The Good Samaritan - Bible Story Summary

The Good Samaritan Parable Answers "Who Is My Neighbor?"

The Good Samaritan
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Jesus Christ's parable of the Good Samaritan was prompted by a question from a lawyer:

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 10:25, ESV)

Jesus asked him what was written in the law, and the man responded: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:27, ESV)

Pressing further, the lawyer asked Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?"

In parable form, Jesus told of a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. Robbers attacked him, took his possessions and clothes, beat him, and left him half dead.

A priest came down the road, saw the injured man, and passed by him on the other side. A Levite passing by did the same.

A Samaritan, from a race hated by the Jews, saw the hurt man and had compassion on him. He poured oil and wine on his wounds, bound them up, then put the man on his donkey. The Samaritan took him to an inn and cared for him.

The next morning, the Samaritan gave two denarii to the innkeeper for the man's care and promised to repay him on his way back for any other expenses.

Jesus asked the lawyer which of the three men had been a neighbor. The lawyer answered that the man who showed mercy was a neighbor.

Then Jesus told him, "You go and do likewise." (Luke 10:37, ESV)

Points of Interest from the Story

  • People of Samaria, an area sandwiched between Galilee to the north and Judea to the south, were hated by Jews because they intermarried with non-Jews and did not strictly observe Mosaic law.
  • Jesus gave the word "neighbor" a new meaning: anyone in need. When we help others, we help Christ. (Matthew 25:40)
  • The Samaritan "had compassion" on the injured Jew. In other places in the Gospels, we hear that Jesus himself "had compassion" on people: Matthew 9:36, Matthew 14:14, Mark 6:34, and Luke 7:13.
  • One interpretation of the parable identifies the Samaritan with Christ, scorned and rejected by others, and the injured traveler as every person, unable to rescue himself or herself but for the love and grace of a Savior.
  • Ma'ale Adummim, on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, has been identified by tradition as the site of the inn where the Good Samaritan helped the injured man. Archaeological digs show that way stations for travelers were located there dating back thousands of years. Today, a modern museum covers the site, with displays honoring Christians, Samaritans, and Jews.
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Your Citation
Zavada, Jack. "The Good Samaritan - Bible Story Summary." Learn Religions, Dec. 6, 2021, Zavada, Jack. (2021, December 6). The Good Samaritan - Bible Story Summary. Retrieved from Zavada, Jack. "The Good Samaritan - Bible Story Summary." Learn Religions. (accessed June 5, 2023).