Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Good Samaritan - A Study on Christian Love

The Good Samaritan - A Study on Christian Love

by Mathew G. Daniel, Manjinikara

Shroro Jesus during his vital mission upon the Earth to redeem the human race from the bondage of Lucifer, has taught the ways of salvation. He used different parables to express his views of which he wanted to teach the significance of love through a fine parable which we see in Luke 10: 25-37

The situation of this parable is interesting and noteworthy. This is while Our lord Jesus was preaching about the necessity of God fearing, a preacher stands up and asks a question to test Jesus how he follows the Law of Moses. He asked “Teacher what I do to inherit eternal life?'

Jesus replies him with another question “what did you read in the Book, what did you understand". His reply was immediate, he quotes Deu. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18 which requires us to love God and our neighbor. Planning to trap Jesus he asks “ who is my neighbour “ ?

Upon this Jesus says the parable of Good Samaritan. This parable is a fine example of Symbolic Interpretation.

Scholars explains the traveler as man who left the heavenly city of Jerusalem to the worldly city of Jerico. The word Jerico means the city of fragrance. This fragrance is the earthly attractions that tempts us to go astray from God, more over this fragrance was a symbol of numerous brothels in that city.

The robbers represent the devil and sin who tempts men to die in sin. The Priest and Levite represents the Law and it’s sacrifices which are unable to help.

The good Samaritan is Jesus or in other words the New Testament church, who comes in timely help for the needy who are dying in sin, of his own activities as well as of the inherited sins ( see psalms 51 )

The Wine and Oil represents the Blood of Jesus and the anointment of Holy Spirit at the time of baptism which helps us to cure the deadly wounds of sin and to reconcile with the wrath of the father.

The inn is the church and the inn-keeper the apostles and the ordained priests. The two coins are the baptism and the Lord’s supper. It is also believed that it represent the water and the blood that came out of the heart of the savior as it was pierced by the Roman soldier.

A detailed study is interesting; the Samaritan who helps the man was despised by the Jews :

John 4:9, “ Saith the woman of Samaria unto him, how is that, thou being a Jew asketh drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews hath no dealing with Samaritans”

Thus the woman of Samaria finds it an offence to offer even a bowl full of water to Jesus who was a Jew. These Samaritans were imported at the time Assyrian captivity as it is explained in 2 kings 17: 24-41. See the irony that the one who has been despised by the Jews shows compassion and he never refused to accept the help when the case was directly linked with his life.

Now telling the parable Jesus asks him who of the three is his neighbor. Undoubtedly his answer was clear on the Samaritan.

The parable entrusts us to help those who are needy irrespective of any kind of prejudice in mind. I recall a small story that I read in my younger days which I find is apt to tell you also in connection with my point of view. Once a missionary couples were on their way back from a prayer congregation in one of the remote villages in South Africa. It was the late hours of the night and the slight drizzling made it difficult their driving. As they were waiting for the green signal, they noticed a small girl of hardly seven or eight busy cleaning the head lights of the vehicles on halt. She was not tall enough to clean the glass, that was the reason why she preferred the head lights and she did it without consent. After a few wipes on the lights her tiny palm gets extended towards the closed glass of the drivers door in a hurry.

Her eyes reflects the poverty and hardships that she suffered even in that small age. It also reflects a ray of hope that her service shall be recognized with a few coins. She never answered anyone, for she find it more important to clean another car. But one could assume a widowed mother and one or two younger brothers or sisters at her home waiting her arrival with a loaf of bread or a pack of milk at the odd hours of the day at any time. Their supper may be served in the early hours of the day.

The couple after reaching home fell on their knees and during their prayer asked “ Oh God why don’t you do anything to help the poor girl, surely she is not old enough to shoulder the responsibility of a house” .

The reply was immediate, god answered with a return question, he asked, “ Who said I haven’t done anything for the girl, didn’t I create you?” Yes my brothers and sisters, God created us and gave us more than what we need, and silently asks us, didn’t I create you?”

If you believe that you are the creation of God and you have more than what you need for your daily bread, answer his question today. Though you feel that you don’t have sufficient please remember that Jesus was pleased with the widow who had only one pence to offer to the almighty in the temple.

Apostle Paul in Rom 12:10 “be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another” also Mathew 5 : 43-48 refers to this Christian love.

Jesus teaches the entire world a great principle through the Priest and the Levite that they are preachers and the custodians of laws but never practiced it ( Lev. 19:33-34 and Det. 10:17-19 ) Our Lord reveals the hypocrisy of these teachers. But remember there is another side to this coin. The priest was on his way to his holy sermon in the temple. Here the priest finds the victim seriously injured and there was a chance of his death in his bosom on his way to the inn. He soon recollects Lev 21: 11 which instructs to keep away from corpse. In that condition how can we blame him who considers his sacred duty to the God more significant than that of the service of the sick.

Same is the case with the Levite, he is the one who has to assist the priest in the temple. Jesus knows this and wishes reformation in the Old testament when it is directly liked with the life of a human being. Ultimately that was his mission upon this cursed earth also.

Not only that, consider of a person lying in the vicinity of a toddy shop. He may be there due to a cardiac arrest, but passers by will never take care of him due to the place where he is found. But even a drunkard near a church will surely get attended to in the belief that he is sick not drunk.

The man who was on his way to the house of fragrance, may have chance of being ignored by gentlemen.

Jesus here asks us to show willingness to take risk in practicing gospel to all irrespective of cast, creed, society etc. Think of a situation if the robbers were nearby. Because the road where the man was found was otherwise known as the way of Blood those days. The distance from Jerusalem to Jerico was about 20kms and to stay over there at odd hours was highly risky then.

So we are called upon to take risk and to give with out any hesitation, for God has given his only begotten son for us to get reconciled with him, that is what Jesus told us in Luke 6: 30 “give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again."

This parable also tells us to sacrifice. The Samaritan spend his time, energy, wine, oil and two coins to save an enemy of his tribe.In doing so we are reckoned as true followers of God who walk in Christian Love.

This should not be surprising in light of what Jesus told his disciples earlier. Mat. 5:20 “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the
righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."

I would like to conclude in a sacred hope that God shall help us all exceeding the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees so that we shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. That love is preached and practiced by our redeemer, and he placed the gospel of love above all other commandments in the book of John 15 : 12 “ This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you “.

This sublime love is the boon of the Holy Spirit, The month of May is the month of the Holy Spirit and let’s love each other by helping one another and forgive the one who caused pain to our heart. For that we have a key note in Second Peter 3:14 “ Wherefore, beloved ye look for such things be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless…Amen"


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