In the story below, the person who helped the victim was a Samaritan. Why do you think Jesus used the example of a Samaritan when He told this story and what is the point He is trying to teach?
(Luke 10:30-37) In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
The Samaritans were Jews who lived in the city of Samaria, who intermarried with the foreigners who came to that land. This intermarriage caused the true worship of God to be mixed with the worship of strange gods as described in the book of 2 Kings.
The fact that there was such dislike and hostility between Jews and Samaritans is what gives the use of the Samaritan in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) such force. The Samaritan is the one who is able to rise above the prejudices of centuries and show mercy and compassion for the injured Jew after the Jew’s own countrymen pass him by.
It is with those centuries of opposition and incidents behind their peoples that we can understand the surprise of the Samaritan woman (John 4:9) when Jesus rises above the social and religious restrictions not just of a man talking to a woman, but also of a Jew talking to a Samaritan.
In using the Samaritan in His story, Jesus is teaching us that we should show love even to those who despise us. We do not choose who we should love. The love taught in the Bible draws no boundaries.
What is the way that the Samaritan showed love to this Jew? How can we learn from this example?
The Samaritan showed love to his neighbor in a tangible way. The robbery victim needed one thing – medical attention – and the Samaritan gave that to him. The Samaritan did not go over the Jew and prayed for his healing. He attended to his wounds. Prayer is good but when we use it as an excuse not to do anything, it is bad. Sometimes we meet someone with a need which is well within our means to help and because it appears so unkind to do nothing, we just tell that person we will pray for him, as if that alone will make the person feel better.
James warned us about the same thing when he wrote,
(James 2:15-16) Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
What does Jesus mean when He says that we need to receive the kingdom of God like a child?
Luke 18:17 Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.”
A child believes in some things even though he doesn’t fully understand everything. He believes that his parents will continue to feed him. He doesn’t worry about whether his parents will lose their jobs or deplete their savings. He doesn’t wonder if his parents will one day stop loving him.
Anselm of Canterbury was a philosopher who lived in the 12th century. He was famous for his saying (in Latin) “Credo ut intelligam” meaning “I believe so that I may understand”. Most people would do just the opposite meaning “I need to understand so that I may believe”.
When it comes to matters of God, we cannot understand fully. If we can understand fully the things of God, we might as well be God. Yet the Bible does not encourage us to practise blind faith, which is faith without any facts at all. It gives us enough facts for us to take a step of faith. But having thought through these facts, we need to take a step of faith so that we may understand more of the things of God. It is only when we believe in God that the Holy Spirit comes into our life and enables us to understand much more than we could reason ourselves before we become a believer.
John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.
Jesus healed a man that was born blind. How was this blind man able to effectively share about the goodness of Jesus?
John 9:1-25 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth….6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. 7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam”. So the man went and washed, and came home seeing…13 They brought to the Pharisees the man who had been blind. 14 Now the day on which Jesus had made the mud and opened the man’s eyes was a Sabbath. 15 Therefore the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. “He put mud on my eyes,” the man replied, “and I washed, and now I see.” 16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.” But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided…25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”
Our testimony is a very powerful thing. We may not have all the answers to Christianity and God that our friends may throw at us, but we know what God has done in our lives and people will not be able to dispute that.
In the incident above, people were disputing who Jesus was. Some say He must be a man of God as He could do miraculous signs. Some say He must be a sinner because He broke the law of not healing someone on the Sabbath, which was set up by the Pharisees. The people turned to the blind man, whom Jesus had healed, to ask for his opinion. The blind man didn’t have all the answers. But he testified with certainty that Jesus had indeed done a wonderful thing in his life.
Why do you think that Zacchaeus was willing to return the money that he has cheated?
Luke 19:5-9 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.
A person who is truly experienced salvation will show remorse for his sins. Imagine we are facing the death penalty and waiting for execution in prison and we find out one day that the President has pardoned us. Will we not be filled with gratitude for the President? Would we be willing to do something if we know that will upset our benefactor?
In the above example, all the President has to do is to sign a presidential pardon. What if the President had to pay with his own life in order that you might escape the death penalty? How much more grateful would this criminal be?
Therefore, a person who professes to believe in Jesus’ death for him and still continue to live in sin, knowing that sin grieves God, should re-examine his faith to see if he has indeed believed. That is not to say this gratitude will prevent us from ever sinning again. There will be times when we yield to the temptation of sin. However, there will be remorse when we sin and the desire to want to get back on a right relationship with God.
Jesus said that everything that is prophesied about Him by the prophets will be fulfilled. Besides those he mentioned below regarding His death and resurrection, what other prophesies are there in the Bible that talks about Jesus?
Luke 18:31-33 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”
Here are some of the prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Jesus.
- Born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:1)
- Born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:18)
- Triumphal entry upon a donkey (Zechariah 9:9, John 12:13-14)