Living In Light Of Eternity | Good Samaritan

Parable of the Good Samaritan

Luke 10:30-37

30In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ 36“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

Jesus is telling this parable as a result of a man’s question. Therefore, if we need to understand this parable, we need to know: Firstly, who is Jesus replying to. Secondly, what is the question the person asked Jesus?

Luke 10:25

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

So the person is an expert in the OT law. The key to this parable is the question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So he knew about eternal life. He knew that when Adam sinned, he lost not just fellowship with God but he lost eternal life. Consequently, he knew that not only had Adam forfeited eternal life in the Fall, but he had caused the whole of humanity to forfeit eternal life. Moreover, he knew God had promised an eternal kingdom and he wanted to be part of that paradise regained.

Christianity is not all about this life. It is not about something that makes this life better. Christianity is about eternal life.

Effective Evangelism is to make people aware of eternal life in Jesus. There is an afterlife. Therefore, preparing for that afterlife which lasts forever should be everyone’s primary concern. As well as, eternal life should be the focus of our evangelism, not the goods and blessings of this world.

Question: Firstly, are you prepared for eternal life? Secondly, are you talking to others about the eternal life Jesus has to offer? Thirdly, are you talking about the cross where Jesus accomplished for man peace with God and eternal life with God?

In this case, at that particular occasion you have an expert of the law asking a theological question with the intention of indicting Jesus and this man wants personal information. “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Inherit is used also in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Galatians 5:21. To clarify, the inheritance of eternal life comes after this life is over, it is like what God promised Abraham in Genesis 15.

Furthermore, look at the question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Indeed, that means salvation is a personal thing, he knew that he had to have it personally in his own life and he takes responsibility to do something. What must I do?

Salvation Is A Personal Decision.

After while, Jesus turns the table and asks him a question:

Luke 10:26

26“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

Notice what the scribe said:

Luke 10:27

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “With all your” is repeated four times. This portion is taken from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 which is called the Shema. It is believed to be the summary of the whole law.

Undoubtedly, he gave the right answer. In other words, God is yearning for perfect love to God and to our very own neighbors and that’s what God requires for eternal life.

Luke 10:28

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” Jesus quoted Leviticus 18:4-5. You want to live? Keep My laws.

Luke 10:29

But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor? Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan.

This story has distinctly become an idiom for unusual sacrificial kindness.

Indeed, we call people good Samaritans who find people in need and help them in unusual ways and if anyone thinks that Jesus is telling this story to help people, we don’t know the story yet. It’s really a story about how one inherits eternal life because that is the question that initiated the entire conversation to which this story is the conclusion. Moreover, this also talks about how one responds when he obeys God.

So let’s look at the story:

Luke 10:30

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho…

This is not a real story, this is just an illustration.

A man in particular was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. Jerusalem is about 3,000 feet above sea level and Jericho is about 1,000 feet below sea level. It’s a 4,000-foot drop in 27 KM, so it’s pretty severe downward road. This road in particular is filled with caves and rocks, it is legendary for being a dangerous road and all the caves and rocks allow for hideouts for robbers and highwaymen. In addition, even in the fourth century, the Arabs highwaymen used to rob people and kill. Joshua 18:17 calls this pass which is related to the Hebrew word for blood. It is certainly a very dangerous place.

Luke 10:30

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.

He fell among robbers. They didn’t just rob him, they beat him, stripped him and left him virtually naked. There could be a lot of time pass before anybody came along, and there was no guarantee that someone would find him or help him.

Jesus, in the story immediately introduces a slight ray of hope.

Luke 10:31

A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.

It’s unquestionably good news, here comes a priest, he is a servant of God who offered sacrifices for people in the temple and he would know the Shema, Deuteronomy 6:4-9. He knew Leviticus 19:34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself…. However, the hope is short-lived because immediately Jesus said, “And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.” He saw him and went in the opposite direction.

Now, this is about loving your neighbor.

Clearly, the priest had no love for the man. The priest was expected to help because he knew the Law but he didn’t help.

And then Jesus goes on:

Luke 10:32

So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.

The Levites were assistants to the priests, they were the temple police. Evidently, at the top of the religious ladder is the priest, at the bottom is the Levite. They also knew the law. He comes to the place. He saw him. Then he passed by the other side. Here is another illustration of a man who had no love.

These religious elite were wise and intelligent but they did not know the things of God and neither of these men qualified for eternal life. They did not love God. Remember, if you love God you would keep his commandments. They also did not love their neighbor. There was one right in front of them and they had an opportunity to demonstrate it and they don’t.

You Can Be Religious And Not Have Eternal Life

So being religious, doing all the ceremonies does not give us eternal life or knowing the law does not give us eternal life and neither being a priest gives us eternal life.

Now there is the twist in the story:

Luke 10:33

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.

The Samaritans and the Jews indeed despised each other

They are enemies. However, Samaritans are the offspring of Jews who after the northern kingdom was taken captive, some remained in the land. The land was then taken over by Gentiles and these Jews who remained after the northern captivity from which the Jews were taken captive never returned, the ones who remained in the land intermarried with the Gentiles. Therefore, they were despised and hated because they sold their birthright.

The southern kingdom later went into the Babylonian captivity. Thereafter, after seventy years of captivity, they came back, Nehemiah came back, they wanted to rebuild the wall, remember that? The Samaritans showed up.

You can read this in Ezra 4-6; Nehemiah 2-4. The Samaritans showed up and said, “We’ll help you. We will rebuild Jerusalem.”  And they said, “Absolutely not. We want nothing to do with you.”

The bitterness was so deep. Therefore, the Samaritans then turned to be their enemies and they tried to prevent them from building the wall. The Samaritans were led by Sanballat. Eventually, the Samaritans built their own temple and they said, “Well, if we can’t be welcomed back, we’ll just build our own temple.” In a place called Mount Gerizim, they built their own temple. The Jews who hated them, hated their temple. In 128 B.C, the Jews destroyed the temple and killed some of the Samaritans.

The Jews never traveled through Samaria

Whenever a Jew traveled from north to south, or south to north, the easy way would be to go through Samaria however they never did, they went around Samaria. The remarkable thing was that Jesus, when He went on that journey and met the woman at the well, He went through Samaria.”

The Jews said to Jesus in John 8:48 that he is a demon-possessed Samaritan. An abusive word.

And so here comes a Samaritan. He does not qualify to be a neighbor. Not only is he a stranger, but he’s an enemy and there’s a tremendous amount of racism between the two.

Well, when the Samaritan comes along, the surprise.

Luke 10:33

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.

What is Jesus trying to say? Two men were religious but had no love. They knew the law but had no love. Therefore their religion did nothing to qualify them for the kingdom. One man, on the other hand, was an outcast, and yet he loved.

The Samaritan then takes center stage in the story and here comes the main point.

The Love of the Samaritan

The Samaritan Saw Him

Luke 10:33

But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.

How many times we see people in need and we act as if we never saw that person?

The Samaritan Felt compassion

Luke 10:34

34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. He shared the Samaritan’s feelings.

The Samaritan Went To Him

Evidently, you can just see him bending over the man and assessing his condition. Then, he discovered that the man had some wounds, he was perhaps bleeding.

The Samaritan Bandaged His Wounds

Whatever this man used for bandages came out of his own bag, came out of his own clothing. So, he starts tearing up his own clothes, the perhaps extras that he carried in his travel bag and he starts putting a tourniquet on the man in places where he may be bleeding. Then he’s binding up the wounds with bandages so that they don’t get dirt in them and become worse.

The Samaritan Poured Oil And Wine

In the process of doing that was pouring oil and wine on them. You carried your own wine to drink. You carried your own oil to cook. Wine was used because of its fermentation as an antiseptic. It was used to cleanse the wound. Oil was used to lubricate, to soothe and to soften the tissue. This was part of the healing.

So the Samaritan now is divesting himself of his own clothing. He’s divesting himself of his own provisions. And the word “pouring” means he was generous. He washes over the man with this wine and oil. He’s not dabbing it in there. It’s the lavishness; it’s the generosity of this that is being emphasized here.

The Samaritan Put The Man On His Own Donkey

The man was unable to get on his donkey. So the Samaritan picks him up and flops him over the back of a donkey. He wants to take the wounded man where he can get some food and some water and some care and some rest.

We don’t know how far away the place was, but he takes a hold of the beast by whatever rope was attached and he walks while the injured man is draped over the animal. He was walking beside his living transportation, holding the man on to make sure he doesn’t come off.

The Samaritan Brought Him To An Inn

The Samaritan Took Care Of Him

Having negotiated the place to stay, took the man in, put him down to rest. Then he continued to work with him with his bandages, with his wounds, providing food, sleep, comfort, water, cleansing. And he did it all night.

You say, “Well how do you know that?” Well, Jesus made the story say that in Luke 10:35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

He stayed with him all night, set his whole agenda aside and gave up his own clothes, his own supplies, his own time. This is amazing for a stranger who was his worst enemy. And he stayed all night by his bed, making sure he was cared for. And that wasn’t all either.

The Samaritan Paid For Lodging

Wanting to go on his journey he now put him in the care of an innkeeper, gives him two denarii. This would be enough for sixty-four days of room rent at an inn.

And that’s not all.

The Samaritan Left An open Account

Luke 10:35

The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

Now he has now exposed himself to serious extortion. He’s left an open account. And he’s saying, “I’m going to where I need to go, and you spend whatever you need to spend, give him whatever he needs for a full recovery. And when I come back, I’ll pay you for that.”

This is amazing as this is not a minimal care. This is maximum. Never met the man, total stranger. There was never a question, “Is he my neighbor or is he not?” The only issue was how can I love that man to the full extent of his need? Whether he was a friend or an enemy had no bearing.

This is not giving Rs. 500/- for someone. That deserves an applause. But this is more than that.

Have you ever loved anybody lavishly?

I’ll tell you, there’s somebody you’ve done that for. Every one of you have such love for someone. I have done that for someone. Do you know whom I have done it for? Me. Do you know whom you have done it for? You. That’s how we care for ourselves, isn’t it? Give me whatever I need. I need the best doctor. I need the best care.

We buy the best insurance policies for us. That is to say, we do whatever we need to assure ourselves the best care. But this is over the top for a stranger, over the top for an enemy. Maybe you have done it occasionally but no one loves strangers like this their whole life.

This talks about limitless love. This is about a man who said I will care for this man with no limit. I will love this man though he is my enemy and another stranger to me.

Let me tell you something. That’s what it takes all the time to earn your way into God’s kingdom: Loving God this way and loving your neighbor this way. Will anybody qualify? No. That’s the point. It’s the point about eternal life. No one qualifies for eternal life.

Luke 10:36-37

36“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

So, you want eternal life? If yes, then how are you going to get it? Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength; your neighbor as yourself. I’ll never get in the Kingdom, if that’s what’s required.

So consequently, the Lawyer should have now said, “I cannot love God like that. I cannot love my neighbor like that. If this is what it requires for me to get in heaven, I’m not getting there.”

Friends, we are saved by grace and we are kept by grace.

The Lord not only forgave me for my lack of love toward God and love toward others when He saved me, He continues to forgive me for my lack of perfect love toward God and others. I’ll never be able to love God perfectly until I’m in His presence and I’ll never be able to love others perfectly until I’m in His presence.

See, what Jesus was doing here: Jesus was telling about man’s total inability to deserve the kingdom of God and eternal life on his own. In spite of all his Jewish heritage, knowledge of law, sacrifices, etc., would not qualify him for eternal life.

At the end of the story, Jesus said, “Go and do the same.” Did he? No. He could have fallen at the knees of Jesus and said, “Lord I cannot love you like this. I cannot love another person like this.” Please give me your grace to receive eternal life. By the way, that’s how God loves us. This is what Jesus did to us on the cross. But he just goes back and the next word is another incident in the Gospel.

Conclusion:

How to live in light of Eternity?

Faith in God has to result in good works.

James 2:20

Faith without deeds is dead.

1. Be Compassionate

True religion cares for the needy.

James 1:27

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Are you compassionate? Do you care when someone hurts?

2. Take Responsibility.

True religion causes us to love and serve people around us.

1 John 4:20-21

20For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

True religion goes beyond immediate need and thinks of the future needs. Do you take responsibility to help someone in need?

3. Be Relational.

True religion cares for people without bias (caste, creed or language). Ex Jesus and the Samaritan woman. One’s relationship with God should affect his/her relationship with mankind, especially those of faith. How are your relationships? Are you racial? Do you have preferences with whom you relate to? Christians love crosses all boundaries, even the unlovable.

4. Receive Jesus. Deeds Alone Don’t Qualify One For Eternal Life.

You can be non-religious (Spiritual) and caring. It does not grant a person eternal life just because one is caring because it goes back to faith in God.

James 2:20

Faith without deeds is dead.

Can you commit yourself to God and says, “God I don’t deserve eternal life. It is only through your grace.” So, if you have not given your life to Jesus, God is welcoming you to have fellowship with him and eternal life in Jesus Christ.

Do you truly love God today? Do you truly love your neighbor? True faith loves the unlovable. Hence, ask God to give you the heart of love today. Ask God to help you practice sacrificial love.