Another important characteristic of the passersby is that the first two include high ranking members of the Jewish community. If the person lying by the side of the road were beaten and were truly dead, the Pharisee and the Levite would have been forbidden to touch the body (Gourges, 883). This allowed Jesus to make the point that the upper class would not break tradition, even if it meant a man's life. The commandment given by Jesus in the end was a double commandment, typical of Rabbinical teachings of the time (Fitsmeyer, p. 879). Jesus commands that the audience be good their neighbor and to love their enemy. This further helps to further the argument that the parable was a cry out against the established norms of the time. By using these references, Jesus extends the use of the word "neighbor" beyond the context found in other places in the Bible.
The phrase "love they neighbor" can be found in other sections of text such as Leviticus 19: 17-18, and Matthew 5: 42. In both cases the context of the phrase do not change from that presented in Luke 10. In relation to the rest of the scripture, this phrase is one of the most important commandments. It implores the Israelites to extend a hand to their neighbors and to examine their relationship with them.
The theological importance of the parable of the good Samaritan is that it attempts to mend the relationships among various groups that existed at the time. In this parable, Jesus challenges the principles and power of the Pharisees and Levites. He points out their impropriety and selfishness,...
The key issues raised in commentaries about this passage stem from the inability to define the word "neighbor." There are some who feel that Jesus was strictly referring to the Israelites. However, as one begins to examine the issues surrounding the characters, the definition of "neighbor" becomes more difficult to define.
The true meaning behind the parable of the Good Samaritan lies in the complexities of the relationships between the characters. These nuances would have been clearly understood by Jesus' audience at the time. However, modern readers have to delve into the politics of the region and time in order to understand the meaning of these relationships. It is apparent that Jesus' primary audience consists of those that were standing around listening to the lawyer and his questions. However, it later becomes clear that Jesus meant for his message to be spread beyond the local audience to the general population.
The parable of the good Samaritan teaches us that we are all the same. It teaches that differences are only skin deep and that we all must depend on our brethren for survival. In this parable, Jesus makes an obvious insult to the Pharisees and Levites, who felt more highly of their piousness than of their fellow man. This parable is an excellent example of the type of actions that could end all conflict.
Bock, D. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Luke Volume II. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996.
Esler, P. Conflict: The Parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus and the Reduction of Intergroup in the Light of Social Identity Theory. Biblical Interpretation. October, 2000. Vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 325-357.
Fitzmeyer, J. The Anchor Bible: The Gospel According to Luke (X-XXIV). Garden City, NY: Doubleday. 1985.
Gourges, M. The Priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan Revisited: A Critical Note on Luke 10:31-35. Journal of Biblical Literature. Vol. 117. no. 4. pp. 709-713.
Go and study'" (2000, 733). These observations suggest that while it may be possible to interpret the Parable of the Good Samaritan in different ways, there can be no misunderstanding the basic message that is being communicated. Like the Lukan and Markan versions, Leviticus 19:18 also requires everyone to not only refrain from acts that would harm others, but to come to their assistance when they are in need, but
" few moments later, a social service volunteer hastened down the sidewalk. When he saw the young man, he paused for a moment and shook his head. I'm really trying to rid this city of people like you," he said, shaking his head. "Sleeping in the streets shouldn't be an option. I wish there was something I could do, but I'm late to help society." Finally, as a wealthy businessman driving down
Religion Vocabulary, Christianity: citing your sources: • Gospel -- pertains to one of the first four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), or refers more generally to the life and teachings of Jesus (Babylon) • parable -- a "symbolic story" that teaches a moral or religious lesson (Babylon) • baptism -- initiation into Christianity via ritual submergence in water (Babylon) • trinity -- group of three; in Christianity, referring particularly to
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