In Luke 10, Jesus is asked "what is the most important commandment?" He responds that the greatest commandment is to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind" and the second to "love your neighbor as yourself". Jesus was then immediately asked who counts as a neighbor and he responds with a parable or a story lesson that is an example for everyday life.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
Luke 10:25-37 ESV
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?" 27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." 28 And he said to him, "You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live." 29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" 37 He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise."
Commentary on the Good Samaritan
You will find my text in part of the 29th verse of the 10th chapter of Luke: "And who is my neighbor?" "We are told that as Christ stood with his disciples a man, a lawyer, stood up and tempted him, and said: "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He asked what he could do to inherit eternal life, what he could do to but salvation. And the Lord answered his question, "What is written in the law? How readest thou?" To which the lawyer answered: "Thou shalt love the Lord God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself." "Thou hast answered right." But, "Who is my neighbor?" And he drew a vivid picture, which has been told for the last eighteen hundred years; and I do not know anything that brings out more truthfully the wonderful power of the gospel than this story, which we have heard read to-night—the story of the man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and who fell among thieves. Jerusalem was called the city of peace. Jericho and the road leading to it were infested with thieves. Probably it had been taken possession of by the worst of Adam's sons. I do not know how far the man got from Jerusalem to Jericho; but the thieves had come out and fallen upon him, and had taken all his money, and stripped him of his clothes, and left him wounded—left him, I suppose, for dead.
By and by, a priest came down the road from Jerusalem. We are told that he came by chance. Perhaps he was going down to dedicate some synagogue, or preach a sermon on some important subject, and had the manuscript in his pocket. As he was going along on the other side, he heard a groan; and he ".-turned around and saw the poor fellow lying bleeding on the ground, and pitied him. He went up close, took a look at him, and said: "Why, that man's a Jew; he belongs to the seed of Abraham. If' remember aright, 1 saw him in the synagogue last Sunday. I pi him. But I have too much business, and I cannot attend to L'
He felt pity for him and looked on him, and probably wondered why God allowed such men as those thieves to come into the world and passed by. There are a good many men just like him. They stop to discuss and wonder why sin came into the world, and look upon a wounded man, but do not stop to pick up a poor sinner, forgetting the fact that sin is in the world already, and it has to be rooted out. But another man came along, a Levite, and he heard the groans: he turned and looked on him with pity, too. He felt compassion for him. He was one of those men that, if we had here, we should probably make him an elder or a deacon. He looked at him and said: "Poor fellow! he's all covered with blood, he has been badly hurt, he is nearly dead; and they have taken all his money, and stripped him naked. Ah, well, I pity him!" He would like to help him; but he, too, has pressing business, and passes, by on the other side. But he has scarcely got out of sight, when another comes along, riding on a beast. He heard the groans of the wounded man, went over and took a good look at him.
The traveler was a Samaritan. When he looked down, he saw the man was a Jew. Ah, how the Jews looked down upon the Samaritans. There was a great, high partition wall between the Jews and the Samaritans. The Jews would not allow them in the temple; they would not have any dealings with them; they would not associate with them. I can see him coming along that road, with his good, benevolent face; and as he passes, he hears a groan from this poor fellow. He draws in bis beast and pauses to listen. "And he came to where he was." This is the sweetest thing to my mind in the whole story. A good many people would like to help a poor man if he was on the platform if it cost them no trouble. They want him to come to them. They are afraid to touch the wounded man; he is all blood, and they will get their hands soiled. And that was just the way with the priest and the Levite. This poor man, perhaps, had paid half of all his means to help the service of the Temple, and might have been a constant worshiper; but they only felt pity for him.
This good Samaritan "came to where he was;" and after he saw him, he had compassion for him. That word "compassion"—how sweet it sounds! The first thing he did on hearing nim cry for water—the hot sun had been pouring down on his head— was to go and get it from a brook. Then he goes and gets a bag, that he bad with him—what we might call a carpet-bag or a saddlebag, in the West—and pours in oil on his wounds. Then he thinks, "The poor fellow is weak;" and he goes and gets a little wine. He has been lying so long in the burning sun that he is nearly dead now —he was left half dead—and the wine revives him. He looks him over, and he sees his wounds that want to be bound up, but he has nothing to do this with. I can see him now tearing the lining out of his coat, and with it binding up his wounds. Then he takes him up and lays him on his bosom till he revives; and, when the poor fellow gets strong enough, the good Samaritan puts him on his own beast. If the Jew had not been half-dead, he would never have allowed him to put his hands on him. He would have treated him with scorn. But he is half-dead, and he cannot prevent the good Samaritan treating him kindly and putting him on his beast. ~ Excerpt from the Gospel Awakening's "THE GOOD SAMARITAN"
The Bible story of the Good Samaritan is a parable to demonstrate how we should “love our neighbors as ourselves.” When others need our help the most, like the man beaten by robbers on the road, our love for neighbors is truly tested. Jesus instructs us to be like the Good Samaritan, helping others in times of suffering, and not the Priest and Levite who neglected their neighbor.
Read Bible verses relating to the Good Samaritan lesson below and may this story inspire you to love your neighbor as yourself just as the Good Samaritan. Also find related articles, videos, and audio sermons to learn more in studying the Word of God.
1 John 4:7 - "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God."
Leviticus 19:18 - "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord."