The Good Samaritan
"A certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: ...and had
compassion on him" (Luke 10:33).
Most Bible -lovers have a special love for this story, and, having ourselves
traveled down the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, we can easily visualize the whole
event told by our Lord.
It needs to be remembered that the story was originally told to a man who
had enquired about "eternal life" (v.25), and, in these few sentences, the Lord
revealed the very essence of His gospel. What a Master -Teacher He was, -and still
Leaving the details for a moment, we may say that the basic message behind
the story is that if anyone of us would have "eternal life" we must see that it is not a
matter of what we can do for ourselves, but rather of what Someone Else has
graciously done for us the needy man in our story did nothing to save himself, but
could only be grateful for what was being done for him. The Bible says that it is "Not
by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved
us" (Tit. 3:5). And that we would say, is the unique genius of the Christian gospel, -
and it counters and condemns all those false "gospels" that are around us
everywhere. Men love to do something to earn eternal life, but that makes proud
men prouder, and if those are the people to populate heaven, then heaven itself
would only be another hell (See 1 Cor.1: 29)! How much better it is to get low now,
and just thank our Saviour for what He has done for us! The story itself sets before
us three important truths. First we see
THE PLIGHT OF THE SINNER
We note that the man in question had "fallen among thieves" who had
"stripped" him, and "wounded" him, and left him "half dead" (v.30). Possibly he had
brought all this upon himself, -not paying heed to solemn warnings, and prevailing
unaccompanied along the dangerous road, -as. most of us have done. We note that
it says he "went down" to Jericho, and that, we know, is a fast- descending road, and
exactly like the road of sin and self. And it says he "fell" among thieves, - and who of
us has not done that? Our father Adam was the first to fall, and all of us have been
dragged down with him in that "Fall”! But, apart from that, each one of us has also
"fallen in the way", brought down by one vile sin after another. The "thieves of lust
and lying and self-indulgence and many others have all done their work, and we
have been left "half-dead"! Indeed, as Paul puts it, we are totally "dead (toward
God!) in trespasses and sins” (Eph.2: 1 ). Great indeed is the plight of the sinner!
The next thing illustrated in our story, (and particularly emphasized!) is
THE IMPOTENCE OF MERE"RELIGION
For the record goes on to tell of long-robed priests and Levites viewing the
scene but "passing by on the other side" (vs.31, 32). And how many of us have had
to learn that lesson, -or are learning it! "Religions of all kinds parade themselves
everywhere, but we shall have to discover that even our diligent observance of
prescribed tenets cannot lift us from the dust, or save a needy soul” Hope may rise
for a season, but the wounds and impotence will still be there, and the inner grief
unchanged. Let us settle it, then, that once we have fallen among the thieves we
need more than religions and philosophies to help us, for all such will only "pass us
by on the other side". But now we have the beautiful pan of our story, for, in the
person of the Samaritan, is depicted for us.
THE POWER OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
We cannot here spell out all the details, but we can mention a few of the ways
in which He is portrayed to us, and His saving work declared. First we read that "he
came where he (the dying man) was" (v.33). Thank God, "Christ Jesus came into the
world to save sinners" (1Tim.1: 15). That, we know, is simple history and Christ
Himself said, while He was here alongside us, "The Son of man IS COME to seek and
to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). Heavenly Samaritan indeed! Next we are
told, "he had compassion on him" (v .33). With Christ, that compassion began in
heaven, but how His heart must have ached as. well when, here at our "roadside",
he saw the countless evidences of the plight into which humanity had fallen. That
same divine compassion finally took Him to the Cross-where His own pure blood was
willingly poured out as atonement for – our sins and our follies. Like that first
Samaritan, His own garments were "stained indeed" while He worked on us and for
us (See Isa.63: 1-2), but, thank God, He did not pass us by. Truly, "His compassions
fail not" (See Lam.3:22).
We further read that the Samaritan "bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and
wine" (v.34). This reminds us of three very precious verses:
1. "He loved me, and gave Himself for me" (Gal.2:20).
2. "The Blood of Jesus Christ (wine indeed!) cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John1: 7).
3. "He (the Holy Spirit) shall be in you" (The real Oil of Heaven) (John 14:17).
There, we would say, is the real Christian message. Christ Himself cleanses our
sins with His own blood, and then, as the Risen Lord, He comes in to indwell and
transform us, -making us "whole" indeed!
Finally, we note the statement that "He set him on his own beast, and brought
him to an inn, and took care of him" (v.34). The first phrase depicts us as "raised
up" and identified with Christ in His ascendancy (as taught in Eph.2: 6), whilst
"brought to the inn" speaks of our entrance into His church to enjoy the care and
fellowship of His people; -and what an "inn" that is! (See Acts 2:44; Psalm 133). We
are told, moreover, that the Samaritan then made himself personally responsible for
the future needs of his saved one, declaring "whatsoever thou spendest more, I will
repay" (v.35). The message, here is that CHRIST HIMSELF is our new Sufficiency for
all things, and, as John puts it, "We live through HIM" (1 John 4:9). We ask you,
then, why not confess your need to Him this moment, - taking Him to be the
complete answer to your fallen spiritual condition, and the Compassionate Healer of
all your wounds? He will not fail you. But you must have dealings with Him, Himself.
The cry of faith will do it.