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Location: East Peoria, Illinois, United States

A Lutheran seminarian eagerly awaiting the return of Our Lord. Soli Deo Gloria!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Good Samaritan - For Susie :-)

Scripture Readings: Old Testament - 2 Kings 4:8-22, 32-37
New Testament - Ephesians 5:15-33
Psalms: Morning - 97
Evening - 16, 62

Icon of the Day (well, for yesterday seeing as it was their festival day): St. Zechariah and St. Elizabeth

The meaning of the Good Samaritan: Suzie Fink asked me to explain this parable in written form. I would appreciate any pastoral helps beyond what I put down :-). I used this parable to introduce the high school Sunday School to the concept of biblical interpretation from a Lutheran perspective which is what this years curriculum is. I started by asking the kids what the main point of the parable was. They said things like, "love your neighbor as yourself because it's what Jesus wants," or "we're all equal and so we should help one another." I told them that that is a point of the parable, btu it isn't the MAIN point. After explaining how many people, including Christians, take Christ's parables and make them law when in fact they are really about gospel. In fact, the Parable of the Good Samaritan when properly understood is my favorite illustration of the gospel.

Good Samaritan Parable: The Gospel according to St. Luke 10:25-37

This is in response to the question: "Teacher, what must I do to inherrit eternal life?" Answer: "Nothing you can do can save you...only Christ can."

The person on the road is all of you (or man in general). The road at the time was also called the "road of death." On the road, man is beset by all manner of thieves and muggers in the form of sin and Satan. We are left for dead and we are unable to help ourselves.

The first person to come along is a pharisee who was a teacher of the law. He realized that touching a dead man would make him unclean...so he went on. This shows that the law cannot help us, it can only point out that we are dead.

The second person to come along is the Levite who was a member of the priestly tribe. He also realized that touching a dead man would make him unclean....so he went on. This shows that the OT sacrifices were not sufficient to save us.

Both precede the Good Samaritan, who is Christ. Christ was rejected by those he came to save and thus they looked down on Him as though He were different from them. Christ takes us from the road of death to the inn, which is the church (and the man who was left for dead does not help at all). He gives the inkeeper two silver coins and says that He will take care of anything the person needs when He returns. These two silver coins are most likely Holy Baptism and Holy Communion....the institutions of Christ for His church which give grace to a person which, when not rejected, give them faith to have Christ's payment save them.

In short: The parable is that Christ has come to save those of us who are helpless once the law and the sacrifices are shown to be worthless with regard to saving us apart from Christ, and He entrusts us to the church which has the means to keep us in fellowship with the church by faith.

I hope this helps Suzie :-).

2 Comments:

Anonymous Yak and Yeti said...

Chris,

Your reading requires some nuance, since the direct question Jesus was answering with the parable was, "Who is my neighbor?" Most likely, the meaning that was taken away by the lawyer who asked this question was that anyone who needed him was his neighbor, which is close to what your kids were saying (reading past the layers of both their young age and our over-tolerant age).

But what you've described fits beautifully with Jesus overall message, seen through the lens of the cross. Sounds a lot like what Origen wrote about this, I believe, although I think he said the two coins were the Father and the Son. That quibble doesn't detract from your good exegesis.

7:04 PM  
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2:51 PM  

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