Saturday, February 6, 2010

Modern Parable of the Good Samaritan

In Luke 10:25-37, we find the well known parable of the Good Samaritan. To set the context, a Jewish religious leader, in an attempt to test or trick Jesus, asked Him the question, "What must I do to get to Heaven and have eternal life?" Jesus responded with questions of His own, "What do you think? What is written in the Law?" The man responded by quoting Deut 6:5, and Lev 19:18, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart with all your soul and with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus affirmed the answer to be correct, saying "Do this and you will live". (Note that Jesus' statement is not a declaration of salvation by works. The man responded as one under the law, so Jesus merely quoted the promise of the law. To be acquitted under the law, every regulation must be followed perfectly in action, thought and motivation, which is impossible for humans. The man should have acknowledged his guilt to obtain salvation by grace instead of attempting to justify himself). The man then followed up with the question "Who is my neighbor?" which Jesus answered by telling the parable of the Good Samaritan.

In the parable, a man (probably Jewish) is robbed and badly beaten while walking down the road. A priest and later, a Levite (the tribe that assisted the priestly work) noticed the man but crossed over the road and passed by on the other side. Finally, a Samaritan came by, bandaged the man’s wounds, took him to a nearby inn for care, and made provisions for paying any medical expenses. Jesus concludes with the question "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who was beaten and robbed?" The Jewish leader replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus then told him to "Go and do likewise".

Parables, one of Jesus’ favorite methods of teaching, are brief fictional stories which illustrate a moral or ethical truth. One of the primary characteristics of a parable is that it utilized characters, objects, cultural situations, and experiences which were very familiar to the listening audience of that era. With that in mind, we thought it might be interesting to update the Parable of the Good Samaritan in a familiar modern day setting. We’ll arbitrarily select Dallas as the location, and a crowd of Southern Baptists as the audience, since they are both close to home.

Read the entire Good Samaritan Parable as told to a group of Southern Baptists along with additional commentary.

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