The Good Samaritan: Luke 10:20-35

Luke 10:2‑35  •  8 min. read  •  grade level: 5
UK 10:20-35{IN this parable we have delineated, in the simplest way and most exact manner, how Christ is a neighbor to a needy one on earth. There is nothing about heaven in it. There is the salvation which entitles me to heaven; but it is not there that we shall want a neighbor, but here, in this scene of distress. The question is put to the Lord, “Who is my neighbor?" and His answer implies that it is the one who needs Him; and He points out the condition of the one whom He helps, and the character of the help which He gives; not merely what the law requires, but according to the goodness and greatness of God, He unfolds the wondrous relief which He brings to the most needy one on earth, and shows that the very same power that will carry such an one to heaven is that which bears him along the road. He transfers him into a new condition, and places him forever under His own care; that is, Christ's SALVATION.
“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."
This is a picture of man's state. He may not be aware of it; so much the worse. This poor man was not dead: he had enough of life left to make him feel his sufferings and his powerlessness, and so powerless was he that he could not refuse the favor offered. The help comes to man, but he resists it. He is not so consciously powerless as to remain passive, because of weakness. Souls are not saved by Christ, because they are resisting Him in some way. Christ is neighbor to the one who wants Him. Zacchaeus wanted Him; he desired to see Him; and he was met beyond his desire. “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." If you admit your helplessness-make no secret of it-then comes the blessing. "I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin." (Psa. 32:55I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. (Psalm 32:5).)
The Lord here represents Himself by a Samaritan-one on whom the Jews had no claim. We had no claim on Christ; but He has come, and takes the place of loving His neighbor as Himself. He does not confine Himself to the law, but He goes further. He serves the needy one, not for the one or many occasions only, but ALWAYS-not merely according to the law, which was God's standard for man, but according to His own standard-"the will of God."
Here is a helpless one with nothing to commend him. He has no power even to resist. “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." That is the manner of the Lord's love to the needy one. He saw what man was in himself, and it brought Him to the cross, as we know. He came to minister life and comfort to the needy on earth, pouring oil and wine into our death wounds, recovering us from our lost estate. Restored life, or new life, is thus expressed by the figure "oil and wine." The needy one is cured where he suffered. We find our wounds are cured here, where we suffer from them.
Do you ever want a neighbor? Whom do you go to in your trouble? If you believed that God's Son was in this world, would you ever turn to any but to Him? He came where the poor man was: the priest and the Levite passed by; but He sees and enters into the whole character of the evil on suffering man. He fulfilled all the counsel of God, and He alone was the one to remove the evil. He comes to meet you in your distress, not stretching out His hand and sending favors from a distance, but entering into all the circumstances, having intimate acquaintances with the necessity of the one who needs the help. Do you value a neighbor Have you found one? He has come to help us, not after a human fashion only, but to manifest the love of God, which, once it has to do with us, will never leave us. We must always be the objects of it-"forever." Will you pass on and say, I do not want to know Him?
Every one has a death-wound-a suffering of some kind-a sense of what a bitter world it is. All the neighbor was bound to do by the law was to help out of trouble. But this wonderful neighbor says, I bring you to my side and to my state, having first saved you from your own. “He set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him." You first get His power and then His care. Of course this is all figurative; but it shows how the Lord cares for us in a world of difficulty and trial. No one doubts that Christ's power carries the believer to Heaven, but do you expect Him to take you off your own feet, and transfer you to the power which is in Himself? He turns us from darkness to light, not when we get to Heaven, but here on earth where a neighbor acts in the very place where we are. He does not put you on your own feet, as He did when down here, as we read in the Gospels, with those who were lame and palsied. Now He transfers you to another condition. The same character of power that wrought in Christ is given the needy one. Scripture is definite as to this. (See Eph. 1:19, 2019And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, (Ephesians 1:19‑20).) You are on new ground-set on his own beast. He gives us power to rise out of the condition in which He finds us. Whose power is it? It is not mine; the wounds are mine. Not only are the wounds healed-not merely is there a sense of relief from what would terrify and distress, but there is the consciousness of having His power-the mighty power that wrought in Christ and raised Him from the dead. Does it not attract and interest you to know that Christ came down to where' you were; that He is near to you, as your neighbor, to pour oil and wine into your death-wounds, and to give you a power which you had not before-His own power-setting you on His "own beast?"
Christ magnified the law, did the will of God, and fulfilled His love. Now, He says, the power that wrought in Myself is the very power I give you. "We are quickened together with Christ." (Eph. 2:55Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (Ephesians 2:5).) Is it meant that we should know nothing of it down here? No; "it worketh in us." (Eph. 3:2020Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, (Ephesians 3:20).) His power brings you to “the inn," (the place where He will take care of you,) not to a home; heaven is our home. “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."
Now, I have His care. You find the nature and manner of that care all through His life on earth. “While I was with them in the world I kept them in Thy name." It was not riches He gave them. They were so poor they had to shell ears of corn in their hands for food; yet, when He asked, “When I sent you without purse and scrip and shoes, lacked ye anything?"they said, "Nothing."
An inn is for a stranger, a traveler. People do not like this; they like to have a home, a rest, in this world. All would like to have their wounds cured; but they do not care to be set on "his own beast," to be on the new ground with Christ. It is there that He will take care of you, and that your soul will have the sense of what it is to be brought to a place where Christ is chargeable for you all the journey through. The charge is His, and He never relinquishes it. He would have us know that we are always in His charge-not dependent on any other person. Look at the state in which the needy one was found, and the state in which Christ sets him. Does it not draw the heart to Christ? He has come to open out to us the heart of God,-to be the exponent of it. Do not be afraid to trust Him in the path of trouble and distress. He will show you that it is not power only that He will exercise on your behalf-not only a strong hand stretched forth to save you, but the care of a loving heart, to nurture and to cherish you all the way. Is there a heart that knows anything of the sorrow of the world who will say, "I will not look to Him, I will resist Him," or who does not long to say, "I am going through this world as an inn, only seeking a night's lodging, finding I am still without a home, yet having the unspeakable solace of being cared for by Christ, my Savior, while a stranger and a traveler in this weary world"? J. B. S.