Religious apathy: The story of the Good Samaritan
by Patte Smith on Monday, March 5, 2012 at 9:40am ·
Behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying,
“Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
He said to him,
“What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”
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.”
And he said to him,
“You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbor?”
“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. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 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. And the next day he took out two denariic and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.”
And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
~ Luke 10:25-37
The Samaritans were the most inveterate foes of the Jews. They had no dealings with each other. It was this fact which rendered the conduct of this good man so striking, and which was thus set in strong contrast with the conduct of the priest and the Levite. "They" would not help their own afflicted, and wounded countryman. "He," who could not be expected to aid a Jew, overcame all the usual hostility between the people; saw in the wounded man a neighbor, a brother, one who needed aid; and kindly denied himself to show kindness to the stranger.
~ Albert Barnes
Samaritan is mentioned merely to show that he was a person from whom a Jew had no right to expect any help or relief, because of the enmity which subsisted between the two nations.
~ Adam Clarke
it is the design of the parable in general to show, that he that does acts of kindness and mercy to persons in distress, is a neighbour in the truest sense, though he is not an Israelite, but even a Samaritan, who was, above all men, hated by the Jews; why may it not be thought to be the view of Christ in particular, to prove himself the best neighbour and friend of men, though he was traduced by the Jews as a Samaritan?
~ John Gill
A certain Samaritan. The hereditary enemy of the Jews; despised and hated by the latter. The Jews and Samaritans have no dealings (Joh 4:9). If any man had excuse for passing the wounded Jew by it was the Samaritan. But, unlike the priest and Levite, he had compassion. His compassion leads to action, to self-denial, and inconvenience. He dresses the man's wounds, sets him on his own beast, carries him to the inn, and when he left, left money for his care.
~ People's New Testament
Samaritan-one excommunicated by the Jews, a byword among them, synonymous with heretic and devil (Joh 8:48; see on Lu 17:18).had compassion-His best is mentioned first... No doubt the priest and Levite had their excuses-It is not safe to be lingering here; besides, he's past recovery; and then, may not suspicion rest upon ourselves? So might the Samaritan have reasoned, but did not. Nor did he say, He's a Jew, who would have had no dealings with me (Joh 4:9), and why should I with him?
~ Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
If we speak of eternal life, and the way to it, in a careless manner, we take the name of God in vain.
No one will ever love God and his neighbour with any measure of pure, spiritual love, who is not made a partaker of converting grace. But the proud heart of man strives hard against these convictions. Christ gave an instance of a poor Jew in distress, relieved by a good Samaritan. This poor man fell among thieves, who left him about to die of his wounds. He was slighted by those who should have been his friends, and was cared for by a stranger, a Samaritan, of the nation which the Jews most despised and detested, and would have no dealings with. It is lamentable to observe how selfishness governs all ranks; how many excuses men will make to avoid trouble or expense in relieving others. But the true Christian has the law of love written in his heart. The Spirit of Christ dwells in him; Christ's image is renewed in his soul. The parable is a beautiful explanation of the law of loving our neighbour as ourselves, without regard to nation, party, or any other distinction. It also sets forth the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward sinful, miserable men. We were like this poor, distressed traveller. Satan, our enemy, has robbed us, and wounded us: such is the mischief sin has done us. The blessed Jesus had compassion on us. The believer considers that Jesus loved him, and gave His life for him, when an enemy and a rebel; and having shown him mercy, He bids him go and do likewise. It is the duty of us all , in our places, and according to our ability, to succour, help, and relieve all that are in distress and necessity.
~ Matthew Henry