Parable of the Good Samaritan

Thomas

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The Good Samaritan:

Luke 10:29-37
But he ... said to Jesus: And who is my neighbour?

And Jesus answering, said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among robbers, who also stripped him and having wounded him went away, leaving him half dead. And it chanced, that a certain priest went down the same way: and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a certain Samaritan, being on his journey, came near him: and seeing him, was moved with compassion: And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine: and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two pence and gave to the host and said: Take care of him; and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee. Which of these three, in thy opinion, was neighbour to him that fell among the robbers? But he said: He that shewed mercy to him. And Jesus said to him: Go, and do thou in like manner."

Throughout my entire Catholic childhood the parable of the Good Samaritan was told to me as a moral tale. Think of the story, and think 'who am I?' within it. Invariably, we cast ourselves as the Good Samaritan – that is whom we should aspire to be. What is the message of the parable then, what is the message? Love thy neighbour ...

The modern interpretation of this parable is moral, ethical, and, dare I say, pretty obvious. It is humanist in the sense that I doubt you will find anyone who would criticise the actions of the good samaritan. One doesn't have to be a Christian to offer someone a helping hand, and offering someone a helping hand does not make one a Christian. So why does Jesus bother telling a parable that is blindingly obvious?

+++

This interpretation is fairly recent, and markedly dissimilar from the traditional interpretation that was taught throughout the Medieval era and up to modern times. In this, the answer to the question 'who am I?' within this tale is ... the victim.

In the Medieval telling 'I' am the victim of the world, robbed of my birthright by sin, stripped and wounded, and abandoned to the passage of time. Jesus is the Good Samaritan. God is moved by the plight of the human condition.

"And going up to him, bound up his wounds,"
'Behold, I make all things new' Apoc 21:5

'pouring in oil and wine:'
The Grace and Charisms of the Holy Spirit

'and setting him upon his own beast,'
'in him we live and move and have our being' Acts 17:28

'brought him to an inn and took care of him.
The Church

'And the next day he took out two pence ...'
The Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist

"... and gave to the host and said: Take care of him; and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee."
The Church is equipped with certain gifts at her disposal to repair the fallen creature, until the Parousia.

'And Jesus said to him: Go, and do thou in like manner.'
Love thy neighbour - and all that He has said above will come to pass - God willing.

Thomas
 
I think the glaring point of the story goes beyond "Love thy neighbor" for it extends to "Love thy enemy". The Samaritans and the Jews detested each other. Yet here in an act of mercy, the Samaritan goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Then there is the hypocracy of the priest and the Levi, two religious figures who are supposed to show mercy, but don't.
 
Thank you Thomas. :) It's interesting that this parable was discussed recently at another forum. The person who started the thread posted a similar interpretation was the one you give, but with more emphasis on 'payment for our sins.' I must admit that I don't find too much inspiration in the whole payment for our sins thing. However, I tried my own interpretation and it came out much closer to yours (although I did not note the connection to the sacraments). My emphasis, as yours, is on healing.

peace,
luna
 
I think the glaring point of the story goes beyond "Love thy neighbor" for it extends to "Love thy enemy". The Samaritans and the Jews detested each other. Yet here in an act of mercy, the Samaritan goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Then there is the hypocracy of the priest and the Levi, two religious figures who are supposed to show mercy, but don't.
I agree with that Dondi.
I tend to see more of the love thy enemy. cause it was an enemy that stopped to help not the two religious figures who were more his neighbor.

I like that older interpetation that Thomas showed also was a way I had not seen it before gonna have to look at it for a bit.
 
Hi all -

Yes, as Luna says, the emphasis is on healing, restoration, love ...

... I mean, the Good Samaritan could have walked away saying "I warned you, but would you listen?"

Thomas
 
"A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among robbers, who also stripped him and having wounded him went away, leaving him half dead."

I think the victim represents the lost people of this world. [the bruised, and the wounded in heart] "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost."


"But a certain Samaritan, being on his journey, came near him: and seeing him, was moved with compassion"

The Good samaratin is anyone with the Spirit of God in them, who can help restore that which is lost in our people.


"And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine":

"Oil and wine" represents the Spirit of God, and its healing powers.


"brought him to an inn and took care of him."

I think this represents [time] the time making known the Spirit to the lost, and restoring them.


"Take care of him; and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee."

I think this represents the law of harvest. "What you sow, so shall you reap"


The good samaritans are those who have embraced the Love of God. It is about Love, but more than that, it's about planting that Love [Spirit] in the 'hearts' of the lost, and wounded.

This is my take on it, anyway. :)


Much Love,
 
"A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among robbers, who also stripped him and having wounded him went away, leaving him half dead."

I think the victim represents the lost people of this world. [the bruised, and the wounded in heart] "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost."


"But a certain Samaritan, being on his journey, came near him: and seeing him, was moved with compassion"

The Good samaratin is anyone with the Spirit of God in them, who can help restore that which is lost in our people.


"And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine":

"Oil and wine" represents the Spirit of God, and its healing powers.


"brought him to an inn and took care of him."

I think this represents [time] the time making known the Spirit to the lost, and restoring them.


"Take care of him; and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee."

I think this represents the law of harvest. "What you sow, so shall you reap"


The good samaritans are those who have embraced the Love of God. It is about Love, but more than that, it's about planting that Love [Spirit] in the 'hearts' of the lost, and wounded.

This is my take on it, anyway. :)


Much Love,


Wow, I never thought of the Good Samaritan as the Son of God. Great insight, Cage!

We could go further and say that we are the innkeeper, charged with taking care of the sheep. And that the Good Samaritan has given us a certain stewardship that we have the means to take care of the victims, and that he will return with His reward (repayment) with Him.

Great stuff!
 
The Son of God or the Son of Man? Jesus used both titles in the NT, so what is the Differnce between the two?


Much Love,
 
Samaria is just another name for Israel. It's the northern kingdom. The bad feelings between Judahites and Israelites goes back to an historical jealousy dating to the 8th century BCE when Israel was experiencing a golden age and Judah was a cultural backwater.

Chris
 
The Son of God or the Son of Man? Jesus used both titles in the NT, so what is the Differnce between the two?


Much Love,
Cage,

I believe you will find that Jesus spoke of flesh and spirit.
John 3:6
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
He was Son of man as relates to his flesh. He was son of God as relates to the spirit and being born of the spirit.

God spoke to his phrophets as Son of man as in Ezekiel 2:1
And he said unto me, Son of man, stand upon thy feet, and I will speak unto thee.
Of course Jesus is included in this title.

The title Son of God refers to the divine nature or divinity within Jesus or the spirit man. You also having received the spirit of God become a son of God as you allow his divinity to manifest in you.
Romans 8:14
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Being both alive in flesh and spirit, Jesus used both titles.

Love in Christ,
JM
 
Samaria is just another name for Israel. It's the northern kingdom. The bad feelings between Judahites and Israelites goes back to an historical jealousy dating to the 8th century BCE when Israel was experiencing a golden age and Judah was a cultural backwater.

Chris
Actually, the differences were religious in nature, regarding where worship was to be done, on the temple in Jerusalem, or on the Temple at Mount Girizim. Distrust also developed when Samarian was overrun by the Assyrians, with many people being carried away and replaced by other Assyrians, and also when Judah underwent the Babylonian captivity.
John 4:19-20 said:
19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, {Mount Gerizim} and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
(compare Deuteronomy 11:29, Deuteronomy 27:12, and Joshua 8:33)
 
The Son of Man is used extensively throughout the OT, but only once, in Daniel, is the Divinity, or a Person thereof, referred to as 'The Son of Man' - it was to this text that Jesus referred when being questioned by the Sanhedrin, and it was on this claim - to be of Son of Man as spoken of in Daniel specifically, that the charge of blasphemy was laid agaainst Him.

Thomas
 
Kindest Regards, all!
Samaria is just another name for Israel. It's the northern kingdom.
Well, yes, but that's not quite the whole story. The Samaritans were a fragment of the Northern tribes, a token population left behind after the Assyrian invasion that carried the far greater bulk of the House of Israel off into the nether reaches of the Assyrian Empire. There are those who suggest a large portion were exiled over the Caucasus mountains, and who came to be known in time as "caucasians."

The Good Samaritan:

Luke 10:29-37
But he ... said to Jesus: And who is my neighbour?

And Jesus answering, said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among robbers, who also stripped him and having wounded him went away, leaving him half dead. And it chanced, that a certain priest went down the same way: and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a certain Samaritan, being on his journey, came near him: and seeing him, was moved with compassion: And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine: and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two pence and gave to the host and said: Take care of him; and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee. Which of these three, in thy opinion, was neighbour to him that fell among the robbers? But he said: He that shewed mercy to him. And Jesus said to him: Go, and do thou in like manner."

This lesson shows the value of not being judgemental. We see, by the actions of the Priest and the Levite, the inordinate focus on "the letter of the law" at the expense of the spirit of the law. It wasn't necessarily a matter of conscience, at least for the priest, it was a matter of legal decorum. They could not be defiled with "unclean" things. Now, it could be argued, depending, that the Levite could have defiled himself and paid whatever ransom and washed and gone before the priest and been "adjudicated" as clean again. Of course, that is such a hassle.

The Samaritan, a despised low life dog in the eyes of the others, was not concerned with the formalities...he was concerned with the welfare of a fellow human being. This lesson was given to Jews, to a Jew, to whom a Samaritan was a waste of life and breath. The Greeks of the time were thought more highly of. Yet, though all of this stigma, G-d worked a good work, a Holy Spiritual work, through someone deemed unworthy.

It tells me that no one, no matter how unworthy I might think or believe they are, no one is truly unworthy in the eyes of G-d. There may be those who resist G-d and deny G-d and refuse G-d, but none are unworthy. At least, if such as an unworthy exists, it is not my place to cast judgement.

A Samaritan, a person uniformly judged by fellow humans as unworthy, was used as an instrument of the Holy Spirit. Think of someone who in your mind seems unworthy...and see if it is in them yet to do good, to do what G-d would want us to do.

Be careful in judgement...if your (collective, not addressed to anyone in particular) criteria is perfection, no one will pass muster. No one will pass muster including yourself. So yes, there may be those who do things you may not bear to bring yourself to do, perhaps even rightly so. But if that person who has a fault does good for G-d's sake, and you don't...I really hesitate to try to make that call. Not after Jesus gave us the parable of the Good Samaritan.
 
There have been some interesting comments concerning this parable. Perhaps there was more to it than met my eyes. Allow me to include the preceeding versus to add more context as to what I got. For brevity I will leave out the parable since it is already posted.

Luke 10:25-29
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? [26] He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? [27] 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. [28] And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. [29] But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

Personally I find that the parable would not have even been spoken if the lawyer in the preceeding versus had not seeked to justify himself after tempting Jesus. The lawyer knew the law quite well. He spoke rightly but his intentions were to test Jesus because the lawyer already knew the answer to the question. But the lawyer did not treat all as his neigbor and had some guilt of this. So seeking to "justify himself", he asked the question "who is my neighbor".

The parable to me was just a simple story that made it obvious, even to the lawyer that mercy was missing in his life. He already knew the definition of neighbor. The point was to show that ones love for neighbor equates with mercy shown and that one cannot fulfill the words of the lawyers first answer of love without showing mercy on those less fortunate.

Of course then the lawyer clearly saw this and answered correctly and Jesus told him to go and do likewise. Why, because Jesus knew this was what was missing from the lawyer. (MERCY)

Just anothe take to consider concerning the parable.

Love in Christ,
JM
PS Love and mercy go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other. Actions of couse speak louder than words.
 
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Love and mercy go hand in hand

I think so, too, Joseph...

I must admit that I am not as generous as I should be, but I feel compassion for the most part. Its very hard to walk in the will of God, and follow Jesus' teachings to the letter. Very difficult indeed, at least in real world situations. I had an incident just today that made me harshly question myself. I was sickened by my gut reaction, and felt terrible afterwards. I never spoke to this person, so it was all in mind, but I was ashamed of what I was thinking. I looked at this person, and thought to myself how dirty she was, and how unattractive I thought she was. I tried to cover it up by telling myself she's probably beautiful inside, but it didn't help. I was shamed by my judgment of her. I couldn't even look her in the face I was so ashamed...

I know that has nothing to do with mercy, but it woke me up to the reality of my still present un-loving, human nature. Although, it's not nearly as overbearing as it once was. Still, It isn't gone by a long shot, and that's o.k. it lead me to what I needed to experience.

Shame...


Much Love,
 
It should come as no surprise to anyone that an orthodox believer, such as myself, reads significant emphasis upon the latter part of the parable. The exhortation to do good, it seems to us, is in many ways pure humanism Jesus is saying nothing that any man should not already know.

Even in antiquity, I might argue, it does not require a revelation from God to tell man that he should help the helpless – and as cold and brutal as life was, there is evidence to suggest that 'mercy' was not a concept alien to man.

Might I add that it is not a Jew helping a Samaritan, but a Samaritan helping a Jew. To the orthodox the association of the Samaritan with Jesus is obvious – the Samaritan, like God, is ignored and derided by His own people. Jesus is the 'outsider'.

The aspect largely ignored however, and understandably, perhaps, is "brought him to an inn ... Take care of him .. I, at my return, will repay thee."

What is the inn? As I said previously, in traditional Catholic exegesis, the inn is the church. Why inn? Why not a house? Because an inn is a communal place, and this can be interpreted to mean 'church' or 'tradition'.

It is this that lends a Revelatory and supernatural aspect to the Parable. Otherwise, as I have said, it is 'mere' humanism.

Thomas
 
Cage,
Check your PM's .

Thomas,
By the way perhaps you might post one more. Your number of posts on the last one was 666 :) :)

Love in Christ,
JM
 
I think so, too, Joseph...

I must admit that I am not as generous as I should be, but I feel compassion for the most part. Its very hard to walk in the will of God, and follow Jesus' teachings to the letter. Very difficult indeed, at least in real world situations. I had an incident just today that made me harshly question myself. I was sickened by my gut reaction, and felt terrible afterwards. I never spoke to this person, so it was all in mind, but I was ashamed of what I was thinking. I looked at this person, and thought to myself how dirty she was, and how unattractive I thought she was. I tried to cover it up by telling myself she's probably beautiful inside, but it didn't help. I was shamed by my judgment of her. I couldn't even look her in the face I was so ashamed...

I know that has nothing to do with mercy, but it woke me up to the reality of my still present un-loving, human nature. Although, it's not nearly as overbearing as it once was. Still, It isn't gone by a long shot, and that's o.k. it lead me to what I needed to experience.

Shame...


Much Love,

Cage,

Our journey is a progressive one. What you experienced is growth. Your eyes are opening to a world you didn't see before. Maybe last year, the thoughts you had of this woman, for example, wouldn't have phased you. But now, you are terribly bothered by it. Why? Because you are seeing her as God sees her, against the way you have seen her in your own eyes. Yes, there will be conflict, because in your flesh, you still have remnants of the Fall, but by the Spirit, you are being liberated in the old ways of thinking. You're mind is being renewed.

So the shame you are feeling is not necessarily a bad thing, for it's bringing you to greater light of God's holiness. Sure it is painful, for we are in constant battle with a dichotomy of thought. But that's just what the bible teaches will happen:

"Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." - 2 Corinthians 7:9-10



Grace,

Dondi
 
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