The Parable of the Good Samaritan
A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. “Look after him,” he said, “and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”
Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? -- Luke 10:30-36
Christ told this parable in response to a question asked by an expert in the law, a man who asked the question, not to learn but to test the Lord, hoping to trip him up.
“Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”; and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” -- Luke 10:25-29
The Parable of the Good Samaritan was Christ’s response. Knowing the condition of the man’s heart, Jesus resolved to convict him from his own mouth, as he did with other people in other parables.
The condition of the traveler
- Traveling a distance of only about 16 miles, but through dangerous territory