Luke 10:37
And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
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(37) Go, and do thou likewise.—This was the practical, though not the formal, answer to the question of the lawyer. If he acted in the spirit of the Samaritan, he would need no “nicely-calculated less or more” of casuistic distinctions as to who was and who was not his neighbour. Fellowship in the same human nature, and any kind of even passing contact, were enough to constitute a ground for neighbourly kindness. Of such a question it may be said, Solvitur amando. We love, and the problem presents no difficulty.

Nothing should lead us away from recognising this as the main lesson of the parable. But there is another application of it which, within limits, is legitimate enough as a development of thought, and which has commended itself to so many devout minds, both in ancient and modern times, that it at least deserves a notice. Christ Himself, it is said, is the great pattern of a wide, universal love for man as man, acting out the lesson which the parable teaches in its highest form. May we not think of Him as shadowed forth in the good Samaritan, as accepting, in that sense, the name which had been flung at Him in scorn? Starting from this thought, the circumstances fit in with a strange aptness. The traveller stands as representing mankind at large. The journey is from Jerusalem, the heavenly city, the paradise of man’s first estate, to Jericho, the evil and accursed city (Joshua 6:17), the sin into which man entered by yielding to temptation. The robbers are the powers of evil, who strip him of his robe of innocence and purity, who smite him sore, and leave him, as regards his higher life, half-dead. The priest and the Levite represent the Law in its sacrificial and ceremonial aspects, and they have no power to relieve or rescue. The Christ comes and helps where they have failed. The beast on which He rides is the human nature in which the Word dwelt, and it is upon that humanity of His that He bids us rest for comfort and support. The inn represents the visible Church of Christ, and the host its pastors and teachers; even the two pence, perhaps, the ordinances and means of grace committed to the Church. There is an obvious risk, in all such application, of an element that is fantastic and unreal; but the main line of parallelism seems to commend itself, if not to the reason, at least to the imagination of the devout interpreter.

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.He that showed mercy - His "Jewish" prejudice would not permit him "to name" the Samaritan, but there was no impropriety, even in his view, in saying that the man who showed so much mercy was really the neighbor to the afflicted, and not he who "professed" to be his neighbor, but who would "do nothing" for his welfare.

Go, and do thou likewise - Show the same kindness to "all" - to friend and foe - and "then" you will have evidence that you keep the law, and not "till" then. Of this man we know nothing farther; but from this inimitably beautiful parable we may learn:

1. That the knowledge of the law is useful to make us acquainted with our own sinfulness and need of a Saviour.

2. That it is not he who "professes" most kindness that really loves us most, but he who will most deny himself that he may do us good in times of want.

3. That religion requires us to do good to "all" people, however "accidentally" we may become acquainted with their calamities.

4. That we should do good to our enemies. Real love to them will lead us to deny ourselves, and to sacrifice our own welfare, that we may help them in times of distress and alleviate their wants.

5. That he is really our neighbor who does us the most good - who helps us in our necessities, and especially if he does this when there has been "a controversy or difference" between us and him.

6. We hence see the beauty of religion. Nothing else will induce people to surmount their prejudices, to overcome opposition, and to do good to those who are at enmity with them. True religion teaches us to regard every man as our neighbor; prompts us to do good to all, to forget all national or sectional distinctions, and to aid all those who are in circumstances of poverty and want. If religion were valuable for nothing "but this," it would be the most lovely and desirable principle on earth, and all, especially in their early years, should seek it. Nothing that a young person can gain will be so valuable as the feeling that regards all the world as one great family, and to learn early to do good to all.

7. The difference between the Jew and the Samaritan was a difference in "religion" and "religious opinion;" and from the example of the latter we may learn that, while people differ in "opinions" on subjects of religion, and while they are zealous for what they hold to be the truth, still they should treat each other kindly; that they should aid each other in necessity; and that they should thus show that religion is a principle superior to the love of sect, and that the cord which binds man to man is one that is to be sundered by no difference of opinion, that Christian kindness is to be marred by no forms of worship, and by no bigoted attachment for what we esteem the doctrines of the gospel.

37. Go, &c.—O exquisite, matchless teaching! What new fountains of charity has not this opened up in the human spirit—rivers in the wilderness, streams in the desert! What noble Christian institutions have not such words founded, all undreamed of till that wondrous One came to bless this heartless world of ours with His incomparable love—first in words, and then in deeds which have translated His words into flesh and blood, and poured the life of them through that humanity which He made His own! Was this parable, now, designed to magnify the law of love, and to show who fulfils it and who not? And who did this as never man did it, as our Brother Man, "our Neighbor?" The priests and Levites had not strengthened the diseased, nor bound up the broken (Eze 34:4), while He bound up the brokenhearted (Isa 61:1), and poured into all wounded spirits the balm of sweetest consolation. All the Fathers saw through the thin veil of this noblest of stories, the Story of love, and never wearied of tracing the analogy (though sometimes fancifully enough) [Trench]. Exclaims Gregory Nazianzen (in the fourth century), "He hungered, but He fed thousands; He was weary, but He is the Rest of the weary; He is saluted 'Samaritan' and 'Demoniac,' but He saves him that went down from Jerusalem and fell among thieves," &c. See Poole on "Luke 10:30"

And he said, he that showed mercy to him,.... Meaning the Samaritan; which he was obliged to declare, though of another country and religion, and accounted as an enemy; yet the case was so plain, as put by Christ, that he could not with any honour or conscience, say otherwise:

then said Jesus unto him, go and do thou likewise; such like acts of beneficence and kindness, though to a person of a different nation and religion, and though even an enemy; and by so doing, thou wilt not only appear to be a good neighbour thyself, but to love thy neighbour as thyself.

And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Luke 10:37. Ὁ ποιήσας κ.τ.λ.] Bengel: “Non invitus abstinet legisperitus appellatione propria Samaritae.” On the expression, comp. Luke 1:72.

τὸ ἔλεος] the compassion related; καὶ σύ: thou also; not to be joined to πορεύου (Lachmann), but to ποίει. Comp. Luke 6:31.


Instead of giving to the theoretical question of the scribe, Luke 10:29, a direct and theoretical decision as to whom he was to regard as his neighbour, Jesus, by the feigned (according to Grotius and others, the circumstance actually occurred) history of the compassionate Samaritan, with all the force of the contrast that puts to shame the cold Jewish arrogance, gives a practical lesson on the question: how one actually becomes the neighbour of ANOTHER, namely, by the exercise of helpful love, independently of the nationality and religion of the persons concerned. And the questioner, in being dismissed with the direction, καὶ σὺ ποίει ὁμοίως, has therein indirectly the answer to his question, τίς ἐστί μου πλησίον; namely: Every one, without distinction of people and faith, to whom the circumstances analogous to the instance of the Samaritan direct thee to exercise helpful love in order thereby to become his neighbour, thou hast to regard as thy neighbour. This turn on the part of Jesus, like every feature of the improvised narrative, bears the stamp of originality in the pregnancy of its meaning, in the insight which suggested it, and in the quiet and yet perfectly frank way in which the questioner, by a direct personal appeal, was put to the blush.[138]

[138] The Fathers, as Origen, Ambrose, Augustine, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, have been able to impart mystical meanings to the individual points of the history. Thus the ἄνθρωπός τις signifies Adam; Jerusalem, paradise; Jericho, the world; the thieves, the demons; the priest, the law; the Levite, the prophets; the Samaritan, Christ; the beast, Christ’s body; the inn, the church; the landlord, the bishop; the Denarii, the Old and New Testaments; the return, the Parousia. See especially Origen, Hom. 34 in Luc., and Theophylact, sub loc. Luther also similarly allegorises in his sermons. Calvin wisely says: “Scripturae major habenda est reverentia, quam ut germanum ejus sensum hac licentia transfigurare liceat.”

Luke 10:37. ὁ ποιήσας, etc. If the lawyer was captious to begin with he is captious no longer. He might have been, for his question had not been directly (though very radically) answered. But the moral pathos of the “parable” has appealed to his better nature, and he quibbles no longer. But the prejudice of his class tacitly finds expression by avoidance of the word “Samaritan,” and the use instead of the phrase ὁ ποιήσας τὸ ἔλεος μετʼ αὐτοῦ. Yet perhaps we do him injustice here, for the phrase really expresses the essence of neighbourhood, and so indicates not only who is neighbour but why. For the same phrase vide Luke 1:58; Luke 1:72. This story teaches the whole doctrine of neighbourhood: first and directly, what it is to be a neighbour, viz., to give succour when and where needed; next, indirectly but by obvious consequence, who is a neighbour, viz., any one who needs help and whom I have opportunity and power to help, no matter what his rank, race, or religion may be: neighbourhood coextensive with humanity.

37. He that shewed mercy on him] Rather, the pity. By this poor periphrasis the lawyer avoids the shock to his own prejudices, which would have been involved in the hated word, ‘the Samaritan.’ “He will not name the Samaritan by name, the haughty hypocrite.” Luther.

Go, and do thou likewise] The general lesson is that of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:44.

Luke 10:37. Ὁ ποιήσας τὸ ἔλεος μετʼ αὐτοῦ) LXX. 2 Samuel 9:1, etc., has ποιήσω μετʼ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος. It is not without design, that the lawyer refrains from giving the proper appellation, “the Samaritan.” [He shrunk from attributing such credit to a Samaritan, and therefore does not use the name.]—πορεύου, go thy way) Not yet was this lawyer fit for discipleship.—καὶ σὺ, thou also) When once the love of one’s own people and sect is removed out of the way, the access then at length is the easier to the Grace, which is free and common to all. Therefore the Samaritan, say you, has by this act of his obtained eternal life? [Luke 10:25.] Comp. Luke 10:27-29. The answer to this may be given from Romans 2:26.—ποίει, do) This is in consonance with ὁ ποιήσας, he that did the deed of mercy.—[ὁμοίως, likewise) We need not he ashamed of copying any good example set us, even though it be a Samaritan who is to be imitated.—V. g.]

Luke 10:37He that shewed mercy on him. (μετά)

Rather with him: (μετά): dealt with him as with a brother. The lawyer avoids the hated word Samaritan.

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