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The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Rev. Michael Calvert, Ph.D., August 25, 2019
Part of the The Parables of Jesus series.

If I were to ask you to list five of our Lord’s parables, I believe that each of us would have at least two of them in common on our list. One would be the parable of the ‘Prodigal Son.’ The other would be the parable we are going to be considering for two Sundays, beginning this Lord’s Day.

It is the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan,’ found in Luke 10:25-37.

On Sunday, we are going to begin looking closely at this beloved parable, one of the most recognizable stories in all of the world. A story that is revered in virtually every place on the globe, in many cultures, and among many peoples, both believers and unbelievers alike.

But, as we have noted all along the way in our series of message on our Lord’s parables, these blessed stories were not told in a vacuum. They were given by our Lord in a specific setting. And if we are going to be good students of these parables, it is essential that we not only examine the story itself as told by Jesus, but why He told it, to whom He told it, and even where He was when He spoke it.

And when it comes to this most honored parable, the necessity of evaluating its setting is amplified considerably. This is why we are going to take our final two Sundays in our parables series to look carefully at this story, beginning Sunday with an examination of its context. Why did Jesus give this particular story? To whom was he speaking? These are very important issues if we are going to really grasp the full measure of the parable’s wonderful weightiness.

This week, we will consider the drama that precedes the story itself. You can read about it in Luke 10:25-28.

Understanding this introduction to the parable is the key to its interpretation. If we neglect this setting, we will interpret the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan’ along purely ethical lines (as is so often done!). We will conclude that the heart of the parable concerns being a ‘good neighbor’ to those in need. But, as we will discover on Sunday, this is only part of the truth! The lesson that Jesus will teach here is much, much bigger than is often assumed!