ROBERT >> We all know that great commandment, Love your neighbor as yourself. But who is my neighbor? That’s what we’ll learn in our study of the good Samaritan. I hope you’ll stay tuned. I’ll be back in just a moment.
ROBERT >> The parable of the good Samaritan is only recorded by Luke. Let me encourage you to turn in your Bibles to Luke the 10th chapter as we take a look at this parable together. But before we get right into the parable, I think it’s important that we understand the context surrounding this parable, so let’s begin today in Luke 10:25.
Here the Bible says, “And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said to him, What is written in the law? What is your reading of it? So he answered and said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. And He said to him, You have answered rightly; do this, and you will live. But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor?”
Notice this was a lawyer. This was not the kind of lawyer that most of us are probably familiar with; but he was an expert in the law of Moses. And if you look at the lawyer’s motive, it will also give us some understanding about what was really going on here.
You’ll notice in verse 25 that the Bible says that he tested Christ. He was testing Jesus. He wasn’t really interested in the answer to his question. But what was the lawyer’s question? He asked him here, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
This is the most important question perhaps in the whole world that anyone could possibly ask. There’s nothing more important than eternal life. Notice that the question is very personal.
He said, What must I do to inherit eternal life?
No one can be saved for you. It’s an individual, it’s a personal matter. But also notice that there’s something one must do. He asked, What must I do to inherit eternal life? Understand today that salvation cannot be earned.
The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it’s not of works, lest any man should boast. It’s the gift of God.”
But there are conditions that must be met in order to receive the gift of eternal life. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21 that, “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”
So Jesus said it’s not enough simply for us to call him Lord. We must submit to the will of God to do what he’s asked us to do.
In Hebrews 5:8-9, the Hebrew writer said that Jesus is indeed the author of eternal salvation, but then he adds, to all those who obey Him. And so we see the question once again, What shall I do to inherit eternal life?
Now I want you to notice that Jesus answered the question of the lawyer with a question. Look what it says in verse 26. He said to him, What is written in the law?
What is your reading of it?
I think here we see how the master teacher shows a good method of teaching here. This idea of answering a question with a question, it makes the student think, it makes him develop interest in the conversation. He’s also searching, and he’s finding the answer for himself. And this would not only cause him to be certain about the answer, but it will help him to remember it. In the case of the lawyer, he was very knowledgeable of the law. He thought he already knew the answer. He wasn’t asking Jesus for information; he was just testing Jesus. Jesus knew what he was doing, and so he turned the question back to him, as if to say you’re an expert in these matters. You of all people should be able to answer your own question. And let me say that there are a lot of people who know the answer to their questions. They just don’t want to accept the answer. They don’t want to do what they know God says to do. And so they keep asking the question, looking for a different answer until someone comes along and tells them what they want to hear. I certainly hope that is not the case for you.
Let’s notice how the lawyer now answered Jesus’ question. Look at verse 27. So he answered and said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
Where did the lawyer’s answer come from?
Well, his answer comes from two passages in the law of Moses really which were given to the Jews: Deuteronomy 6:5, where we’re taught to love the Lord God with all of our heart, and Leviticus 19:18, to love our neighbor as ourself. The lawyer had a ready answer to Jesus’ question. Keep the law, love God, love your neighbor. And you know, Jesus agreed with the lawyer’s answer.
Look what he says in verse 28. “And He said to him, You have answered rightly. Do this, and you will live.”
In other words, you’re right. And if you keep that law as well as you can quote it, you will have eternal life. What does this tell us about these two commandments, to love God, to love your neighbor?
Well, Jesus tells us that these are the two greatest commandments on which all the law hangs, Matthew 22:34-40. In fact, these two commandments are the fulfillment of the law, the sum of the law, as Paul brought out in Romans 13:8-10. Let me read that with you today so we can get an idea of what we’re talking about here. “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, You shall not covet, and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
In other words, when you add all the laws up, they equal love. The lawyer had asked another question because he wanted to justify himself right here. You see, it wasn’t enough for the lawyer to have Jesus tell him I’ve got to keep the law, and if you keep that law, you’re going to live, because he realized he had not been keeping that law. He had not been living up to that law perfectly. And so he wanted to justify himself.
Look what he said in verse 29 back in our text here. But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
When Jesus put the lawyer on the spot, he sought a way of escaping. He asked, Who is my neighbor? He’s beginning to squirm. He was one of those Jews that despised the Samaritans and those of other nations, and thinking that he was more righteous, would have nothing to do with even the sinners of his own nation. And so the lawyer, he has to narrow the definition of neighbor if he wants to justify himself in regards to the law which said to love your neighbor as yourself.
Don’t we do the same thing today?
We try to justify ourselves when we know we’re not doing God’s will. We say, oh, everybody else is doing it, or, that really isn’t a big deal, or, hey, that’s just your interpretation. We try to twist the scripture to fit our situation instead of changing our situation to fit the scripture, rather than repenting, trusting God for forgiveness. And so the parable of the good Samaritan is Jesus’ answer to the question, Who is my neighbor?
Let’s read it together. Luke chapter 10, beginning in verse 30. “Then Jesus answered and said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.”
Notice here in the parable where the man in the parable was traveling. Notice what happened to him. He was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among the thieves. Now, this is a quite treacherous, 17-mile decline of some 3400 feet, a place infested with bandits. But who comes along?
The priest and the Levite. And what did they do?
Well, the priest, think about this, was a descendant of Aaron. He officiated at the temple in Jerusalem. And the Levite, he was a descendant of Levi that assisted the priests. But neither of them did anything to help the dying victim on the road. They just turned their heads and kept on going. But then there was the Samaritan. And who is this Samaritan, and what did he do? Well, the Samaritans were half-breeds. They descended from the Israelites who had intermarried with the Gentile settlers who had been brought into Palestine by the Assyrians a long time ago after the fall of Samaria in 722 BC. And although the Jews hated these neighbors of theirs, the Samaritans, this Samaritan had compassion on the wounded man. This is a great illustration of the fact that love opens our hearts to others. And you remember, this parable was given in response to, Who is my neighbor, and that commandment that had been brought up, love your neighbor as yourself.
Look with me in 1 John 3:17, and look what John says about the kind of love we’re to have for others. “But whoever has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?”
You see, love truly opens the heart; not shutting it up, not passing by on the other side like that priest and that Levite. No, the Samaritan loved his neighbor, and so he opened his heart to his neighbor. In fact, if you’ll look closely with me again at the parable, I think you’ll see that this man, when he saw one in need, he acted. And that’s what love always does. It doesn’t just feel. It acts. Look at the verbs used to describe the actions of the Samaritan towards this man in need.
Look with me here in verse 33. “But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. And so he came where he was, he looked on him, and then verse 34, He went to him, and he bandaged his wounds, and he pours on oil and wine, and he sets him on his animal, and he brings him to an in, and he takes care of him. And that wasn’t the end of it. He goes on. The next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii. He gave them to the innkeeper. He said to him, Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.”
So we see here that this was one who truly had compassion, who opened his heart, who acted upon that compassion and expressed and demonstrated the love of God for his neighbor. Now, that’s not the end of the conversation that Jesus had with the lawyer. And we’ll see in the words that follow the real meaning of this parable clearly pointed out.
Look with me here in Luke 10:36. Jesus asked, “So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
You see, he was asking about those that passed by that road that day, the priest and the Levite who went on by, and the Samaritan who stopped to help.
Which one of these was truly a neighbor to the one who fell among the thieves? And look at the lawyer’s answer.
He said in verse 37, He who showed mercy on him. You see, the lawyer knew the answer to Jesus’ question; but notice he still could not bring himself to say the Samaritan. And so he simply said, The one who had mercy on him. We all are in need of mercy; and therefore, we should be merciful. The Bible emphasizes this over and over again. If you look back in Luke the 6th chapter for just a moment, look what it says here in verse 31, where Jesus was again teaching the multitudes. He said, And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
And in verse 36 of that same sermon Jesus said, “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”
What was Jesus’ challenge to the lawyer?
As you see the end of the story here in Luke chapter 10, I want you to look at this in verse 37, when the lawyer said to him, It was the one who showed mercy on him that was truly a neighbor, Jesus said to him, Go and do likewise. You see, Jesus’ challenge to the lawyer is simply this: To go, to treat others like the Samaritan had. Jesus challenged the lawyer to do what he knew was right. No longer could he justify his unloving treatment of others. And you know, we, too, usually know what’s right. The issue is whether we’ll do what we know we should do. There’s a Peanuts cartoon where Charlie Brown indignantly says, Of course I love the human race. I just can’t stand Lucy. Well, the lawyer was saying something quite similar. Of course I love my neighbor. I just can’t stand Samaritans.
What are we saying?
Not with our lips. We often say, I love you, I love you, I love you; but what are we saying with our lives?
Jesus in this great parable has now made it very clear that my neighbor is anyone in need whom I can help. I hope that all of us will take this parable to heart, that we’ll begin to see and open our eyes to those around us who are in need and do what we can to help them, that we won’t turn a blind eye, that we won’t pass by on the other side, that we’ll truly have in our hearts the compassion that we see in Jesus and that he taught us here in this parable; that we’ll open our hearts to others to show them our love, doing what we can to help them, to meet their needs, to overcome their problems and their difficulties.
Of course, we here at The Truth In Love, we are concerned especially about the greatest need of the many souls in this world. And that’s why we have this television program. You remember the lawyer asked Jesus, What shall I do to inherit eternal life? There is really the greatest need of all: Our need for salvation, our need for forgiveness, to be reconciled to God so that we can know and have that certain and sure hope of eternal life. Because everything else then would be for nought. Doesn’t matter how much we might accumulate in this world, how successful we might become, what great works we might do in regards to the things of this world, if we haven’t secured for ourselves the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ and that hope of eternal life. And so today I want to encourage you to take a look at yourself and your relationship with God and ask yourself, Am I right with God today?
If I were to die today, would I be lost, or would I find a place with God?
You see, the Bible teaches us that God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Everlasting life, eternal life, that’s what God wants for us. He wants none of us to be separated from him because of our sins and to spend an eternity in hell away from him; but rather he wants us to be reconciled to him so we can be with him forever in that heavenly home that he’s prepared for us. He’s made all of that possible through Jesus Christ.
You see, Jesus Christ came to this earth to become one of us, to live a perfect life so he could offer himself as a sacrifice for our sins. We like that lawyer have every one fallen short of the grace of God, fallen short of the glory of God. We’ve failed to keep his commandments. But God in his love and in his mercy and in his grace has provided for us that sacrifice, that perfect sacrifice of his only son to pay the price for our sins so we could be forgiven, so that we could be reconciled to him.
If you believe that today, if you’ll trust him for that today, then you’ll want to turn away from your sins in genuine repentance of heart. You’ll want to change your life and to live for God, and you’ll be willing to confess him, Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, the Lord, the savior, and then you’ll give yourself to him as he commanded, immersing yourself into Christ, being baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins to begin that new life so you can be cleansed, so you can become a child of God.
He asks you to come to him. Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. We hope that you’ll do that today if you haven’t, and that if you have, that you’ll continue to follow in the ways of Jesus Christ and to show his love to everyone around you. And we also hope that you’ll let us know here at The Truth In Love how we can help you towards heaven today.
SINGING>> On Zion’s glorious summit stood a numerous host redeemed by blood.
They hymned their king in strains divine.
I heard the song and strove to join.
I heard the song and strove to join.
While everlasting ages roll, eternal love shall feast their soul.
And scenes of bliss forever new rise in succession to their view, rise in succession to their view.
God of hosts on high adored.
Who like me thy praise should sing,
oh almighty king?
Holy, holy, holy Lord.
God of hosts on high adored.
Holy, holy, holy.
SINGING>> All hail the power of Jesus’ name,
let angels prostrate fall.
Bring forth the royal diadem
and crown him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem and crown him Lord of all.
Oh, that with yonder sacred throng
we at his feet may fall.
We’ll join the everlasting song
and crown him Lord of all.
We’ll join the everlasting
song and crown him Lord of all.
ROBERT >> Thanks for watching our program today. We’d love to hear from you. So let me encourage you to contact us with your questions, comments, or requests at The Truth In Love, P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.
You may e-mail us at email@example.com.
Or call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966.
And also, please visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.
Remember, all our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So let us know how we can help you, and please join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.
SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven,
sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream
of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall
, sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream
of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.