Let's Study the Parables - 1 - The Good Samaritan


I knew I had this file somewhere. I’d done a talk on this part of Luke’s years ago for our class at Church. I’d gathered my notes from Tim Gray’s “Mission of the Messiah”.

The Samaritan has compassion on the Jewish man who was left for dead. Let’s take a look at Jewish culture to understand this. The Samaritans were hated by Jews. The Samaritans were the remnant of the ten tribes of Northern Israel that had been conquered by the Assyrians in 722BC.

The Samaritans did two things that made them anathema to the Jews: They mixed their bloodline and their worship with the Gentiles. Such assimilation was the opposite of the separation that constituted holiness in the Jewish mindset. The Samaritans were viewed not simply with distrust, but disgust; they embodied the abandonment of holiness and the politics of separation. So after the priest and the Levite leave the man for dead, the astonishing part of the story is that a Samaritan is the one who has compassion on the Jewish man who lies dying.

The Samaritan embodies the Father’s mercy. According to the old law, one’s neighbor was limited to “the sons of your own people”. Now, Jesus makes the case for a broader view of the law. Jesus then poses the question: “Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" The lawyer said, "The one who showed mercy on him” (Lk. 10:37).

What’s ironic is that the priest and Levite were the literal kinsmen (neighbor) of the man, not the Samaritan. The politics of holiness had restricted the notion of neighbor, but mercy knew no limits. Jesus’ teaching on holiness as mercy was a potent new wine, and it burst the old wineskins of holiness.


I still wonder why this parable is named the Good Samaritan by the Evangelist. Does not Jesus say - on a similar occasion - No one is good, but God alone?

Angelos N.B.


I would bet the “Good Samaritan” moniker cames years later.


Boy, I need to check my grammar a lot closer!

I was listening to a bible study on the way home today, and the speaker made a comment that sort of struck me to the bone.

The Good Samaritan Parable should be used by Protestants against any Catholic that thinks they are better simply because they are Catholic. Jesus shows the Jews to be a priest and a Levite maybe to show that one can’t simply get to heaven because one follows the rules.

One’s actions must come from within. We should always remember that love for our neighbor begins in our hearts and shows through our actions.



The only solution I can think is that the qualifier GOOD was deliberately used as the title of this parable. Although many Jews used the word GOOD on many occasions without knowing the true and deep meaning it denoted, here it was applied by the Evangelist to a Samaritan, which meant to shock Jewish reader even before reading the parable.

I could not find any other reasonable explanation though.If someone has, please let me know :stuck_out_tongue:


Well, if only God is good (by the way, was Jesus quoting any OT Scripture here?), then maybe we are good when we are doing the Will of the Father, for God is in us when we do His Will.



Angelos N.B


Thanks for teaching me more about this parable. I think part of the lesson in it. At least for me is that we can’t always look at people for what they seem to be. Because we never know who the “good samartian” will be in our lives. Just a thought I had


Just shows you how profound these parable are. The simple message is at once profound and direct. It tells exactly how a person is to achieve this goal - persons of the time could understand that, because it was aimed at the human heart. But Jesus did more with this - alluding to a Truth not yet revealed aimed at the Keepers of the Faith for thousands of years to come.




) The priest and the Levite, due to purity laws, feel that by avoiding the wounded man, they are staying close to God (they would have been excluded from the Temple worship for at least a week as they had to purify themselves through a series of riturals). Jesus is indicating that they are actually separating themselves from God by avoiding the wounded man.

  1. The lawyer couldn’t even bring himself to admit that it was the Samaritan that was the neighbor. He could only admit "the one who showed mercy

The above is not the point of the parable. A neighbor is one who helps those in need.


The point of the Parable is that the Kingdom of God is to all people, not just the Jews in addition to your point that one who helps another is their neighbor. But the other points mentioned certainly tell of the Jewish person’s resistance to accepting that the Gentiles were going to inherit the Kingdom as well.


May I ask where you got that understanding from? Because the GOOD Samaritan is about helping those in need. It has nothing to do with Jews and Gentiles. example the poor, the homeless, people who are housebound. The man on the ground in the parable was in need of assistance and that is what was provided. He was provided medical assistance, lodging food etc.

GOD opened the way in the OT Deu 10:18 HE makes sure that orphans and widows are treated fairly; he loves foreigners who live with our people and gives them food and clothes. 19 So then, show love for those foreigners, because you were once a foreigners in Egypt.

foreigners were everyone who lived with the Israelites but obeyed the same laws and commands as the Israelites.


Look at Luke chapter 4. After Jesus reads from the Scroll of Isaiah telling of the freedom of the captives, we read:He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth
But as soon as Jesus indicates that this Salvation is also for the Gentiles:Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.
We see that the Jews are ready to stone Him.When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong.
We see episodes like this throughout the Gospel. Jesus’ message of Salvation is coming, much to the delight of the Jews, but its also for everyone Jew and Gentile alike, much to the chagrin of the Jews.


Ah, I never thought of this idea. I always thought “how can I be
the good Samaritan?” Now you’ve got me thinking, if I were half
dead, is there anyone I would find so disgusting that I would be
unwilling to accept their help? The Jews actually found the
Samaritans to be the epitome of unholiness. Maybe we find that
shallow and unfair of the Jews, because we don’t find marrying
someone of another race, etc. to be unholy. But certainly there are things that we do find unholy today. This is an interesting idea, someone else being good samaritan to us!

I think the reason “good” was added to Samaritan was because
the word Samaritan back then was practically synonomous with the word “bad”. The same reason the word “good” is used with
the thief on the cross.


This has nothing to do with the Parable of the GOOD Samaritan.

Jesus taught what GOD taught in the OLD Testament. He is in union with HIS Father.


Oh yes it does. Because the Samaritans were at the top of the
list of Gentiles that the Jews felt didn’t deserve Salvation. Jesus
turned this idea upside-down.


I agree with you, however, you are speaking about 2 different things. What you are speaking about is about a people, called the Samaritans, the parable is about A Samaritan someone who does a good deed.

Words in the bible at least some of them have a double meaning.


Nobody here discussed the significance of Samaria.

Samaria is the capital of the Northern Kingdom, the 10 tribes of Israel.

The capital of the Southern Kingdom (Judah, Bejamin) is Jerusalem, where the Jews reside.

Jesus always mention something about this place… “The samaritan woman at the well”, “The good samaritan”, “The samaritan woman who said something about the crumbs given to the dogs”…

We all know that Jews regard the lost 10 tribes of Israel to be a people who had lost their identity since Assyria has invaded its land, a society which was polluted by pagan rituals. Jews regard them as dogs. They think that they are the only righteous people of God…

If someone will think along these lines…they will be able to connect it to the primary meaning of the parable of the Prodigal son.

…eventually, we will be able to connect this to the Acts of the Apostle, especially Stephen’s speech before his death.

The message will become clearer.


… and what have I said that disagreed with your statement regarding Jesus and God!!!

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