Luke 10:25-42 (NIV)
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27He 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.'”
28“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
His first and perhaps greatest mistake was in assuming that he had fulfilled the first commandment. When we really consider what the words mean, who among us has loved God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind? It is easy for us to be distracted in any one of these areas even when we worship God, much less in our daily living.
His second mistake was in thinking that he could fulfill the commandment to love God with all he had and still possibly not fulfill the command to love his neighbor. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also (1 John 4:20-21).
His third mistake was in the way that he wanted to narrowly define “neighbor.” If only our friends and those who are easy to love are our neighbors, then perhaps this man fulfills it. It all depends on how broad the definition is. The Jews in Jesus’ day did believe that you had to love your neighbor; but they also taught that it was a duty before God to hate your enemy. It all depends on who your neighbor is and who your enemy is.
30In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of 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, took him to an inn and took care of him.
The wine, containing alcohol, had an antiseptic effect on the man’s wounds. The oil would help to soothe the wounds, easing the pain. To set him on his own animal means that the Samaritan himself walked.
35The next day he took out two silver coins 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.”
“Let it never be forgotten that what the law demands of us
the gospel really produces in us.”
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
from The Cotton Patch Version of Luke and Acts, by Clarence Jordan (1969).
Dr. Jordan (1912 – 1969) founded Koinonia Farm in Americus, Georgia, a pioneering interracial farming community in the deep South. He held a B.S. in agriculture and a Ph.D. in New Testament Greek.
One day a teacher of an adult Bible class got up and tested him with this question: “Doctor, what does one do to be saved?”
Jesus replied, “What does the Bible say? How do you interpret it?”
The teacher answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your physical strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.”
“That is correct,” answered Jesus. “Make a habit of this and you’ll be saved.”
But the Sunday school teacher, trying to save face, asked, “But … er … but … just who is my neighbor?”
Then Jesus laid into him and said, “A man was going from Atlanta to Albany and some gangsters held him up. When they had robbed him of his wallet and brand-new suit, they beat him up and drove off in his car, leaving him unconscious on the shoulder of the highway.
“Now it just so happened that a white preacher was going down that same highway. When he saw the fellow, he stepped on the gas and went scooting by.
“Shortly afterwards a white Gospel song leader came down the road, and when he saw what had happened, he too stepped on the gas.
“Then a black man traveling that way came upon the fellow, and what he saw moved him to tears. He stopped and bound up his wounds as best he could, drew some water from his water-jug to wipe away the blood and then laid him on the back seat.
He drove on into Albany and took him to the hospital and said to the nurse, ‘You all take good care of this white man I found on the highway. Here’s the only two dollars I got, but you all keep account of what he owes, and if he can’t pay it, I’ll settle up with you when I make a pay-day.’
“Now if you had been the man held up by the gangsters, which of these three—the white preacher, the white song leader, or the black man—would you consider to have been your neighbor?”
The teacher of the adult Bible class said, “Why, of course, the nig—I mean, er … well, er … the one who treated me kindly.”
Jesus said, “Well, then, you get going and start living like that!”
The story of the Good Samaritan has an unexpected twist to it. It starts off to answer the question “Who is my neighbor?” But it ends by posing the question “To whom do you prove yourself a neighbor?”
At the Home of Martha and Mary
38As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
from Morning and Evening,
by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“Martha was cumbered about much serving.”
— Luke x. 40
Her fault was not that she served: the condition of a servant well becomes every Christian. Nor was the fault that she had “much serving.” We cannot do too much. Let us do all that we possibly can; let head, and heart, and hands, be engaged in the Master’s service. It was no fault of hers that she was busy preparing a feast for the Master. Happy Martha, to have an opportunity of entertaining so blessed a guest; and happy, too, to have the spirit to throw her whole soul so heartily into the engagement. Her fault was that she grew “cumbered with much serving,” so that she forgot Him, and only remembered the service. She allowed service to override communion, and so presented one duty stained with the blood of another.
We ought to be Martha and Mary in one: we should do much service, and have much communion at the same time. For this we need great grace. It is easier to serve than to commune. Joshua never grew weary in fighting with the Amalekites; but Moses, on the top of the mountain in prayer, needed two helpers to sustain his hands. The more spiritual the exercise, the sooner we tire in it.
Beloved, while we do not neglect external things, we ought also to see to it that we enjoy living, personal fellowship with Jesus. See to it that sitting at the Saviour’s feet is not neglected, even though it be under the specious pretext of doing Him service. The first thing for our soul’s health, the first thing for His glory, and the first thing for our own usefulness, is to keep ourselves in perpetual communion with the Lord Jesus, and to see that the vital spirituality of our religion is maintained over and above everything else in the world.
41“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Psalm 27:4 (English Standard Version)
One thing have I asked of the LORD,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to inquire in his temple.
New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica
Love the song! You find such excellent pieces to bring the lesson into practical view!