The lawyer asked who his neighbor was, and the Lord Jesus responded by asking who was the neighbor of the man who fell into the hands of the robbers. In other words, the lawyer was the one who had fallen into the hands of the robbers. The One who showed mercy to him was his neighbor. The neighbor does not refer to any man; it refers to the Savior. The Lord showed the lawyer that the neighbor is the Lord Himself. He said, "Go and do likewise." This means that the lawyer should do his best to love that Samaritan. Many people have turned this parable around. They think that the Lord wants them to be the Samaritan. They do not realize that they cannot go to the cross to forgive sins, and they cannot be lifted up to bring down the Holy Spirit. Only He has the wine and the oil. Only He has the beast, the inn, and the denarii. We are not the Samaritan. It would be totally wrong to ask the man who fell into the hands of the robbers to be the Samaritan. The neighbor whom the Lord referred to was the Samaritan. This means that the Lord came to be our Neighbor; He came to save us, to provide us with the beast, the wine, which signifies the life, the inn, which signifies the church, and the denarii, which signify the gifts and grace. These things He gives until He returns. When the Lord tells us to love the Samaritan, He is telling us to love Him.
This parable has always bothered me, because it is not clear who Jesus is asking us to be in the parable. It is nearly always interpreted to mean that we have to be the Samaritan. I read this interpretation from Watchman Nee and I almost need it to be right. God has the wine, the oil, the beast, the inn and the denarii. We cannot be God. We don't need to be God. He is the provider of riches, of relief, of salvation. Yes Lord, you be God. But please let me help where I can. Give me work to do for your kingdom. And let me be content to do the work you give me.
Hi Jenny - I think Nee's interpretaion is spot on. Besides if Jesus is our great 'Samaritan' then surely we must follow in his footsteps on a more practical level - which in a sense means we are also mini-samaritans.
Thanks Stephen. I need to walk with this one a while. I'm also asking myself - what does it mean when a passage is a little obscure, like this one? Also how is it that sometimes uncertain passages have become so significant - like the Good Samaritan and also the woman caught in adultery?
thanks for the referral. I got Nee's interpretation from his book How to study the Bible--he has more to say on the topic. I was afraid I was going to bore readers so I only put part of what he said.
I am glad it spoke to you. It spoke to me as well.
Thanks for the comment Becky. You have inspired me to go and look at some of Nee's books. I actually have one that I 'inherited', but have never opened!
that is nice to hear.
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