reading...