Questions about the Parable of the Good Samaritan

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QUESTION 1

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The Parable of the Good Samaritan is only in the Evangelist Luke's Gospel (Luke 10:25-37), and is read on the 25th Sunday after Pentecost. This is always very close to the Nativity Fast. Why is the reading of this parable particularly apropos at this time of the year? There is a much deeper meaning to this parable than the external aspects of it. Think of the implications of the event that Nativity fast prepares us for. This parable displays those implications in a The wondrous and hidden way.


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 1

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external aspect of the parable of the Good Samaritan is a teaching concerning true charity. The inner meaning is a wonderful description of the ministry of Jesus Christ, and the effects of the incarnation on the state of man. At the time of year we read this parable, we are close to the Nativity Fast, which prepares us for the commemoration of the incarnation.


 

QUESTION 2

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The parable is the second response to the question of a lawyer. Their encounter began as follows:

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? {26} He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? {27} And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. {28} And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. (Luke 10:25-28)

  1. In this context, what is a "lawyer"?
  2. Why did the lawyer ask his question?
  3. The answer he gave quoted scripture. Which?
  4. What is peculiar about the answer of the lawyer? Does his answer indicate that he knew anything about Jesus and His teachings?

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 2

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A lawyer was a Jewish teacher, a so-called expert in the Law of Moses. The lawyer was one of many who asked questioned in order to trip up Jesus, in order to find some basis on which to judge him, and have Him done away with. The lawyer's answer to Jesus' question is remarkable, because he quotes two passages of scripture from separate books of the law, and in so doing, binds them as one, cohesive thought. The passages he quotes are from Deuteronomy and Leviticus:

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: {5} And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. {6} And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: {7} And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. {8} And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. {9} And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. " (Deu 6:4-9)

"Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the LORD. " (Lev 19:18)

The lawyer must have heard of Jesus teaching, and was repeating it.


 

QUESTION 3

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The Lawyer was not satisfied with this answer, and continued to interrogate Jesus, so Jesus began the parable:

And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. {29} But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor? {30} And Jesus answering said, A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. (Luke 10:28-30)

  1. What is the external answer the parable gives?
  2. Who does the "certain man" represent?
  3. What does the road from Jerusalem to Jericho represent? Take special not of the tense of the verb in the expression, "going down" (please note, the KJV and other mistranslate this text "went down".

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 3

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The parable Jesus relates answers the question "Who is my neighbor", and provides and elegant description of true charity. The deeper meaning and hidden teaching is given by the symbolism of the events and characters in the parable.

The "certain man" is Adam and al his descendants - all of mankind. This parable is describing man's condition and the means of his restoration. There is much to this tale, as our sickness is grave, and not healed easily or all at once.

the word "Jerusalem" is interpreted "Vision of peace", and has always indicated the heavenly state. The man was headed to Jericho, which is in the valley away from Jerusalem, and indicates, as Blessed Theophylact teaches, that he was traveling to: "a place sunk down low and suffocating with heat, that is, to life of passions". The tense of the verb is "going down", not "went" down". This trip, from Jerusalem to Jericho, then represents our fallen human nature, which is continuously going down towards a passionate life, if not for the mercy and help of God.


 

QUESTION 4

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"... A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. (Luke 10:30)

  1. What do the thieves represent?
  2. Explain how the man is stripped of his raiment. What does this mean?
  3. Why is the man left "half dead"? this has an important spiritual meaning.

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 4

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Demons


 

QUESTION 5

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"And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. {32} And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side." (Luke 10:31-32)

There are two interpretations to the actions of the priest and the Levite. One is immediately obvious, and is unfortunately the only meaning people assimilate. The other meaning is much more profound.

  1. What is the immediately apparent teaching because of the inaction and apparent unwillingness to help of the priest and the Levite?
  2. Let us explore the deeper meaning. What doe the priest and the Levite represent?
  3. Why did the things the priest and Levite represent "pass by"?
  4. there is yet more to know. The priest passed by on the other side, and the Levite at least came and looked upon the half dead man, although he also did nothing. Why is there a difference?

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 5

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Lack of charity Priest - the law Levite - the prophets


 

QUESTION 6

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" But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him ..."
(Luke 10:33)

Who is this "Samaritan"? What kind of emotional resonance would this name have among the Jews? What therefore is the meaning of the term "Samaritan" in this context?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 6

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The Samaritan is Jesus Christ.


 

QUESTION 7

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And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. (Luke 10:34)

So much of the profound meaning of the parable is present here in one short sentence!

  1. What does the Oil and wine represent? The Holy Fathers have at times seen three different, compatible meanings in the oil and the wine.
  2. What does the beast represent?
  3. what does the binding up the wounds represent?

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 7

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Oil - mercy


 

QUESTION 8

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And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. (Luke 10:34)

The inn is very significant. What does it represent? Why did the Samaritan take the man there?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 8

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Inn - the church.


 

QUESTION 9

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"And 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." (Luke 10:35)

  1. Various interpretations have been given concerning the two pence. Explain.
  2. "Who" is the innkeeper?

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 9

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Inkeeper - the clergy.


 

QUESTION 10

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"And 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." (Luke 10:35)

The Samaritan's instructions are a veiled reference to what?


 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER 10

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Second coming.


 





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