You are hereThe Great Samaritan Story

The Great Samaritan Story

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By Virgil - Posted on 11 November 2008

Stop me if you heard this one: there is this Samaritan, and he walks into a bar and says, “Is anyone here indebted to the Temple in Jerusalem? If you are, I’ll write you a blank check, just come and see me...the next one is on me.” I know, lame introduction but it’s late and I could not come up with something better.

This article evolved out of a conversation we had here in Dayton on a Wednesday night regarding the parable of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37. -- You should read the parable before you read this article -- That discussion brought to light all kinds of potential layers out of the parable, with the biggest one of them being eschatological in nature, and directly related to our contemporary reality, the Kingdom of God and the place where we are today in relation to our Creator.

The story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10 in my opinion is not as much a parable as it is (as I am hoping to show below) a re-telling of the Creator-mankind relational narrative in a universal context, not necessarily one of the traditional covenantal narratives we usually encounter throughout the Bible. The reason for my approach is simply one that has observed by the early church fathers. When writing on this topic, Jerome said:

Some think that their neighbor is their brother, family, relative or their kinsman. Our Lord teaches who our neighbor is in the Gospel parable of a certain main going down from Jerusalem to Jericho…Everyone is our neighbor, and we should not harm anyone. If, on the contrary, we understand our fellow human beings to be our only brother and relatives, it is then permissible to do evil to strangers? God forbid such a belief! We are neighbors, all people to all people, for we have one Father.[1]

It is interesting to note that for whatever reason, Jerome takes a universal approach to the story. The first and most obvious message communicated by Jesus in Luke 10 is that a true neighbor will help anyone in need, regardless of race, religion and background. This is true and it resonates with the contemporary culture today as much as it did back then. What was a culture of violence, hate and disdain for one another was directly challenged by Jesus through the telling of the parable. What is obviously a pointed jab against the Jewish establishment is the use of a Samaritan as the “good guy” in the allegory.

To the audience, and especially to the lawyer who was testing Jesus, the conclusion forced on him must have been quite an insult. Ever since Ezra’s description of the return from the Babylonian exile (c. 445 BC), the Samaritans and Jews were the worst kind of enemies one could imagine.[2] Once the northerners were refused to being part of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, the Samaritans responded by undermining the rebuilding process.[3] Samaritan tradition also “accuses Ezra of introducing a new script for the Hebrew letters and altering key scriptural texts, including the substitution of Ebal for Gerizim in Deutoronomy 27:4.”[4] The animosity gradually grew to a point at which by the first century, Jews were convinced that just by traveling through Samaritan land would cause them to be unclean.

But even with all this in mind, the parable seems to have a deeper meaning and relevance to its immediate audience. In a few short sentences, Jesus masterfully develops characters, relationships, and story dynamics, presenting a picture of the abandoned and the oppressed being saved and delivered from evil by another one who is abandoned and oppressed, the Samaritan who was according to Jewish theology denied a right to the afterlife, an who by the very word “Samaritan” was automatically equated with “idolater” in the mind of the Jew.

Even more, there seems to be enough evidence to suggest that the Greek language in which the parable is being presented to us does damage to the story (and the English does worse); as John Welch, a contemporary BYU scholar well pointed out something I overlooked, Luke did not use the typical aner to reference a male in the parable; instead he chose to use the generic anthropos, a reference to a person, or man-kind. Clement of Alexandria picked up on this detail and decided that anthropos is a reference to “all of us.” This could be well supported by the Jewish context in which the story was told, and the likely use of “adam” as the central character of the story does not seem to be an unreasonable possibility.

With this said, the story is now presenting a very powerful typology, which I could not present any better than Origen: “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 stable), which accepts all who wish to enter is the church. 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. The fact that the Samaritan promises he will return represents the Savior’s second coming…”[5]

The idea seems to be that “going down” from Jerusalem to Jericho (which is literally 800 some feet below sea level) is a descent into “the abyss” or into death, separation from God’s presence, which is in Jerusalem.[6] The 17 mile journey was dangerous on foot because of robbers and assassinations, but also Jericho was at the time the place where the temple priests and Levites would live while not serving in the temple; Jericho was the first century epitome of religiosity, legalism and simply disconnection from God’s presence. Ambrose reinforces this: “Jericho is an image of this world. Adam, cast out from Paradise, that heavenly Jerusalem, descended to it by the mistake of his transgression, that is, departing from the living to hell, for whom change not of place but of conduct made the exile of his nature…he received a mortal wound by which the whole human race would have fallen if that Samaritan, on his journey, had not tended his serious injuries.”[7]

Since my point is not to discuss the dietary and hygienic rules prohibiting the priest and the Levite from touching the man, I’ll go straight to the Samaritan’s use of oil and wine on the injured man. Symbolically speaking, again there is a lot of relevance here. Oil has been always used to anoint kings, and Jesus himself called wine his “blood.” The action of the Samaritan seems to be have both a direct physical action of cleaning and disinfecting the wounds of the injured man and also a deep spiritual meaning which is evident in the greater context of the story: Christ’s blood and the spirit of God cleanses humanity and brings redemption and holiness.

Last but not least, there is the eschatological clincher in the story: the Samaritan takes the injured man to an inn and pays the innkeeper the amount of two denari. The amount is not accidental since it is the exact amount required for Jewish men to pay as a yearly Temple tax.[8] So not only was the Temple “debt” taken care of by the Samaritan, but he also promises a future restitution for all expenditures upon his return – no questions asked.

So now we find ourselves reading the story as outsiders, in a first-century eschatological context. Should this typological approach to the parable of the Good Samaritan be accurate, what is the relevance of the innkeeper and of the return of the Samaritan? And does this mean that as Christians, or humans, we should continue to see ourselves as victims of evil, laying helpless and half-dead in some inn on the road to Jericho? Where is the Samaritan? Has he returned to the inn, has he paid our debts in full? What are the full contemporary implications of this parable, besides the obvious: we are the enemies' neighbors? Is God our neighbor?

While this is only an exploration of the parable, I am hoping that it is prompting you to ask additional difficult questions, so feel free to toss them this way. There is no guarantee you will get answers but usually I have more questions than answers anyways.

How does the typology of this parable that I presented above connect with your worldview? How does it fit into your own narrative and understanding of the story of Adam, and the story of mankind? Are you uncomfortable with the thought that the story of redemption presented by the parable has universal implications that may fall outside of the traditional covenantal understanding of redemption?

What are your thoughts?

[1] Jerome, Homily on Psalm 14; Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament III Luke, p. 179.

[2] See Ezra 4:1-6.

[3] Mircea Eliade, Encyclopedia of Religions, Vol. 13, p. 33.

[4] ibid.

[5] Origen, Homily on the Gospel of Luke; Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament III, p. 180

[6] Jericho was

[7] Ambrose, Exposition on the Gospel of Luke 7.73; Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament III, p. 179

[8] John E. Stambaugh and David L. Balch, The New Testament In Its Social Environment, Library of Early Christianity, p.78

markedward's picture

Thanks for this Virgil, I found it to be an incredibly interesting article.

Virgil's picture

Thanks for the feedback Mark.

Barry's picture

Hey Virgil
Nice read bro.
A few thoughts:

Quote:
How does the typology of this parable that I presented above connect with your worldview?
End quote.
This is my take:
"fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded [him]" Sin in the context of the self defined self. In an independent human potential (brought in through Adam) he found himself striped OF HIS OWN COVERING and wounded.

"leaving [him] half dead" an eschatological hades as Paul uses it in 1 Cor. 15:54-56.

"priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side...likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked [on him], and passed by on the other side"
The Law could not take away sin. It was innefectual to bring healing as it stood itself as the epitome of an independent human potential.

"a certain Samaritan" The outcast, the reject, the good Samaritan. The one they said "you are a Samaritan and are demon possessed".

"bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on HIS OWN beast" The healing of the Cross. The power to take away sin. Done through God possibility not an independent human potential, not through the law.

"and brought him to an inn, and took care of him" The Church of the transition. The House of God. The Inn where Christ paid the debt through God's possibility while the wounded was helpless.

"on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave [them] to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee" Where the full debt was covered through to, and at, the second appearance of the high priest of God.

"Go, and do thou likewise" Leave your confidence in the flesh which, you have expressed in "what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" and come follow me, the good Samaritan.

Spoken in a Parable as "he did not speak to them without" a Parable.

Quote:
How does it fit into your own narrative and understanding of the story of Adam, and the story of mankind?
Are you uncomfortable with the thought that the story of redemption presented by the parable has universal implications that may fall outside of the traditional covenantal understanding of redemption?
End quote.

The covenantal "world" never stood on its own but as a micro Catalyst of the larger Macro of Universal creation. By the same token the macro never stood independent of the micro. This is the point of Genesis 1 and 2.
This is why Universal creation is paralleled too and with the micro covenant creation throughout the OT scriptures. A Physical verses Covenant dichotomy will not work in scripture. Such is a "western" view and western application. Rather Universal and covenantal are interlinked.

Examples:
Exd 31:16 Wherefore the CHILDREN OF ISRAEL shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, [for] a perpetual covenant.
Exd 31:17 It [is] a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for [in] six days the LORD MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.

Psa 136:1 O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
Psa 136:2 O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
Psa 136:3 O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.
Psa 136:4 To HIM ALONE DOETH GREAT WONDERS: for his MERCY [endureth] for ever.
Psa 136:5 To him that BY WISDOM MADE THE HEAVENS: for his MERCY [endureth] for ever.
Psa 136:6 To him that SRETCHED OUT THE EARTH ABOVE THE WATERS: for his MERCY [endureth] for ever.
Psa 136:7 To him that MADE THE GREAT LIGHTS: for his MERCY [endureth] for ever:
Psa 136:8 The SUN to rule by day: for his MERCY [endureth] for ever:
Psa 136:9 The MOON and STARS to rule by night: for his MERCY [endureth] for ever.
Psa 136:10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy [endureth] for ever:
Psa 136:11 And BROUGHT OUT ISRAEL FROM AMONG THEM: for his MERCY [endureth] for ever:

Pro 8:22 The LORD possessed me IN THE BEGINNING of his way, BEFORE his works of old.
Pro 8:23 I was set up from everlasting, FROM THE BEGINNING, or EVER THE EARTH WAS.
Pro 8:24 When [there were] NO DEPTHS, I was brought forth; when [there were] NO FOUNTAINS abounding with water.
Pro 8:25 BEFORE the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:
Pro 8:26 While as yet he had NOT MADE THE EARTH, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.
Pro 8:27 WHEN HE PREPARED the heavens, I [was] there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:
Pro 8:28 WHEN he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:
Pro 8:29 WHEN he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth:
Pro 8:30 Then I was by him, [as] one brought up [with him]: and I was daily [his] delight, rejoicing always before him;

Isa 45:11 Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and HIS MAKER, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.
Isa 45:12 I HAVE MADE THE EARTH, AND CREATED MAN UPON IT: I, [even] my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.
{thus then}
Isa 45:13 I HAVE RAISED HIM UP IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, and I will direct all his ways: HE SHALL BUILD MY CITY, and HE SHALL LET GO MY CAPTIVE, NOT FOR PRICE NOR REWARD, saith the LORD of hosts.
Isa 45:14 Thus saith the LORD, The labour of Egypt, and merchandise of Ethiopia and of the Sabeans, men of stature, shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee, they shall make supplication unto thee, [saying], Surely God [is] in thee; and [there is] none else, [there is] no God.

Isa 45:18 For thus saith the LORD that CREATED THE HEAVENS; God himself that formed the earth and made it; HE HATH ESTABLISHED IT, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I [am] the LORD; and [there is] none else.
Isa 45:19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto THE SEED OF JACOB, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

New covenant creation was new Universal creation. From macro to micro back to macro. And why the telling of Universal creation was itself prophetic as pertains to covenant promise. Universal creation in the Bible is never told to explain the physicality of existence but rather to explain man's state of consciousness through his surroundings which involved physical things all which God is Universal creator.
Physical verses Covenantal is a western approach to scripture. In the verses above such an approach in IMHO untenable.
Rather the micro of covenantal promise is said to affect the whole of the Universal as pertains to the consciousness of man as he sees his surroundings his or her world around him and her.

Blessings Barry

we are all in this together

Virgil's picture

Barry, thanks for the feedback, this is very good stuff. I especially enjoy your reference to Adam being left "naked" by his sin, which seems to be a parallel to the man beaten and left for dead. Very good.

Also, good observations on the micro-macro parallelism in the Scriptures. The scripture seems to indicate very strongly that the physical creation seems to be the direct corollary of what is happening in God's mind and is meant to illustrate a spiritual reality or equivalent. Take light, darkness, life, death, etc.

Barry's picture

Interesting perception Virgil.

Very happy you bought up this text Virgil.
Overall this "Parable" is one that IMO undercuts many a "world view" of many a Christian in all eschatological schools of thought.

At this time Christ emphasized 2 singular points of the law.
Love God, and Love your neighbor.

The specificity of covenant focus hence the usage of the term "world" did indeed often refer to a limited local application. But the meaning of that catalyst in "love" application meant a much larger scope.
They were a light to the world and not just a light "amongst their own little world". While "covenant promise" had a catalyst, the results of reaching critical mass did melt the whole of the old economy and not just the catalyst itself.

Gal 2:12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
Gal 2:13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
Gal 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before [them] all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
Gal 2:15 We [who are] Jews by nature, and NOT SINNERS OF THE GENTILES,

1Cr 5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs GO OUT OF THE WORLD.

1Cr 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
1Cr 1:20 Where [is] the wise? where [is] the scribe? where [is] the disputer OF THIS WORLD? {OR AGE} hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
1Cr 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
1Cr 1:22 FOR the JEWS require a sign, and the GREEKS seek after wisdom:
1Cr 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the JEWS a stumblingblock, and unto the GREEKS foolishness;
1Cr 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

1Cr 2:12 Now we have received, NOT THE SPIRIT OF THE WORLD, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are FREELY given to us of God.
1Cr 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
1Cr 2:14 But the NATURAL MAN receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned.
1Cr 2:15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
1Cr 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

It is clear that in Paul's view there was indeed a catalyst and so then the term "world" touched upon the specificity of the catalyst itself. Those who had been entrusted with the oracles of God. The princes of that age.
It is also clear that Paul sees a covenantal world economy at stake. A world economy that the Greeks could not geographically leave or depart from (1 Cor. 5:10).

It is also clear that Paul's "Jew and Greek" terminology is not intended to be exclusive either.
Rom 1:13 Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.
Rom 1:14 I am debtor both to the GREEKS, and to the BARBARIANS; both to the WISE, and to the UNWISE.
Rom 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

And though the gospel was preached to what were the limits of the sphere of Israel's influence, and thus the world of Israel's geographical influence it is also clear that what had happening was a matter of historical revelation.

Mat 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Who is my neighbor?
Who thus did God act neighborly toward through the Good Samaritan?

While there is a catalyst specificity to it, the "end of the age" had Universal results. Else we land up with one of two conclusions.
God is a respecter of persons or Sin was never a problem for the "rest of humanity" that was not part of that world.
So IMHO there are three possible conclusions we can pick from:
1) God is a respecter of persons.
2) Sin was never a problem outside the specificity of God's covenantal dealings.
3) The end of the age had Universal implications toward a much larger old economy.

The answer to who is my neighbor destroys much of the conclusions of so called Calvinism. For so called Calvinism would have us believe that either God didn't care about the vast majority of his offspring or that He is not sovereign to begin with. In essence then Calvinism attempts to have Covenantal man loving people that God does not. But if Christ begs the question of who is my neighbor, and He was the Good neighbor then Calvinism has a flawed concept sovernty.

Such also destroys much of the precepts of Christendom as to who God cares about and whom Christ died for.

IMHO its like arguing over the color of the bark of the tree while we burn down the forest. If love is Universal then God who is love, is a Universal lover.

Just a few thoughts.
Just my opinion.
Barry

we are all in this together

davo's picture

Barry: The answer to who is my neighbor destroys much of the conclusions of so called Calvinism. For so called Calvinism would have us believe that either God didn't care about the vast majority of his offspring or that He is not sovereign to begin with. In essence then Calvinism attempts to have Covenantal man loving people that God does not. But if Christ begs the question of who is my neighbor, and He was the Good neighbor then Calvinism has a flawed concept sovernty.

Bang on the money Barry – so called Calvinism is bereft of any logical consistency. And it certainly DOESN'T have a mortgage on "the sovereignty of God" issue. It is truly amazing how such issues as "predestination" and "election" can not be held to their logical conclusions according to a prêteristic hermeneutic and be seen as fulfilled in their entirety in the biblical setting of the Incarnation, the Cross and the Parousia.

If only Prêterists could follow a consistent hermeneutic they would see that God's elect Israel were His priests on behalf of the world to minister the fullness of Godly blessing, and that this election was further honed through Israel's story to ultimate fulfillment in Christ and his first-fruit saints, and that these being the "first-fruit of His creatures" were the very ones sanctified [sovereignly elected] to minister the reconciliation on behalf of those in the ignorance of darkness, i.e., the rest of humankind.

Barry: Such also destroys much of the precepts of Christendom as to who God cares about and whom Christ died for.

Yes again Barry… and it challenges the adage that some Calvinists must really choke on that – "all men are created equal…" – well not so for a belligerent Calvinism.

davo

davo's picture

Virgil… clearly the man heading down to Jericho was a doubt-filled believer; the Priest passing by was a fundamentalist preacher; the Levite passing even further by was an evangelical Sunday school Elder; the compassionate Samaritan himself was a gay; no doubt the donkey, all obliging; and last but not least, most likely the Inn Keeper a former church member now running a homeless refuge just around the corner from a "respectable" Church :).

davo

Virgil's picture

Hahaha! That was great. :)

Starlight's picture

Virgil,

I thought that was a nice piece. As far as a minimalist versus a maximalist approach is concerned it really is not an either or proposition. There are benefits from both approaches especially since the nature and understanding of Hebrew literature is not built upon a minimalist approach alone.

I do take issue with your applying Adam to be mankind at large as Adam was representative of Israel and the old covenant body not all universal mankind. That is why Ephesians says the two (believers that is) would be united into the one new man in place of the two.

Norm

tom-g's picture

Hey Virgil,

You ask: "Should this typological approach to the parable of the Good Samaritan be accurate," My question to you is: what if the typological approach to the interpretation of scripture is NOT accurate? What if John inspired by the Spirit wrote the story exactly and with the exact words the Spirit inspired him to write? What if the spirit inspired inerrant scripture written in Greek did not do damage to the story? What if in the inerrant scripture the Spirit nowhere applies the term "Good" to the Samaritan?

What if the priest and Levite recognized the man as a Samaritan and left him, allowing the dead to care for the dead, choosing not to cast their pearls before swine and shaking the dust from their feet.

Maybe the Spirit was teaching us to come out from among them and be separate so that God could treat us as sons and daughters and our neighbors and our mother and our brethren are our fellow Christians, those who do the will of our Father in heaven, just as the wounded Samaritan's neighbor was a fellow Samaritan.

I think I could become addicted to this idea of "That discussion brought to light all kinds of potential layers out of the parable." After all, let's face it, who would possibly want to spend any time and effort on the potential in the layers of peelings and wrappings that are meant to be thrown away and discarded, so that we can experience the joy of the meat that is contained underneath all of those useless layers?

Tom

Virgil's picture

Tom, we don't know if the half-dead man was a Samaritan, so it's difficult to say that. Some of what I've read on the topic suggests that they were simply not suppose to touch what seemed like a "dead" man, or come in contact with blood. There is definitely something to be said about the Law becoming a barrier in helping someone who is dying or in need of help.

As far as "peeling back layers," that's a wonderful endeavor and conversation with some of my friends always brings up interesting things that I've nor considered before. Yes, it's time consuming and it makes people uncomfortable, but as long as it takes place in an environment that respects scripture, I have no problem with it. We are meant to be explorers, ask questions and listen to others - that's how we usually learn new things. :)

tom-g's picture

Virgil,

It's interesting that you would introduce the concept of what we know, since that idea was conspicuously absent from your article.

Your explanation of learning sounds like Dewey's definition: The goal of Education is more education. I think the Spirit said it best through the apostle Paul: "Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." And in the process possibly even denying the very Lord that bought them?

Maybe you could answer a question I have always had about this left wing liberal social gospel. How do these people think they are doing God's will by trying to physically heal people who only need healing because they are dead already and under the eternal wrath of God? For them, does being a Christian mean they are to be continually engaged in battling against God;s Will and continually working to contradict the effect of God's wrath?

Tom

Virgil's picture

Tom...I have no idea what you are talking about.

tom-g's picture

Virgil,

Surely you jest! You are saying that Christians sit around learning from each other based on asking questions like these?

"And does this mean that as Christians, or humans, we should continue to see ourselves as victims of evil, laying helpless and half-dead in some inn on the road to Jericho? Where is the Samaritan? Has he returned to the inn, has he paid our debts in full? What are the full contemporary implications of this parable, besides the obvious: we are the enemies' neighbors? Is God our neighbor?

You, who know and have believed the gospel of Christ, can ask these questions? You actually question whether the God who created us is just our neighbor? You actually question whether Christians are VICTIMS of EVIL? (VICTIMS? Who is the perpetrator of evel and what is this evil of whom we are only helpless victims?) You actually question whether Christians are still lying half dead (Christians are still half dead?) on the roadside? You actually question whether Christ has already paid for our sins in full (We're still half dead?) at Calvary and you actually wonder if and whether Christ will actually come back to pay for our sins in full? (Why, so that we will no longer only be half dead?)

How much clearer can the gospel of the grace of God and the Lord who bought us be denied? And you say you have no idea what I am talking about?

Tom

Virgil's picture

You missed the entire point of my article.

I am not sure why I bother continuing to interact with you tom. Every time I give you the benefit of the doubt and decide to interact with you (knowing better), you disappoint me with some comment that has almost nothing to do with what is being discussed.

The "questions" you are pointing out are in fact rhetorical question, directed to an audience which is not, or may not be familiar with my or your eschatological position.

Yes, it may be difficult to not act mean-spirited online when you don't face someone, but you are not even putting an effort into it.

MiddleKnowledge's picture

Virgil,

Interesting read. I especially like the eschatological connection to the return of the Samaritan. Also, I was not aware of the significance of the two denarii. That is a very good insight. We miss a lot without intimate knowledge of the cultural context.

I do have a question, though:

"A third of mankind was killed by the three plagues of fire, smoke, and sulfur that came out of their mouths... The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the works of their hands..." (Rev. 9:18, 20 NIV)

It is my understanding that the word for "mankind" in that text is "anthropos," the same word you highlighted in your article.

Would that mean that the Revelation is speaking in that same universal context? Why or why not?

Thanks for your article,

Tim Martin
www.beyondcreationscience.com

Virgil's picture

Tim, let's remember that the meaning of "anthropos" in Revelation is bound by the literary context of story and its genre. And that's what makes it difficult to deal with - the story is actually universal in its implications but it unfolds on a limited geographical scale.

I think we'll run into problems trying to explain every single detail of story (preterists are especially guilty of this - we can't see the big picture because of the details we obsess over) which is why I don't really care about all the details like Origen did. I don't think it's necessary to understand who is the beast, the inn keeper, etc, but there seems to be some relevance to the secondary identity of the Samaritan when he is placed in this parable, and the identity of the man in relationship to the Samaritan.

Ransom's picture

Hey, Virg. Sorry to be a party pooper, but...

Could it be that Jesus was just talking about how we're supposed to take care of those who hate us, framed in an illustration that suggests the redeemability of non-Jews, even the half-breed Samaritans, as well as the failure of the religious leadership to care for those in the most need?

We can come up with universal analogies of deep spiritual significance for any parable all day long, but I'd hesitate stretching this one any further than that. I'm a minimalist that way. :)

Virgil's picture

Stephen, you are right in hesitating, but I am not sure why he could not be doing both? Is there anything specifically in the text that makes you hesitate, or are you just hesitating because you are a minimalist? :)

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