The Character of Jesus 47
The Good Samaritan
Luke 10:25 – 37
- Characteristic: Consistency
- (25) Because the lawyer’s question included “eternal life,” he likely was a Pharisee, unless he were a Sadducee, who did not believe in eternal life other than through descendants, and was trying to trap Jesus (as in Matthew 22, 23 – 33, the woman who married seven brothers). However, the phrasing was more like that of a Pharisee.
- (26) Jesus asked for the questioner’s ideas rather than answering outright.
- (27) The lawyer cited Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18, much as Jesus would say later in Matthew 22:36 – 40 and Mark 12:28 – 34.
- (28) Jesus immediately shifted from theory to practice.
- (29) Interestingly, the lawyer did not ask about what it meant to love, but rather on the definition of neighbor.
- (30) This road is 18 miles long and descends 3500 feet. No towns are in the interval, only inns, because it is too steep for a good townsite. Being open country, it was well known for many centuries to be fraught with thieves.
- (31) A priest is of the tribe of Levi and of the sub-tribe of Aaron. They were the only ones to officiate at the Temple. Exodus 23:4 – 5 and Deuteronomy 22:1 – 4, 23:3 – 4 require helping.
- (32) Levites did the background work of the Temple, plus were charged with teaching the people in their hometowns the tenets of the Law.
- (33) The ethnic animosity between Samaritans and Jews was legendary.
- (34 – 36) Two denarii were the equivalent of two days’ pay for a common laborer. The bill may have become greater if the injured man took longer to be able to travel.
- (37) The lawyer had no choice but to answer as he did. Jesus cemented the application by telling him to “do.” The point of the law was not theory but practice.
- Application: Consistency
- Churches still focus on the same question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” How might one answer this in a sentence of two? Are modern answers much different from that of this lawyer?
- Jesus told the lawyer to “do,” twice, meaning that he should act on his love for God and neighbor. Are church-goers encouraged to act out their love or to seek the desired reward?
- Jesus told this parable to illustrate appropriate action resulting from loving a neighbor. We assume that people were not being consistent in this area of acting out their love. What theoretical doctrines today fail to come to fruition?
- Do modern churches (like Judaism of Jesus’ time) miss the reasons and focus on the actions?