Are you looking for the best lessons from the parable of the good Samaritan? If yes, then you came to the right place. In this post, let us go deeper into the good Samaritan meaning and discover its rich, powerful, and surprising 10 lessons.
In this post, you will learn more about the following:
- What is the parable of the good Samaritan?
- 5 Bible verses About the Parable of the Good Samaritan
- Parable of the Good Samaritan Summary
- Biblical background of the parable of the good Samaritan
- Lesson no. 1: Love knows no boundary
- Lesson no. 2: Love knows no end
- Lesson no. 3: Love should be in the context of God’s commandment
- Lesson no. 4: Learning should have the right motivation
- Lesson no. 5: Our love for God is reflected in our love for others
- Lesson no. 6: Self-love is not taught in the Bible
- Lesson no. 7: Who you are is what you do
- Lesson no. 8: Remember the weightier matters of the law
- Lesson no. 9: Ask the right question
- Lesson no. 10: We must love in action
- Learn the parable of the good Samaritan
What is the parable of the good Samaritan?
The parable of the good Samaritan is a parable given by Jesus Christ (Yahshua the Messiah). You can read the parable of the good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.
The term “good Samaritan” is among the most popular terms or phrases that are taken from the Bible. Today, a person who has helped others, especially strangers, is called a good Samaritan. There are even laws, hospitals, paintings, literature, movies, and stories inspired by the parable of the good Samaritan.
5 Bible verses About the Parable of the Good Samaritan
As mentioned above, the good Samaritan parable is found in Luke 10:25-37.
25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
While the good Samaritan story is primarily found in Luke 10:25-37, it has a lot of related Bible verses.
One good example is Leviticus 19:18:
You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am Yahweh.
In this verse, you will see how the idea of being a good Samaritan, someone who loves his neighbor, has already been taught a long time ago.
When Christ walked on this earth, He reiterated the importance of loving others. He taught in Matthew 5:43-48:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
The Apostle Paul supported this idea in Galatians 6:10:
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Earlier in the same letter, Paul wrote in Galatians 5:14:
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
There are a lot of Bible verses about the good Samaritan concept. This only proves that we must not forget the importance of being a good neighbor to others.
Parable of the Good Samaritan Summary
The parable of the Good Samaritan is found in Luke 10:25-37. Yahshua gave this parable as part of his discussion with a lawyer.
The story started when a lawyer approached Christ with the intent to test Him.
The lawyer asked Christ, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Instead of answering the question, Jesus posed another question:
“What is written in the law?”
To this, the lawyer responded that we can attain eternal life by loving Yahweh and others.
Yahshua confirmed that the lawyer answered correctly.
However, the lawyer wasn’t satisfied and wanted to make himself look good. So, he asked Christ:
“Who is my neighbor?”
To better answer the question, Christ gave a parable. This is where the parable of the good Samaritan entered.
The parable started with a man who traveled from Jerusalem to Jericho. However, during his trip, the man got robbed. He was then left half-dead, lying down the road.
At first, there was a priest who passed by but he simply avoided the man. Next, there was a Levite who got near the injured man and just looked at him.
The third person who came by the road was a Samaritan. Once he saw the man who was robbed, he was moved with compassion.
As a result, the Samaritan nursed the injured man’s wounds. After that, he brought the man to an inn, so that the man can rest and recuperate.
The Samaritan instructed the innkeeper to take care of the man and whatever expense that might incur, he will pay.
After giving the parable, Christ then asked the lawyer, “Who is the neighbor in the story?”
The lawyer correctly answered, “The good Samaritan.”
Biblical background of the parable of the good Samaritan
To better understand the context of the parable of the good Samaritan, we must first realize what it is all about by looking at history and its immediate situation.
Let’s try to break down Luke 10:25-37 and see all of its elements.
In Luke 10:25, we read:
“And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him…”
The lawyer in this verse is well-versed or familiar with the law of Moses. As part of the audience listening to Christ, this lawyer has to stand up to talk to Jesus Christ (Yahshua).
It was a common practice for students to challenge their teachers as a way of learning. So, in this case, the lawyer served as a student and Yahshua as the teacher.
Jesus Christ knew that this man, a lawyer, should know the Torah. Thus, it is not surprising that Christ answered the lawyer’s question with a question and the question of Christ has something to do with the law.
The lawyer’s response was understandably a quotation from the Scripture:
“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
The Road to Jericho
Jerusalem is of higher elevation compared to Jerusalem. Thus, Christ said, “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho” (Luke 10:30). Many of the rich priestly families live in Jericho.
The distance between Jerusalem and Jericho is about 17 miles. The road to Jericho, during Christ’s time, has earned a reputation of being a dangerous path to take because it was riddled with many robbers. In fact, many dubbed the road as the “Way of Blood” because of the countless blood often shed by the robbers.
The road from Jerusalem to Jericho is winding and meandering, as noted by Martin Luther King Jr. in his travel. So, it was a perfect place for robbers to set an ambush. You never want to travel alone on this road.
According to historians, the Samaritans are the people who live in Samaria after the Northern Kingdom of Israel was banished from their homeland.
When the Assyrians captured Israel, they exiled most of the Israelites to the land of Assyria, but not all Israelites were removed. Some of them remained. The Assyrians replaced the Israelites with foreigners, namely, the Cuthites, to live in Israel.
As a result, Israelites who remained in the northern part of Israel intermarried with foreigners. Their sons and daughters became what was later known as the Samaritans.
At the time of Christ, the Samaritans lived alongside the Jews.
The hatred between the Jews and Samaritans
The Jews and Samaritans hated each other. The division between the two groups of people started way back in the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem under the leadership of Nehemiah.
When the Jews returned to Israel, they refused to include the Samaritans to join them in their worship. The Samaritans created their worship system centered on Mount Gerizim.
The Jews thought of the Samaritans as descendants of spiritually corrupt Israelites of the Northern Kingdom, which was made worse by the fact that they are also mixed with other foreigners who worship other gods.
The rivalry between Jews and Samaritans only fueled their age-long feud. The Samaritans believe they are right in their beliefs while the Jews strongly feel that they are the only chosen people.
In the New Testament, we read of the conversation between Jesus Christ and a Samaritan woman.
John 4:9 confirms how the Jews should never have anything to do with the Samaritans. Later in John 4:19-23, we read how Christ acknowledged the rift between the Samaritans and Jews.
However, Yahshua further explained that in the future, whether you are a Samaritan or Jew, you can worship God in spirit and truth.
Now that we have learned the general context of the parable of the good Samaritan, let’s take a look at the best lessons we can learn from this parable.
Lesson no. 1: Love knows no boundary
Perhaps, the most important lesson in the parable of the good Samaritan is that you can’t limit love. You can’t simply define your neighbors according to proximity, ethnicity, and cultural background.
In the parable, we read how Yahshua taught the importance of loving one another. The lawyer asked the question of how to inherit eternal life. The answer given is to love God and to love your neighbor.
For the Jews in Christ’s time, the common perception is that you only love those who are close to you and forget those people outside.
Christ, the discerner of the heart, knew what the lawyer was thinking. Thus, Jesus gave the parable to explain the importance of not limiting one’s love. Here, Christ redefined what ‘neighbor’ really means.
For the Jews, their love is specially reserved for their own kind. They detest their enemies. They don’t like their rulers. They don’t like their neighboring nations and countries.
In the parable, Christ showed the people that you need to love and help others no matter who they are. You don’t need a reason to love because love itself is a reason for you to do good to others.
Lesson no. 2: Love knows no end
God’s love for us is unending and that’s the type of love that we all should strive for.
The parable of the good Samaritan shows us that we can never love enough.
We can’t come to the point when we tell ourselves and others that we have fulfilled our obligation to love and so, we can now stop and quit.
In Leviticus 19:34, we read how being good to others have already been commanded in the time of Moses:
34 The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
The problem is that people have misunderstandings and even wrong inferences about what God has commanded them.
The law of God is benevolent. The problem lies in the people who don’t follow His laws.
Lesson no. 3: Love should be in the context of God’s commandment
Now, when I say “love” should know no boundary, I’m not supporting the wrong application of love.
Agape love, the type of love that God has for us, should be applied within context. We can’t simply define what love is. What we must do is let God define what love is.
The problem with so many Christians and non-Christians is that they have their definition of love. That’s the reason that most people have this wrong concept of love.
They think that if it feels good, then it must be love.
They let their emotions define what love is. They think that love is like an accident that they can “fall” into.
No, that’s not love.
Do you know what love is? Here’s what the Bible says in 1 John 5:2-3:
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
True love is defined in God’s commandments. If you want to know what love is, you simply need to look into the commandments of Yahweh. It will tell you how to love God and how to love your neighbor.
Go on, start with the Ten Commandments.
Do you want to know how to love God? Then, check out the first four commandments.
Do you want to know how to love others? Check out the last six commandments.
Aside from the Ten Commandments, what are the other ways for us to know what true love is?
Read I Corinthians 13:4-8:
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails.
Now, that’s how we must love.
Lesson no. 4: Learning should have the right motivation
Aside from the lessons in love we learn from the parable of the good Samaritan, we must also consider the important lesson we learn from the lawyer.
Let’s read Luke 10:25, 29:
25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” …29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
It’s easy to read through this story and not get the real intent of the lawyer.
Let’s remember that the lawyer here was a person who knows the Torah very well. They were the experts. People looked up to them for guidance and teaching.
It’s quite interesting how the lawyer “stood up.” It was a sign of respect. He even called Jesus “teacher.”
Now, those were the things that people could see. They see how the lawyer respected Christ, but that was not exactly what was happening here.
The lawyer might be showing respect, but he wasn’t respectful in his real intent and attitude.
The lawyer had asked Jesus a trick question. He was asking Christ a single answer to his one question.
By asking, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”The lawyer was trying to get a SPECIFIC answer from Christ to debate with him and prove Christ was wrong with His answer!
Now, imagine if Christ gave a specific answer to this question, the lawyer could have an opportunity to tarnish the Savior’s reputation.
That’s the reason that Christ answered the lawyer with another question.
Later in the story, you begin to see the main purpose of the lawyer when asking Christ. He wanted to justify himself. It means that the lawyer wanted to get validation from Jesus that he was doing okay and that he was already accepted in God’s eyes.
You see, some people are like that and sometimes, we, too, can be guilty of the same problem.
When we are studying God’s word and yet we don’t have a teachable heart, we are simply like the lawyer.
We must have the right attitude and motivation when we study the Bible.
We study the Bible not because we want to be better than others. It is not because we wanted to be more knowledgeable so we can brag how awesome we are in quoting verses.
Some people, especially unbelievers, study the Bible not to understand the Bible, but to prove the Bible wrong.
Thus, when you study the word of God, ask yourself. Determine what motivates you.
We must have the right attitude and mindset to facilitate better learning and understanding of God’s word.
Lesson no. 5: Our love for God is reflected in our love for others
In the discussion of our Savior with the lawyer, we have read this:
27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Luke 10:27)
To this, Christ responded:
“You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” (Luke 10:28)
Notice how loving our neighbor is always related to loving God.
It only shows that you can’t love God without loving your neighbor.
This has been made clear by the Apostle John in I John 4:20-21:
20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a LIAR; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? 21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.
Loving God and loving your neighbor come hand in hand.
Loving God calls us to love others as well. We love others because we love God. The motivation that we have must be our love for our Father.
Lesson no. 6: Self-love is not taught in the Bible
It’s quite interesting how so many people misinterpreted the Bible when it says:
“[Love] your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
They assume that the phrase “as yourself” means that you should love yourself. The thinking for some people is that to truly love others, you must love yourself first.
Nothing can be farther than the truth.
Self-love is not a concept you would read in the Bible especially in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Love, from God’s perspective, is an outgoing concern for others.
That’s completely different from what self-love is.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with building up your confidence, taking care of yourself, and focusing on improving yourself.
All those things are good and should be encouraged.
Here’s where the problem comes in: if you seek to love yourself first before you can love others, it can only lead to one thing: selfishness.
Yes, that’s right.
If you continually focus on yourself, you are not following the commandments of God.
Now, it doesn’t mean that you should go on with your life telling yourself, “I hate myself.”
To truly love God means that you also take care of yourself because God has given you life and a body that you should not abuse. Not only that but how can you effectively love others if you are sickly?
In short, the love that you have for God will ultimately enable you to also take care of others. As a byproduct, you are also taking care of yourself in the process.
The ultimate way of loving yourself is loving God and others.
Lesson no. 7: Who you are is what you do
Now, let’s focus more on the parable of the good Samaritan this time.
In the story given by Christ, we have seen three men who saw the dying man:
- The priest
- The Levite
- The Samaritan
When you look into this list, you would normally expect that the priest and Levite would readily help the victim. In the minds of the Jews, it is unimaginable for the Samaritan to be the protagonist of Christ’s story.
Yet, we simply see how Christ radically went against the common attitudes of people in His day.
Instead of the priest and Levite, both holding religious positions, who should help the dying man, of all the least expected people, it was the Samaritan who did something extraordinary.
What does this tell you?
It tells you that even if you are holding a religious position, it doesn’t automatically make you righteous. Even if you are a minister, a pastor, priest, or a leader in your church, it doesn’t mean anything until and unless you love other people.
In the parable, the three people saw the same dying man, but it was only the Samaritan who took action in doing the right thing.
In life, it is not who you are that defines you, it is what you do.
You can be the president of your country, you can be the priest in your church, you can be the leader in your group, but without true love, you are nothing.
Lesson no. 8: Remember the weightier matters of the law
Perhaps, one of the reasons that the priest and Levite didn’t help the man was because of the purity law. The priest and Levite didn’t want to be defiled by a corpse if in case the injured man was dead already.
The priest and Levite didn’t want the inconvenience that comes with purifying themselves after touching a corpse.
Nonetheless, they and we should remember the words of Christ when He said:
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. (Matthew 23:23)
Christ said that above the purity laws of the Jews are justice, mercy, and faith.
It is just for the priest and Levite to help the dying man.
It is merciful for them to extend a hand.
It is faithful for them to stay true in God’s ultimate commandment of love rather than ignoring the man dying on the road.
In the same manner, there might be laws in our land that seem to be unfair or at least, good in intention, but may prevent us from loving others.
When it comes down to these choices, always choose the one that will allow you to better love others.
Don’t let man-made laws or traditions get in the way of loving your neighbor.
Lesson no. 9: Ask the right question
The lawyer asked two questions during this discussion with the Master:
- What shall I do to inherit eternal life?
- Who is my neighbor?
Do you know the core value of these two questions?
Let me tell you:
Both of these questions only ask the bare minimum.
In other words, he was asking, “What is the least that I can do to receive eternal life? How many people should I help to finally fulfill the command to love others?”
Do you see how the lawyer was asking the wrong questions?
The lawyer intends to simply know the minimum requirement.
That’s now how it works.
Christ said that we must be profitable servants — servants who always go the extra mile.
So, instead of asking, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”, the question should be, “How can I live a life pleasing to God?”
Instead of asking, “Who is my neighbor?”, it should be, “How can I be a neighbor to others?”
Notice the question Christ asked after giving the parable in Luke 10:36:
“So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
Did you catch that?
Christ wasn’t addressing the question, “Who is my neighbor?”, but rather, He was trying to teach the lawyer that we become a neighbor when we have love, mercy, and compassion for others.
This is such a great lesson we must all learn from the Parable of the Good Samaritan!
Lesson no. 10: We must love in action
In Luke 10:25-37, it’s quite interesting to note that loving God and your neighbors is not a simple declaration in thoughts and words.
It needs action.
Loving God and others is an active role to play.
It’s never a feel-good and fuzzy feeling that stays in your heart.
Notice Luke 10:27-28:
27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; DO this and you will live.”
We must understand that we should love Yahweh with 100% of our being. That includes not just thinking and talking, but also in our actions.
That’s why Christ didn’t simply say, “Think of this or talk about this and you will live.”
His statement is clear. He said, “DO!”
Christ’s closing statement also included instruction of doing in Luke 10:37:
And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
We read in 1 John 3:18:
18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.
Imagine, what if the Samaritan simply said to the injured man:
“Depart in peace, be warmed and filled” (James 2:16).
That can not and will not save the man.
Don’t simply talk about how you love God or others.
Your actions should be filled with so much love that people see God’s love in you.
Let your life be an embodiment and definition of God’s true love.
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Learn the parable of the good Samaritan
The parable of the good Samaritan is no doubt a great story that illustrates how we must love one another. We must not limit ourselves to loving only a certain group of people.
Remember that Yahshua the Messiah died for all and not simply for a few.
We are to love one another as we love ourselves. Our love for God should motivate us into loving our fellowmen.
With this in mind, I hope you now have a deeper understanding of the best lessons we learn from the parable of the good Samaritan.