“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits ?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy. “
Then Jesus said , “You must now go and do the same.”
Luke 10:36 - 37
One day a self righteous religious leader, an expert in the religious law approached Jesus. With much confidence upon his own righteousness he asked Jesus to test him,
“Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life ?” Jesus replied with a question about what the Law of Moses say regarding this matter. The expert in religious law replied with much confidence , “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself.
The religious leader is very much confident that he was able to comply with this requirement. To expose further the true condition of his heart and his hypocrisy, Jesus narrated the story of the good Samaritan. The story is about a Jewish man who was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho and was attacked by bandits. They stripped him off of his clothes and money , beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance a Jewish priest came along but when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there but he also passed by on the other side.
Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt deep pity. Kneeling beside him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on is own donkey and took him to an inn , where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two pieces of silver and told him to take care of the man.
Jesus used two religious people in this story , the Jewish priest and and the Temple Assistant. He illustrated them as people with no compassion in their hearts . This representation reveals the true condition of the religious leadership in their time , a religion of hypocrisy, a religion without a display of true godliness, a religion full of spiritual pride without true regeneration of the heart. This simply implies that religiosity is not synonimous to salvation. One may be very very religious following all the details of the strictest religious practices and traditions, yet still very very far away from the Kingdom of God.
Jesus portrays in this parable the Samaritan as a virtuous man with great compassion for his neighbor. Samaritans are considered defiled by the Jewish people . They never had close associations with them. The good Samaritan demonstrated a great act of charity to the man attacked by bandits. He gave time to the man attacked by the bandits. He did not hesitate nor avoid to come to aid him. First he gave first aid treatment to the man, all by himself. His charity did not end here, still he was not yet satisfied with what he did, he still bother to take time to bring the man to an inn to furtherly take care of him ensuring his complete recuperation. Still his acts of mercy did not stop here, he hired an innkeeper to take good care of the man. The good Samaritan handed down two pieces of silver to the innkeeper telling him that he will pay for all the expenses that will be made upon taking care of the man.
Such indeed is a great act of charity and compassion. This is walking extra miles considering that the man attacked by bandits is a total stranger to the Samaritan.Will you do this to a total stranger ? For Christ, this what loving your neighbor means.A somewhat impossible task for a carnal man to do. This is a slap to the face of the self-righteous religious law expert.
Loving as the good Samaritan loves is an impossible task for a carnal man to fulfill. This reveals that it is impossible to fulfill the Law of God with our carnal flesh, without depending upon the power of the Spirit of God. It reveals that by his own works, no man could ever be saved. The Law is given to reveal man’s incapability to fulfill God’s standard of righteousness .As it is written in John 1:16 NIV:
“For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through JesusChrist.”
Through Jesus Christ, we will receive true righteousness. Salvation is impossible for man to achieve but God made salvation achievable for man through JesusChrist.By putting our faith in Christ sacrifice on the cross two thousand years ago, accepting it as a sufficient sacrifice for the atonement of our sins, we obtain salvation and forgiveness for our sins. Upon believing, we receive the Holy Spirit as a seal of our salvation . At that time the Holy Spirit indwells us, empowering us making us capable to do God’s will and standard of righteousness.
This sums up salvation. Salvation indeed is wholly a work of God.