Luke 10:36
Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
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(36) Which now of these three . . .?—There is a certain subtle discernment in the form of the question. The point under discussion was as to whom the Jew should look on as his neighbour. It is answered indirectly by the narrative, which showed who had proved himself a neighbour to the Jew. The Samaritan had shown himself a better interpreter of the commandment than the orthodox scribe. He had recognised a neighbour even in the Jew. The Jew therefore should recognise a neighbour even in the Samaritan. From the human point of view there is something noble in the manner in which our Lord thus singles out the Samaritan as a type of excellence, after His own recent repulse (Luke 9:53) by men of the same race; something also courageous in His doing so after He had been recently reproached as being Himself a Samaritan (John 8:48). It may be noted that His journey, “as it were in secret” (John 7:10), to the Feast of Tabernacles, must have probably led Him through Samaria, and that in all probability He must have spent the first day of the Feast in that country. (See Note on John 8:48.)

10:25-37 If we speak of eternal life, and the way to it, in a careless manner, we take the name of God in vain. No one will ever love God and his neighbour with any measure of pure, spiritual love, who is not made a partaker of converting grace. But the proud heart of man strives hard against these convictions. Christ gave an instance of a poor Jew in distress, relieved by a good Samaritan. This poor man fell among thieves, who left him about to die of his wounds. He was slighted by those who should have been his friends, and was cared for by a stranger, a Samaritan, of the nation which the Jews most despised and detested, and would have no dealings with. It is lamentable to observe how selfishness governs all ranks; how many excuses men will make to avoid trouble or expense in relieving others. But the true Christian has the law of love written in his heart. The Spirit of Christ dwells in him; Christ's image is renewed in his soul. The parable is a beautiful explanation of the law of loving our neighbour as ourselves, without regard to nation, party, or any other distinction. It also sets forth the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward sinful, miserable men. We were like this poor, distressed traveller. Satan, our enemy, has robbed us, and wounded us: such is the mischief sin has done us. The blessed Jesus had compassion on us. The believer considers that Jesus loved him, and gave his life for him, when an enemy and a rebel; and having shown him mercy, he bids him go and do likewise. It is the duty of us all , in our places, and according to our ability, to succour, help, and relieve all that are in distress and necessity.Was neighbour - Showed the kindness of a neighbor, or evinced the proper feelings of a neighbor. The lawyer had asked him who was his neighbor? Jesus in this beautiful narrative showed him who and what a neighbor was, and he did this in a way that disarmed his prejudice, deeply affected him in regard to his own duty, and evinced the beauty of religion. Had he "at first" told him that a Samaritan might be a neighbor to a Jew and deserve his kindness, he would have been at once revolted at it; but when, by a beautiful and affecting narrative, he brought the "man himself" to see that it might be, he was constrained to admit it. Here we see the beauty of a parable and its use. It disarmed prejudice, fixed the attention, took the mind gently yet irresistibly, and prevented the possibility of cavil or objection. Compare, also, the address of Nathan to David, 2 Samuel 12:1-7. 36. Which … was neighbour?—a most dexterous way of putting the question: (1) Turning the question from, "Whom am I to love as my neighbour?" to "Who is the man that shows that love?" (2) Compelling the lawyer to give a reply very different from what he would like—not only condemning his own nation, but those of them who should be the most exemplary. (3) Making him commend one of a deeply hated race. And he does it, but it is almost extorted. For he does not answer, "The Samaritan"—that would have sounded heterodox, heretical—but "He that showed mercy on him." It comes to the same thing, no doubt, but the circumlocution is significant. See Poole on "Luke 10:30"

Which now of these three,.... The priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan,

thinkest thou, was neighbour to him that fell among the thieves? the priest and Levite that passed by, and took no notice of him, and gave him no relief, neither by words nor actions; or the Samaritan, that did all the above kind and generous things to him?

Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
Luke 10:36. Application of the story.—γεγονέναι: which of the three seems to you to have become neighbour by neighbourly action? neighbour is who neighbour does.

Luke 10:36. Τριῶν, of the three) who were, the one a Priest, the second a Levite, the third a Samaritan. God does not accept the person [Acts 10:35]: the three men, though different in position, are enumerated together.—πλησίον, neighbour) The Samaritan, in doing a benefit to a Jew, his national enemy, was his neighbour: but the lawyer had asked his question concerning the neighbour to whom love was to be exhibited [not concerning the neighbour who was to exhibit love to another]. The two are mutually related.[100] The Jews also are hereby reproved, inasmuch as they regarded the Samaritans with loathing.[101] It might happen that even the lawyer should want the help of a Samaritan, the very person whom he did not account as his neighbour.

[100] The one infers the other. Jesus’ mode of answering implies, that it is of more consequence for us to ask, Have we the true neighbourly spirit of love in ourselves? than to ask, What is the qualification needed in him (the neighbour) to whom we show that love?—ED. and TRANSL.

[101] It was wiser therefore to give an example of love in one of the despised Samaritans, than to offend Jewish prejudice directly by saving. The Samaritan is thy ‘neighbour,’ and therefore “love him as thyself.”—ED. and TRANSL.

Verses 36, 37. - Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that showed mercy on him. The deep pathos of the little story, the meaning of which the trained-scholar mind of the lawyer at once grasped, went right home to the ]mart. The Jewish scribe, in spite of prejudice and jealousy, was too noble not to confess that the Galilaean Master's estimate of a neighbour was the true one, and the estimate of the Jerusalem schools the wrong one; so at once he replies, "He that showed mercy on him." Even then, in that hour of the noblest confession his lips had ever made, the lawyer trained in those strange and mistaken schools, the outcome of which is the Talmud, could not force himself to name the hated Samaritan name, but paraphrases it in this titan. The scene closes with the Lord's charge, "Then imitate that act." Go, and do thou likewise. The parable thus answers the question - Who is my neighbour? Any one, it replies, who needs help, and whom I have power and opportunity to help, no matter what his rank, race, or religion may be. Neighbourhood is made coextensive with humanity; any human being is my neighbour who needs aid, or to whom I can render aid. But it answers the other and the still larger and deeper question with which the scene which called the parable out began. "Master," asked the lawyer (ver. 25), "what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Or in other words, "What is the virtue which saves?" The Scriptures teach that without holiness no one shall see the Lord, that is, shall inherit eternal life; and in this parable two kinds of holiness are set before us - the one spurious, the other genuine. The spurious holiness is that of the priest and Levite, two officially holy persons; - spurious holiness is sanctity divorced from charity. In the person of the Samaritan the nature of true sanctity is exhibited; - we are taught that the way to please God, the way to genuine holiness, is the practice of charity. Another and a very different exposition of this great and loving parable treats it as a Divine allegory. It commends itself to the present generation less than the plain matter-of-fact exegesis adopted in the foregoing notes. In the allegory, the wounded traveller represents mankind at large, stripped by the devil and his angels; he is left by them grievously wounded, yet not dead outright. Priest and Levite were alike powerless to help. "Many passed us by," once wrote a devout mediaeval writer, "and there was none to save." Moses and his Law, Aaron and his sacrifices, patriarch, prophet, and priest, - these were powerless. Only the true Samaritan (Christ), beholding, was moved with compassion and poured oil into the wounds. Among the ancients, Chrysostom and Clement of Alexandria and Augustine might be cited as good examples of these allegorical expositors. Among mediaeval Churchmen, Bernard and his devout school. Although this method of exposition has not been adopted here, still an exegesis which has commended itself so heartily to learned and devout Churchmen in all the Christian ages deserves at least a more respectful mention than the scornful allusion or the contemptuous silence with which it is nowadays too often dismissed. Godet, for instance, describes this allegorical interpretation adopted by the Fathers as rivalling that of the Gnostics. Luke 10:36Was neighbor (πλησίον γεγονέναι)

More correctly, has become neighbor. Jesus throws himself back to the time of the story. So Rev., proved neighbor. "The neighbor Jews became strangers. The stranger Samaritan became neighbor to the wounded traveller" (Alford).

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