The Original Good Samaritan

We often refer to a Good Samaritan that helps others in need. Law Enforcement Today has compiled news stories of such people interceding on behalf of others, and undoubtedly saving lives.

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So who was the original Good Samaritan, and what can we draw from the account today?

The Good Samaritan was actually an illustrative person from a parable taught by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke. Christ was educating a lawyer who asked, “Who is my neighbor?” In the context of the passage, the legal-eagle was trying to confine his social responsibility, but Jesus gave him quite an opposing view.

In the parable, there is a man going from Jerusalem to Jericho when robbers attack him. The victim is beaten, stripped, and left at the side of the road. Both a priest and a Levite pass by on “the other side” without helping. But a Samaritan man, someone that was half-Jew, half-Assyrian, stops and cares for the victim. The man not only took him to an inn to recover, but also paid the equivalent of two days wages for his care. Moreover, he told the innkeeper he would pay more if expenses exceeded that amount.

To understand the counter-cultural message in the parable, you need to know that Samaritan’s and Jews did not get along. The response from Christ was matter-of-fact and quite different than would have been an accepted norm.

While people need to know their limitations when interceding in dangerous circumstances, all citizens can draw valuable lessons from the parable.

3 Lessons from the Good Samaritan

  • Compassion – The Samaritan man not only stopped to help the victim, but he nursed the injured man’s wounds.
  • Selflessness – This good man placed the injured person on his own animal and brought him to safety.
  • Generosity – A total stranger gave two days wages to care for a person who was ethnically different from him.

In the end, Jesus asked the lawyer, “Who proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Jim McNeff, editor-in-chief, Law Enforcement Today

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