The Parable of the Good Samaritan: Another Portrait of Jesus


The Parable of the “Good Samaritan” (Painting by Rembrandt, 1638, public domain)

Let’s take a look at the parable of the “Good Samaritan” as it is recorded for us in the Bible (KJV) in Luke 10:25-37:

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal lifeHe said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said,

A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, 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 on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”

While not often stated as such, Jesus’s account of the Samaritan saving the man who had been attacked by thieves is nonetheless a parable. The account is an earthly story, but with a heavenly (spiritual) meaning. It is one of 18 parables, which are unique to Luke, of a total of about 46 (depending on how one defines an individual parable) found in the Bible.

Who is the Good Samaritan?

If we look closely at the account, we see that the man is not specifically identified, but he is called only a “certain man” much like the lawyer was described as a “certain lawyer” or the Samaritan was a “certain Samaritan.”  We know also that he was jouneying “down” from Jerusalem to Jericho. Jerusalem is a holy city in the hills of Judea, while Jericho (“the city of palm trees” according to Deuteronomy 34:3) was a cursed city down in the plain along the river Jordan according to Joshua 6:26.

We learn that the certain man is beaten and robbed by thieves, and left naked and “half dead.”  Let’s pause a moment to contemplate what transpired.  The man is going from a holy city “down” to a cursed city, also known as the city of “palm trees”. Regardless of the spritual implications that this might suggest by itself, we do know that the certain man was attacked with the result that he was stripped of his belongings, was left naked and “half dead”.  This is indeed representative of the fall of Adam (and hence all of humankind who are descended from Adam).  The devil (who is “the original thief”) attacked Adam with a lie that led to his becoming naked before God and dead in his sin as a result.  Adam did not die physically, but he and all of his descendents died spiritually at that moment and destined to and eternal death in hell.  Adam became stripped of his home in Eden and was naked (at least newly becoming aware that he was naked, such that he (and Eve) sought to cover that nakedness with their own useless works creating aprons of fig leaves).  And God had specifically warned in Genesis 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” It is clear that Adam and Eve did not die physically in the day that they ate of the fruit of the tree, but they most certainly did die spiritually speaking.  Hence it would not be inaccurate to say that they had become “half dead.”

John 8:47-49 tells us that Jesus accused of being “a Samaritan” and because He is God in the Flesh, Jesus can be only viewed as the “Good Samaritan”

He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me.

The Priest and the Levite Passed by on the Other Side

These two religious men are representative of those who read about in 2 Timothy 3:5, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:”   They are like scribes and Pharisees to whom Jesus said, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of deadmen’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”  They are essentially half dead themselves.

Binding Up The Wounds Pouring in Oil and Wine

Only Jesus can spiritually bind up our sin caused wounds…and He is the One who spiritually pours in the wine (representing His shed Blood) and anoints us with the oil (representing the Holy Spirit of God).  Jesus is the one who cares for us and pays the full price to ensure our complete healing from the sin caused otherwise fatal wounds, and He Alone ensures that we are fed with the Bread of Life.  Jesus prayed for His Own to the Father (Please read all of John, Chapter 17). And Jesus, before He ascended, said that He would petition the Father to send the Comforter (the Holy Spirit), Who is the One Who Takes Care of, and intercedes on behalf of the Believers until Jesus’s Triumphant Return on the Clouds of Glory. This we read in John 14:16-17, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” and in John 14:26, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”  and in John 15:26, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:” and John 16:7, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”

Postscript: This author cannot claim to be the only one who sees the parable from an allegorical perspective, as (according to Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Good_Samaritan ) it had been noted as early as the 5th Century by Origen who described the allegory in similar, but nonetheless still different terms.

 

 

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