Saint Augustine on the Parables Essay

Interpreting the Parables Saint Augustine on “The Good Samaritan Parable” by Due August 2, 2009 The early Christian understanding of this allegorical interpretation of the Good Samaritan is clearly depicted in the famous 12th-century cathedral in Chartres, France. One of its beautiful stained-glass windows depicts the story of Adam and Eve’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden at the top of the window and, at the bottom of the window, the familiar New Testament parable of the Good Samaritan, “thereby illustrating a symbolic interpretation of Christ’s parable that was popular in the Middle Ages.

[1] Even more explicitly allegorical windows are found in two other French cathedrals at Bourges and Sens. Seeing these windows led me to wonder: What does the parable of the good Samaritan have to do with the Fall of Adam and Eve? Where did this association of these scriptures originate? And how did St Augustine view this parable? I will attempt to answer the above questions in this paper.

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Through research I soon discovered many answers. [2] The roots of this allegorical interpretation reach deeply into the earliest Christian literature. Writings in the second century a. d. Irenaeus and Clement each saw the good Samaritan as symbolizing Christ saving the fallen victim from the wounds of sin. Origen, only a few years later, stated that this interpretation came down to him from one of the elders, who understood the elements of this story allegorically as follows: The man who was going down is Adam. Jerusalem is paradise, and Jericho is the world. The robbers are hostile powers. The priest is the Law, the Levite is the prophets, and the Samaritan is Christ. The wounds are disobedience, the beast is the Lord’s body, the pandochium (that is, the table inn), which accepts all who wish to enter, is the Church. And further, the two denarii mean the Father and the Son. The manager of the stable is the head of the Church, to whom its care has been entrusted. And the fact that the Samaritan promises he will return represents the Savior’s second coming. [3] This early text shows that the allegorical reading of the good Samaritan was known and taught by early followers of Jesus. The attribution of this interpretation to “one of the elders” strongly associates it with the earliest Christians. 4] Moreover, this interpretation was virtually universal throughout early Christianity, being advocated by Irenaeus in southern France, Clement in Alexandria, Origen in Judea, Chrysostom in Constantinople, Ambrose in Milan, Augustine in Africa, and Eligius in northern France, to name only a few. I will focus on Augustine. Saint Augustine, who described himself publicly as a great sinner in his “Confessions”, was bishop Augustine, one of the greatest fathers of the Church, who shaped theology, from the fifth century on. He was born, Aurelius Augustine in Algeria, in 354. His father was a pagan, but his mother was a devout Christian.

She was Saint Monica, who converted her pagan husband later, and by her care and tears saved Augustine, the prodigal son. She delayed his baptism until his penitence. Augustine grew less interested in religion, and more interested in flesh desires. From intrusion, stealing the pears from neighboring gardens, to immerse in sex with typical friends, he ran his life in the fast lane. He took a concubine at age seventeen, after his formal education in law and rhetoric in Carthage, and had a son, named Adeodatus, to mean ‘given by God’. After about two years he started reading Cicero, and became interested in philosophy of Plato.

He taught rhetoric for a short time in his hometown Tagaste, and then he moved back to Carthage in 376, to run his own school. Saint Augustine was a Christian at 33, a priest at 36, and a bishop at 41. [5] Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. There had quickly surfaced the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love.

Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent, politically, socially, and morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorist. The parable, found only in the Gospel of Luke, is perhaps the best known of Jesus parables. Its characters and its message have worked their way deep into the American collective conscience.

The phrase “Good Samaritan” is used to describe any person who goes out of his way to help another. We have Good Samaritan laws to protect those who try to do well and may cause unintended injury through no fault of their own. It is doubtful that any of Jesus’ other parables has been subject to such depth of overallegorization as we find with the Good Samaritan. Especially in early church history do we find a grand attempt to load absolutely every figure in the parable with spiritual significance. Augustine’s view is perhaps the epitome.

As Pastor Vincent Cheung notes in his excellent article on parables,[6] I described how Irenaeus and Clement each saw the Good Samaritan parable…Augustine’s view is perhaps the most epitome. As Augustine saw it, the man was Adam, Jerusalem was the heavenly city, Jericho was the moon, (and the moon itself represented mortality). Thus, the pursuit of holiness on the part of the man as his journey is derailed by robbers (Satan and the demons), who stripped the man of his clothes (his immortality), beating him senseless (causing him to sin). The priest and the Levite are the priesthood, representing the religious system of the Old Testament.

The Samaritan is Jesus, who binds up the man’s wounds (restrains his sinfulness) pouring oil and wine on them (encouragement and hope. ) The Samaritan’s beast represents the Incarnation. The inn is the church. The next day speaks of the resurrection of Christ, while the innkeeper represents the apostle Paul. The two silver coins are the two commandments of love (God and neighbor), and finally the promise to pay more if it is needed is the promise of the life to come. [7] The point to this is, all the overallegorization is unnecessary. The story stands, and indeed is clear without trying to make every object in the story mean something.

The one who would understand this parable must identify the main points of the teaching while letting the context of the parable set the boundaries No additional allegory is needed in such a parable anyway, at least in my opinion. Its’ meaning is deep enough and demanding enough without all the rest. Indeed, overallegorization serves only to cloud the issue and carry with it the portent of straining at gnats while swallowing camels. The question of context is all-important in this teaching. Jesus is answering two questions posed to him by a religious lawyer (an expert on matters of Jewish law and custom. The first question is “What must I do to inherit eternal life? ” (v. 25). The second question is “Who is my neighbor? ” (v. 29). Jesus frames His answer in terms of what people actually do. “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands? ” (v. 36-37). This brings us back to key issues: How do we prove ourselves to be neighbors? What in our lives show that we are neighbors, or not? After the answers are given, Jesus calls us to commit to living a life commensurate with our beliefs. Go and do the same,” puts the ball in our court, leaving us with a choice to obey or disobey, not just merely continue to debate and dissect theories or teachings. In the beginning of the passage we meet two men, one a lawyer, the other the Giver of Life. The lawyer, an expert in the Jewish religion has a focus of “works for righteousness. ” His concern, is expressed in his first question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life. ” Luke notes that the lawyer stood up and “put Him to the test . . .. ” We get the impression that the interrogator is hostile, but such may not have been the case.

He may have been sincere, though demanding in approach. Unlike Nicodemus, who acknowledged that Jesus had “come from God,” the lawyer here goes right for the debate points. Further, the lawyer’s attitude at the end of the passage shows at least a modicum of humility if not surrender to the Lord. Man always wants to “do” something. If he can do something, he can earn wages and be paid. That way he maintains control. The Law is a good example of “doing. ” Doing and obeying the law were his focus. And not just that, he was a degreed expert in the law. But the very law to which he ascribes and clings condemns him. 8] It is only the Lord that gives life. As we learn in Romans 8:3-4: 3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. The problem with the lawyer’s desire to keep the law is simple: Nobody, in his day or ours, has ever been able to do it. That’s why Jesus came to provide a way to salvation through forgiveness of sin rather than perfect behavior.

Take note of Romans 3:20-24: Because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus The law convicts us; kills us. We are left with a sin consciousness and yet no enduring sacrifices for sin.

Even the blood of bulls and goats was only temporary, in need of constant repetition. There was no way of escape. The law was therefore good. It became “our schoolmaster” leading us to Christ. Without Him, we only become more wretched as the law exposes more, searches more and convicts more. Romans 7: 24-25: Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. [9] But there is another person in the passage. The lawyer is asking his questions of Jesus.

He could have come to no better source, no more skilled workman, no greater teacher, no more understanding and compassionate friend. Jesus directs the lawyer back to the law: “What is written in the law, how do you read it? ” In this question of our Lord’s He does not affirm the presumption of the lawyer that he must “do” something. Rather He dispels any thoughts on the man’s part that he was keeping the law in the first place. “How do you read it? ” He asks him. Jesus did not tell him what was in the law, He asked him “what is in the law,” and then asked “How do you read it? ” A good evangelist will do the same.

The Word is placed in the hands of the unsaved and he is asked to read a short passage. Then the evangelist inquires, “What does that say to you? ”[10] After all, it is the Word itself which has power to transform lives. Hebrews 4:12: 12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. The lawyer answers by giving the two great commandments from Deut 6:5. His answer is technical and correct, but has power not in the recitation of the law but of obedience to it.

Words never have been a measure of our obedience, just as Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees in the Parable of Two Sons: “Which of the two did the will of his father? ” Obviously, only the one who does what the law says can be said to fulfill the law. The problem is nobody has ever (nor ever will) “do this. ” “There is none righteous, no, not one. ” And all our attempts to keep the law are not the same as keeping it. In the eloquent words of the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 53:6: All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.

The Pharisees wanted to make this a contract with God limiting their liability. Their presumption is that they will keep the law, but then they added, “but what does the law mean? ” Who is my neighbor? What exactly is my responsibility? What is the minimum I must do to be saved? All of this misses the mark. The lawyer is a man who is trying to get around the law, or at least to interpret it in a way favorable towards himself. To him, definition and interpretation is required before he will obey. If the law says we are to love our neighbor, perhaps we can restrict the meaning of “neighbor” so that our responsibilities are limited and doable. 11] Keeping in mind that the characters and situations in the parable should have the same significance for us as they did to the original hearer, here are some observations: 1. The road from Jerusalem to Jericho. The narrow, twisted and rock strewn path of 2,000 years ago is today a modern highway, but traveling it gives a sense of what it must have been like. It was dangerous. In a day and age when travel itself was dangerous, even those accustomed to such dangers regarded this road as one of the worst. It was narrow, steep and subject to brigands. The road itself descends steeply, more than 3,300 feet in 17 torturous miles.

These twists and turns provided ample opportunities for highwaymen to ply their weary trade, assaulting and robbing footsore travelers. [12] Josephus notes that the Roman General Pompey destroyed a group of brigands here in a search and destroy mission. Jerome, in his day, noted that Arab robbers lurked in the shadows of the Jericho road. The robbers themselves could be desperate men and uncaring. They would attack even the poorest travelers, seizing what little they might have, even it was only the very clothing they wore. Intimidation beatings were not uncommon.

In the case of this parable, the man is left half-dead; ???????? (hemithanes). The expression is not just hyperbole to Jesus’ hearers. They could well imagine the man beaten and helpless, teetering between life and death. Thus, the stage is set. We are hooked now. Everyone wants to know how this will turn out and what will happen to this poor victim of rapacious crime. 2. Here is the priest, a servant of God, a keeper of the Temple. But though he is a priest and well acquainted with God’s covenant, and served his course in the Temple, he acts contrary to the rule of love. We expect the religious man to do more.

It is odd to us, he is trying to keep the law, he is serving God and teaching others, but he neglects mercy, itself a prevalent feature of the law and a characteristic of God Himself. The early Christian commentators saw this as a reference to the law of Moses or to the priesthood of the Old Testament, which did not have the power to lead to salvation. In New Testament times, the priests in Jerusalem were aristocratic clergy who administered the affairs of the temple. Many of the ruling priests were Sadducees, who were largely sympathetic with Hellenism and the Roman authorities. 13]Thus, this figure may point to any religious leader who might rely on the doctrines of men that do not have the power to bring people into eternal life. The priest and the Levite were seen by early commentators as representing the law and the prophets of the Old Testament, which Jesus came to fulfill (Matt. 5:17). The Levites were a lower class of priest, relegated to menial chores and duties within the temple. If they were lucky, they served as singers and musicians; otherwise they swept the porches and open parts of the temple area. At least this lower Levitical priest comes close to helping the fallen victim.

The Levite “came” and saw. Perhaps he wants to help, but views himself as too lowly to help; even more than the priest, he also lacks the power or authority to spiritually save the dying person. In the end, he also looks away and passes by on the other side. 3. The Levite. This man assisted the priests in Temple service. Like the priest, one would have expected him to be reacting to the scene before him in mercy. But his reaction was the same as the priest, he passed by on the other side. Did these men have a good excuse for their failure to render aid, to assist another human being who is in trouble?

Were they avoiding ritual defilement? After all, here is a man who looks dead, and there is plenty of blood around. These would indeed defile them and prevent them from serving in the Temple until the requisite time of purification had passed. But they both were not going to the Temple but away from it. They were going down the Jericho road leaving from Jerusalem and the Temple. They were not going toward their duties but away from them. The bottom line is that there can be no excuse for their neglect and behavior. Anyone should know that mercy compels us to help, especially religious people. . The Samaritan. Nothing is expected of Samaritans but something bad. They are half-breed Jews whose ancestors intermarried with their Assyrian conquerors, even as their cousins to the south in Judah were being deported to Babylon. And after the 70 year captivity these same Samaritans did all they could to prevent Nehemiah from rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Sanballat, who opposed Nehemiah strongly, was Governor of Samaria. According to Josephus, Sanballat was the founder of the Samaritan Temple on Mount Gerizim. [14] And about that Temple on Gerizim.

That was another sore point. All true worship should have been directed toward and in the Temple at Jerusalem. Their defiant worship on Gerizim played a role in the account of the woman at the well. John 4: 20-26: The early Christians clearly saw the good Samaritan as Christ himself, “the keeper of our souls” (Chrysostom), “the guardian”(Origen), “the good shepherd “(Augustine), “the Lord and Savior” Augustine suggested that a Samaritan is a particularly apt representative of Christ because “as a Samaritan is not from Judea, so Christ is not of this world. “[15]

Jesus’ audience in Jerusalem, however, may well have recognized in Jesus’ Samaritan a reference by the Savior to himself. In the Gospel of John, some Jews in Jerusalem rejected Jesus with the insult, “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? ” (John 8:48). Perhaps because Nazareth is right across the valley to the north of Samaria, the two locations could easily be lumped geographically together. And just as the Samaritans were viewed as the least of all humanity, so it was prophesied that the Servant Messiah would be “despised and rejected of men” and “esteemed . . not” (Isa. 53:3). The text may imply that the Samaritan (representing Christ) is purposely looking for people in need of help. Augustine, especially, took note that “he went down intending to rescue and care for the dying man. ” The New Testament text makes it clear that the others come “by chance,” but the text does not give the impression that the Samaritan’s arrival is by happenstance. This is one of the most important words in the story. It speaks of the pure love of Christ. The Greek term used here literally means that the Samaritan’s bowels are moved with deep, inner sympathy.

This Greek word is used elsewhere in the New Testament only in sentences that describe God’s or Christ’s emotions of mercy and in the original parables of Jesus. In addition to its use in the good Samaritan story, this verb appears prominently in two other New Testament parables: in the parable of the unmerciful servant, when the lord, representing God, “was moved with compassion” (Matt. 18:27); and in the parable of the prodigal son, when the father, again representing God, sees his son returning, he “had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Luke 15:20).

Likewise, the Samaritan represents the divine compassion of God. [16] The injured traveler cannot move, but the Samaritan comes to succor him in his hour of greatest need. Similarly, Christ runs to the side of those who suffer and comes to their aid. Without this help, the victim has no hope for recovery or progress. For Augustine the wounds are dressed with love, faith, and hope, “the ligatures . . . of salvation which cannot be undone. ” For Augustine “the bandages are the teachings of Christ” which bind us to righteousness.

I do understand that the repentant person is bound to the Lord through covenants. Inasmuch as the robbers have carried off the garment of the traveler and have left him stripped, the Samaritan begins the process of replacing the lost garment or rebuilding the victim’s spiritual protection by binding the wounds “to bind up the brokenhearted” with these bandages. The lotion of olive oil would have been very soothing. While most early Christian writers saw here only a symbol of Christ’s words of consolation, Augustine saw the oil as a “holy anointing. This may refer to many ordinances or priesthood blessings: the initial ordinance of anointing (Ps. 2:2; 18:50; 20:6), the use of consecrated oil to heal the sick (James 5:14), the gift of the Holy Ghost (often symbolized by the anointing with olive oil), or the final anointing of a person to be or become a king or a queen. The names Christ and Messiah literally mean “the anointed one,” and accordingly, with this oil the Christ figure gives his very essence to the needy soul. The Samaritan pours his wine into the open wounds to cleanse them.

Later Christian writers saw this wine as the word of God, something that stings. [17]But Augustine said this interpretation associates the wine with the blood of Christ. The redeeming blood of Christ, symbolized in the administration of the sacrament, purifies the body and soul. A good Samaritan brings not only physical help but also the saving ordinances of the gospel. This atoning wine may sting at first, but it soon brings healing and purity. Christ, fulfilling prophecy, bears “our sicknesses” (Matt. 8:17 quoting Isa. 53:4).

Augustine said that to be placed on the beast is “to believe in Christ’s incarnation,” for in the flesh Jesus bore our sins and suffered for us. Although the text does not specify what kind of beast is involved, it may well be an ass, prefiguring a sharing of the Lord’s beast of triumphal entry, with Christ allowing each person whom he rescues to ride as the king himself. For the early Christians this element readily symbolized God’s church. An inn was a public house open to all. A wayside inn, a public shelter, or a hospital, all of which are implicit here, offer meaningful symbols for the Church of Christ.

An inn is not the heavenly destination, but a necessary aid in helping travelers reach their eternal home. The Samaritan stays with the injured person and takes care of him personally the entire first night. He does not turn the injured person over too quickly to the innkeeper; he stays with him through the darkest hours. As Augustine commented, Jesus cares for the wounded not only during the day, but also at night. He devotes all his attention and activity to them. The early commentators saw here the prophecy that Jesus would be resurrected, that he would come again after his resurrection.

In other words, Christ ministered in person to his disciples for a short time, for one day and through that night; but on the morrow when he departed (that is, after his death, resurrection, and ascension), he left the traveler in the care and keeping of the Church. For Augustine, however, the dawning of the new day in the life of the rescued victim naturally relates to the beginning of the convert’s new life, enlightened by the true light of a new dawn. Early on, the elders saw these coins (which would have borne the images of Caesar) as symbolizing the Father and the Son, the one being the identical image of the other (Heb. :1–3). Others thought these coins represented the Old and New Testaments;[18] Augustine identified them with “the two instructions on charity” in Luke 10:27. One might suggest that they could also represent in modern times the two priesthoods, or any two witnesses to the truth. Because the two pence (denarii) would represent two days’ wages, these coins could well represent making adequate provision for the needs of the person. If Jesus is saying, “I will pay you for two days’ work,” then he may also be implying that he will return on the third day.

In addition, the amount of the temple tax owed by each Jewish male in Jesus’ day was half a shekel, or two denarii. [19] Thus, in another interpretation, the Samaritan can be seen as leaving enough money to cover the person’s annual temple tax, or in other words, leaving him in good standing within the house of the Lord. The early commentators saw the innkeeper as the apostle Paul or the other apostles and their successors. If the inn refers to the Church in general, however, the host could be any Church leader who takes responsibility for the nurturing and retaining of any rescued and redeemed soul.

The Samaritan openly promises to come again, a ready allusion to the Second Coming of Christ. The Greek word translated here as “to come again” appears only one other time in the New Testament, in Luke 19:15, referring to the time when God would return to judge the people for their use of the talents or pounds they have been given. The innkeeper is promised that the Samaritan will cover all the costs, “whatever you expend. ” The Greek word implies that the innkeeper should spend freely, even to the point of wearing out or exhaustion. The Lord will make the worker whole in the day of judgment.

Beyond that, the text implies more than simply that the Samaritan will reimburse the innkeeper upon his return. He will “reward” the worker generously and appropriately. The Greek word used here is used also in Matthew 6:4, 6:18, 16:27 and Luke 19:8, where the topic is also God’s great, eternal rewards to the righteous. Perhaps more than any other element in the story, this promise of the Samaritan to pay the innkeeper whatever it costs in effect giving him a blank check has troubled commentators who try to visualize this story as a real-life event. 20]Who in his right mind in the first century would give such a commitment to an unknown innkeeper? But when the story is understood allegorically, it becomes clear that when the Samaritan (Christ) makes this promise and gives the innkeeper his charge, they already know and trust each other quite thoroughly. The allegorical interpretation remained the dominant understanding of this New Testament passage well into the Middle Ages. Even Martin Luther retained the basic elements of the traditional allegorical interpretation in his sermon on Aug. 22, 1529.

The rise of humanism, scholasticism, individualism, science, and secularism during the Enlightenment, coupled with Augustine’s strong anti-allegorical stance[21] and capped off with the dominantly historical approach to scripture favored in the 19th and 20th centuries, eventually led scholars to see little more in this text than a moral injunction to be kind to all people and a criticism of organized religion as not having the power to benefit mankind. [22] In the 18th and 19th centuries, “the Christological interpretation almost completely disappeared. [23] Historical analysis has, of course, increased our knowledge about the real-life backgrounds to the story of the good Samaritan, such as informing us about the animosity between the Jews and the Samaritans at the time of Jesus; or about the rabbinic debates over the Jewish law on loving one’s neighbor; or about concerns over ritual purity that might have inhibited a Jewish priest or the Levite from helping the injured traveler. But these points have limited usefulness.

For example, while it may have been hard for a Jew to admit that a Samaritan had been a neighbor to the injured man, we know nothing about the ethnicity of the beaten man himself. He may have been another Samaritan, a Gentile, or a Jew. Without knowing the victim’s identity, we know little about the social nature of the Samaritan’s compassion. Hence, historical information about hostility between Jews and Samaritans, while interesting in gauging the Pharisee’s reaction, is largely irrelevant or superfluous to one’s becoming or being like the Savior.

If Jesus’ purpose was to instruct people to be kind to those outside one’s normal circle of friends, he should have clearly identified the victim as, for instance, a Jew or a Roman. Jewish debates may have prompted the lawyer’s questions, but they did not dictate Jesus’ answer. Indeed, several parts of the story should tip us off that the parable is more allegorical than historical. For example, rarely in the ancient world did people travel alone. That was too dangerous.

Yet in this story we have a string of solo travelers: the man who went down, the priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan are alone. Moreover, other necessary elements in the story, such as the innkeeper’s willingness to incur large personal expenses on the unsecured promise of repayment from a Samaritan, of all people, should signal to us that a deeper level of meaning stands behind this parable, as was the case with all of Jesus’ parables (Matt. 13:10–11). [24] Understanding this parable allegorically adds an eternal perspective to its moral message and spiritual guidance.

This reading positions deeds of neighborly kindness within an expansive awareness of where we have come from, how we have fallen into our present plight, and how the binding ordinances and healing love of the promised Redeemer and the nurture of his Church can rescue us, provided we live worthy of the reward. In the light of the plan of salvation, the parable gains a compelling eternal mandate. Reading this parable through a Christ-centered approach, one sees Jesus’ story more clearly as encouraging people to “accept the Savior’s atoning payment” by showing mercy and love to their fellow beings. 25]Jesus told this story not so much to answer the question, “Who is my neighbor? ” but ultimately to respond to the query, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life? ” The lawyer now has to answer the reverse of his own question, “Who is my neighbor? ” Jesus asks him “Which of the three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robber’s hands? ” All three, the priest, Levite and Samaritan were there, all saw the same man lying there, but which one proved to be a neighbor? Which one, in other words, demonstrated love by his actions?

After all, the lawyer quoted from the law that we were to love our neighbor as ourselves. It is not hard to discern who actually did what the law required, and so the lawyer answers, “The one who showed mercy toward him. ” He does not say that bad word “Samaritan,” when he gives his answer to Jesus, but rather, “The one who showed mercy toward him. ” The second question therefore dealt with, Jesus then answers the lawyer’s first question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life? ” “Go and do the same,” Jesus says. Here, if you will receive it, is the answer.

And since Jesus is the only one who ever fulfilled the law, to put full faith and confidence in Him produces eternal life. Love is costly. Certainly the most striking part of the parable is the action of Good Samaritan. It is truly inspiring to think of a person who is willing to provide his provisions, his time and his money to help another soul. His love for an unknown stranger, beaten and left half dead reveals to us how much we are in need of love. Those who do not give love cannot understand God’s love for us. This is the first lesson we learn. There are many lessons in this parable, and I am not suggesting that there are only three; they are the ones that strike me. ) What is in your road? A second lesson is this: We do not have to be world crusaders, trying to solve the problems of violence and deprivation around the globe. We would be overwhelmed into inactivity if we contemplated the needs of the entire world. But we can deal with what is right in front of us. The emergencies and problems that fall in our portion of the road on which we travel are our opportunity to show the kind of love the Good Samaritan showed.

My neighbor is anyone who is in trouble or not, anyone God puts in my path. Personal convenience does not come ahead of desperate circumstances. A third lesson deals with what we privately control: Our time, our resources and our life of convenience. Love means I will sacrifice time, money, and convenience for my neighbor. Bibliography Augustine St. , Enchiridion on Faith, Hope & Love, (Regnery Publishing Inc. , Washington DC, 1996). Augustine, Saint, The City of God, (Random House Inc. , 2000). Augustine, The Confessions of St.

Augustine, the Modern English Version, (Baker Book house, Grand Rapids, MI. , 49516, 2005). Cheung Vincent, The Parables of Jesus, (Zondervan Publishing, 2003). Coppes, Leonard J. , Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr. , and Bruce K. Waltke, 2 vols. (Chicago: Moody, 1980). vol. 1. Fay, William, and Hodge, Ralph, Share Jesus without Fear, (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1999). Gordon, James C. , The Parable of the Good Samaritan (St. Luke 10:25–37): Expository Times, vol. 56 (1944–45), pp. 302–304.

Jensen, Matt, The Gravity of Sin: Augustine, Luther, and Barth on Homo Incurvatus in Se, Continuum International Miller, Malcolm Chartres Cathedral (Andover, Eng. : Pitkin Pictorials, 1985). Ryken, Leland, Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, (Inter-varsity Press, 1998). Stein, Robert H. , Introduction to Parables of Jesus, (Westminster, John Knox, 1981). Stein Robert H. , Luke, New American Commentary, More in New American Commentary Series, (B & H Publishing Group, 1993). Welch, John W. , The Good Samaritan: A Type and Shadow of the Plan of Salvation, BYU Studies, vol. 38, no. (1999). http://www. biblegateway. com (accessed on 7/30/09). ———————– [1] Malcolm Miller, Chartres Cathedral (Andover, Eng. : Pitkin Pictorials, 1985), p. 68. [2] John W. Welch, The Good Samaritan: A Type and Shadow of the Plan of Salvation, BYU Studies, vol. 38, no. 2 (1999), pp. 51–115. [3] John W. Welch, The Good Samaritan: A Type and Shadow of the Plan of Salvation, BYU Studies, vol. 38, no. 2 (1999), pp. 51–115. [4] Ibid. pp. 51-115. [5] Augustine, the Confessions of St Augustine, the Modern English Version, (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI 2005). 6] Vincent Cheung, The Parables of Jesus, (Zondervan Publishing, 2003). Pgs. 10-12 [7] Vincent Cheung, The Parables of Jesus, (Zondervan Publishing, 2003). Pgs. 10-12 [8] Leland Ryken, Dictionary of Biblical Imager, Inter-varsity Press, 1998. [9] Leland Ryken, Dictionary of Biblical Imager, Inter-varsity Press, 1998. [10] William Fay, and Ralph Hodge, Share Jesus without Fear, (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1999). [11] William Fay, and Ralph Hodge, Share Jesus without Fear, (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1999). [12] John W.

Welch, The Good Samaritan: A Type and Shadow of the Plan of Salvation, BYU Studies, vol. 38, no. 2 (1999), pp. 51–115. [13] Robert H. Stein, Luke, New American Commentary, More in New American Commentary Series, B & H Publishing Group, 1993. [14] James C. Gordon, The Parable of the Good Samaritan (St. Luke 10:25–37): Expository Times, vol. 56 (1944–45), pp. 302–304. [15] James C. Gordon, The Parable of the Good Samaritan (St. Luke 10:25–37): Expository Times, vol. 56 (1944–45), pp. 302–304. [16] Robert H. Stein, Introduction to Parables of Jesus, Westminster, John Knox, 1981. [17] Robert H.

Stein, Luke, New American Commentary, More in New American Commentary Series, B & H Publishing Group, 1993. . [18] Leonard J. Coppes, in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr. , and Bruce K. Waltke, 2 vols. (Chicago: Moody, 1980), vol. 1, p. 10; [19] Leonard J. Coppes, in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr. , and Bruce K. Waltke, 2 vols. (Chicago: Moody, 1980), vol. 1, p. 10; [20] Augustine St. , Enchiridion on Faith, Hope & Love, Regnery Publishing Inc. , Washington DC, 1996. [21] Robert H.

Stein, Luke, New American Commentary, More in New American Commentary Series, B & H Publishing Group, 1993. [22] Matt Jensen, The Gravity of Sin: Augustine, Luther, and Barth on Homo Incurvatus in Se, Continuum International [23] Robert H. Stein, Luke, New American Commentary, More in New American Commentary Series, B & H Publishing Group, 1993. [24] http://www. biblegateway. com (accessed on 7/30/09). (Note: all scripture passages were taken from this site. ) [25] Matt Jensen, The Gravity of Sin: Augustine, Luther, and Barth on Homo Incurvatus in Se, Continuum International

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