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Good Samaritan for Those Desiring to Justify Themselves

Jul 14, 2019

Passage: Luke 10:25-37

Preacher: Rev. Dr. Alfonso Espinosa

Category: Sunday, Pentecost


In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Introduction: Moral lesson?

Fantastic story in God’s Word, known as the “Parable of the Good Samaritan,” not really a parable per se, but a story that might even be conveying something that actually occurred in history. It’s easy to moralize this story. It’s done all the time and is a wrong approach.

Part I: The lawyer and his question

  1. Lawyer (Law scholar) stood up to test Jesus. He’s proud.


  1. Remember two Sundays ago, Jesus was SET TO GO to Jerusalem. And along the way He offers with His disciples one last intensive effort to spread the saving gospel before He goes to die on the cross.


  1. What is the world’s response to the shared gospel (consider the lawyer)?
  2. The world stands up against God’s Word.
  3. Jesus is put on trial (again…and again…).


  1. The presumption of righteousness:

Luke 10:25: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

            Do you hear the presumption? This natural and proud religion.

            It happens to be stuck in our flesh.

Part II: Jesus answers the question with a question

  1. He leads the lawyer to recite the Law. All of it is summarized in one word: love.
  2. Love God.
  3. Love your neighbor.

*** But how can you measure whether you love God? You must love your neighbor!

  1. Here the lawyer must have thought to himself, “O oh!”

Luther: “Behold, what a proud character he is, he presents himself in his own name, and thinks Christ will not rebuke him; yea, he allows himself to think the Lord will extol and praise his life in the presence of all the people, and does not think of learning anything from the Lord, but only seeks his own praise.” (Sermons of Martin Luther, Volume 5, Baker, 1988. 23)

Just: “…[BUT] he has been put into an untenable position [now]. He knows that if he claims he does love God, he should love his neighbor as well.” (Concordia Commentary, Luke 9:51-24:53, CPH. 451)

Jesus isn’t playing nice anymore. He loves this lawyer too much. He goes forward showing the lawyer his sin.

But the lawyer doesn’t want to face the music:


  1. There must be something lacking in God’s Word. It isn’t clear enough! We have to clarity “neighbor”!!!
  2. He thought it was ok to hate certain groups.


  1. Let’s stop picking on the lawyer for a second. This is us! We want to qualify “neighbor” …we do it all the time!


  1. Buls: “Sinful, human nature picks and chooses its neighbors, those who agree with them and those whom they like.” (Series C: Sundays after Pentecost. 26)
  2. Who do you pick and choose? Who is your “us and them”?


  1. We have failed the Law of God really, really badly.

Part III: Jesus Introduces a New Neighbor

  1. Jesus starts talking about a new neighbor: a Samaritan!

TLSB: “A people whose Jewish heritage had been adulterated through intermarriage and whose observance of Judaism was regarded as corrupted. Samaritans descended from Israelites left behind after Samaria’s destruction (722 BC) and included foreigners imported by Assyrian kings (2 Ki 17:24-28, 33-34). They inhabited the area between Judea and Galilee…Most Jews regarded Samaritans as outside the bounds of the covenant people and avoided them…Long-standing and deep-seated hostility existed between Jews and Samaritans.” (1557)

  1. How bad were they in the mind of Jews? There was a saying:

“He who eats the bread of a Samaritan is like one that eats the flesh of swine.” (Just, 448)

  1. This Samaritan is an impossibility to the listeners…unfathomable…He is entirely other…He is a different neighbor…a neighbor like none other…not only one whom the Jews would never consider to be a neighbor, but one who loves the Jews in a way that is off the charts.


  1. The priest and Levite don’t compare. This Samaritan had true compassion/splagchnizomai!


  1. The priest thought he was doing a service to God by remaining clean (even though this was a fellow Jew)!!!
  2. The Levite imitated the priest…but his requirements for being clean only applied to the sacrifices, not everyday compassion!
  3. The highest and most religious Jews were despicable failures at showing love!
  4. But the Samaritan was way, way different!


  1. There was a man who was assaulted by robbers.


  1. He is us. Lying half-dead. We are bankrupt, “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1).
  2. Augustine:

“Robbers left you half-dead on the road, but you have been found lying there by the passing and kindly Samaritan. Wine and oil have been poured on you. You have received the sacrament of the only-begotten Son. You have been lifted onto his mule. You have believed that Christ became flesh. You have been brought to the inn, and you are being cured in the church.” (ACC, Vol III. 180)

  1. Ambrose:

“Who are those thieves, if not the angels of night and darkness…?” (ibid., 179)

Part IV: Jesus is the gross Samaritan, the true neighbor who loves all His neighbors!

  1. Jesus is teaching you can’t act, you’re dead…you need someone to love you, show mercy to you, heal you, pay for you, give you lodging, revive you… I AM YOUR NEIGHBOR. (Just’s elaboration, 454)
  2. Augustine: “God our Lord wished to be called our neighbor. The Lord Jesus Christ meant that he was the one who gave help to the man lying half-dead on the road, beaten and left by the robbers.” (ACC, Vol III. 181)
  3. Luther:

“When he entered upon that high mission to prove that he loved God with all his heart, he laid down his bodily life with all he had, and said: Father, here you have all, my bodily life, my glory and honor, which I had among the people; all this I give as it is for thy sake, that the world may know how I love thee. My Father, let my wisdom perish, so that the world may look upon me as most foolish. Let me be the most despised, who was heretofore praised by all the world. Now I am the worst murderer, who before was friendly, useful and serviceable to the whole world. Dear Father, all this I despise, only that I may not be disobedient to thee.” (Sermons, p. 28)

“[Christ] does not require the helpless one to come to him.” (ibid., 30)

Conclusion: The Gospel

  1. Compassion for you!
  2. Goes to you! Bound up His wounds (Isaiah 53:5: “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”)
  3. Pouring oil and wine: Word preached and Sacraments!
  4. Set you on His beast: Himself! Christ came riding into Jerusalem on a beast! Why? To bear ALLLLL your sins!!!!
  5. Takes you to an INN: His Church!
  6. Tells the innkeeper: “Take care of him!” Pastors and your brothers and sisters in Christ!
  7. “…I will come back.” Ambrose: “‘The next day,’ what is this next day, if not that day of the Lord’s resurrection…?” (ACC, Volume III. 180)

Jesus, verse 37: “You go, and do likewise.”