Lawyer Hears the Story of the Good Samaritan

(8) Lawyer Hears the Story of the Good Samaritan
Luke 10:25-37


The lesson today is one of the parables that characterize the gospel of Luke. His gospel is full of the wonderful parables that Jesus used to make a point. Dr. Luke majors in parables just like Mark majors in miracles. Dr Luke records some parables that are among some of the most familiar parts of the Bible. The parable of the Good Samaritan is probably the best-known story. I have read where some consider it the greatest story ever told.

I have divided the lesson into four parts, and when we are done, I believe we will understand the point that Jesus is making by this parable.

Part 1: How Can I be Saved

The story begins with verse 25.

25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

The parable of the Good Samaritan came about as the answer to a question about eternal life. It was not an honest question, but it was a good question and a typical question.

A “certain lawyer” asked the question—but he was not a lawyer in the sense that we usually think of lawyers.

I read a little story about two lawyers who were in court.
It was a difficult case, and there was a great deal of controversy surrounding the case.
The court opened and lawyer number one jumped up and called the other lawyer a liar.
The second lawyer jumped up to retaliate and called the first lawyer a thief.
The judge rapped his gavel for silence, and said, “Now that the lawyers have identified themselves, we will begin the case.”

However the lawyer in the parable was not part of a judicial system; but rather, he was an interpreter of the Mosaic Law, and in that sense, he was a lawyer.

Now our Lord had a very wonderful way of dealing with questions. He answered a question by asking a question. It is known, by the way, as the Socratic Method because Socrates used it: answer a question with a question. It lets a man answer his own question. So the lawyer tries to put Jesus on the witness stand, but Jesus turns around and puts him on the witness stand.

26 He (Jesus) said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
Jesus knew that he was an expert in the Mosaic Law.
His answer would bear that out, and Jesus said it was the correct answer.
Listen for the barb that’s in Jesus’ reply.
27 So he (the lawyer) 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.’”
28 And He (Jesus) said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
Notice that the Lord got in a little dig in by insinuating that he wasn’t living by what he knew was right.

Part 2: Who is My Neighbor?

Notice next that the lawyer has another question for the Lord.

Verse 29 says…

29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

Notice that our Lord answered his first question with, “You have answered right.”
Remember that this took place before Christ died on the cross.
But is Jesus saying that a man can be saved by keeping the Law?
Yes, but let’s follow through on this.
It is not the hearers of the Law, but the doers of the Law that are justified.
If you say you can keep it, I’ll have to remind you that God disagrees with you.
He says it is impossible to be justified by the Law, because no one can keep the Law.
It says in Galatians 2:16, “…by the works of the flesh shall no flesh be justified.”
And in Romans, you’ll find this statement: “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (v. 3-4).
Now, if the lawyer had been honest, which he was not, he would have said, “Master, I have sincerely tried to love God with all my heart, soul, strength, and mind, and my neighbor as myself. But I can’t do it. I’ve failed miserably. So, how can I inherit eternal life?” But instead of being honest, he adopted this evasive method and said, “And who is my neighbor?”

Now Christ gave him an answer to this question, and it’s the parable of the Good Samaritan.
It’s a simple story, but a marvelous one.

Part 3: The Parable

I wish that I could have been in the crowd that day, to hear Jesus tell this story, but at least we have this account of what Jesus said.

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.
31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.

The man in the parable is traveling to Jericho, which is about 17 miles from Jerusalem.
The road he traveled was steep and treacherous and involved a decent of about 3,000 feet.
The country itself was a wilderness.
Thieves and robbers watched the road and waited for lonely travelers.
This man was attacked, beaten, robbed, and stripped of clothes by a group of thieves.
He was left to die, and he probably would die unless someone helped him.
We are not told whether he was conscience or not, but I believe he was probably unconscious.
He was in plain sight of anyone that came by.
We are only told of three men who encountered the wounded man that night, but there may have been more.
In any case, they didn’t help the man.

The three we are told about represent three classes of men and three philosophies of life:1. There was the thief.
His philosophy of life says, “What you have, is mine.”
Today, we would say that this is socialism or communism.
God is left out of man’s thinking; He is either considered to be irrelevant or non-existing.

2. There was the Priest and Levite. Their philosophy of life says, “What I have is mine.”
This is rugged individualism that has gone to seed.
His cry is, “Let the world be damned, I will get mine.”
This is Godless Capitalism.

3. There was the Good Samaritan.
His philosophy was, “What I have belongs to you.”
This is a Christian philosophy of life.
The Good Samaritan says, “What I have is yours, if I can help you.”

But, how did the Priest and the Levite react to the injured man?

The Priest:
The priest would not give up his ceremonial cleanness to touch a man who might be dead.

The Levite:
The Levite did not stop and help the injured man, probably for the same reason.

However, the hero of the story is the Samaritan.
He appears after the Priest and Levite have walked around the man and gone on their way down the road.
Here’s the rest of the parable.

33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.
34 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.
35 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.’
Now Jesus asks a question.
36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

Since Samaritans and Jews were bitter enemies, Jesus’ listeners would have been astonished that Jesus chose to make a Samaritan the hero of the story. And this would serve to draw attention to His point; which was, “A true neighbor compassionately serves others in need, without asking what their religion or nationality is.”

Now, our Lord meant to bring this parable right down to where we live. We are told that a certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves. This is a picture of humanity. You see the ones who did this terrible deed belong to the race that came from Adam. Figuratively speaking, mankind came from Jerusalem, where they worship and love God, to Jericho, the accursed city. Humanity, you see, fell. Humanity found itself helpless, hopeless, and unable to save itself. Mankind was dead in trespasses and sin, and this man who had fallen among thieves was half dead.

The next thing we are told is that a certain priest passed by on the other side.
He represents ritualism and ceremonialism which cannot save a person.

After that, a Levite came by, and he also passed by on the other side.
He represents legalism.

Neither ritualism, ceremonialism nor legalism can save you.

Then a “certain” Samaritan passed by.
Who did this “certain Samaritan” represent?
He was the One who told the parable.
When ritualism, ceremonialism, legalism, and religion could not do anything to help the man, Christ came.
He is able to bind up the broken-hearted.
He is able to take the lost sinner, half dead, lost in trespasses and sins, and help him.

Part 4: The message of the Parable.

This parable has a practical application for you and me today.
Any person you can help is your neighbor.
It doesn’t mean that only the person living next to you is your neighbor.
People need Christ, the Good Samaritan.

There is a great deal of talk about getting the Gospel out to the world, but not much of an effort is made to see that people right here in this community know about Christ. People will give money to foreign missions, but they won’t walk next door or across the street to tell their neighbors.

It is like the young fellow who was courting a girl. He wrote her a letter and said to her, “I would climb the highest mountain for you, swim the deepest river for you, cross the widest sea for you, and cross the burning desert for you!” Then he added a P.S.: “If it doesn’t rain next Saturday, I will come and see you.” That sounds like the average Christian’s commitment to God.

The world today is like the man that fell among thieves and needs our help. The world needs Christ. Christ can not only rescue us from drowning, but he can teach us to swim. Ritualism and formalism see mankind drowning and say, “Swim brother, swim.” But man cannot swim. Legalism and liberalism push across toward man and say, “Hang on brother, hang on.” But man cannot hang on. There is a song which says-“I was sinking deep in sin far from the peaceful shore,
very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more;
but the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,
from the waters lifted me, now safe am I.”

Christ lifted me, my friends, and I believe He has lifted you too.
That’s the point of the Good Samaritan.


A priest and a Levite, passed by but didn’t do anything to help the poor man.
Then a Samaritan came along and helped the robbery victim, even making certain of his full recovery by paying for his stay at an inn.
This Samaritan was a true neighbor.
He had a compassionate heart, a helping hand, and unlimited concern.
He gave up his personal comfort, physical energy, and valuable time.
As one preacher expressed it, the robbers beat him up, the priest and Levite passed him up, but the Samaritan picked him up.
Let us heed Jesus’ final instructions to the lawyer, “Go, and do thou likewise.”
What makes you pause?
It is not difficult to discuss neighborliness as a theory, but it costs something to be a real neighbor.
Do you pause to help when you see unfairness and hurt, or like the priest and the Levite, do you look for an escape?
You are never more Christlike than when you feel another’s hurt and seek to help.


Any questions or comments?

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