In the gospel of Luke, Chapter 10, Jesus delivers the parable of the Good Samaritan. This is one of the most famous parables, and therefore, you might think it is one of the most well known. However, I would like to show it to you in a way you’ve probably never seen it before.
In most all of Jesus’s parables, things stand for other things. In Matthew 13, Jesus explains the parable of the Sower, and each part of the story is an analogy to different things in real life. It is quite detailed. Even the sun and its heat represents something. Why shouldn’t we believe the same thing about the other parables of Jesus? Therefore, regarding the parable of the Good Samaritan, let’s ask the following questions:
- Why Jerusalem?
- Why Jericho?
- Why is the man “stripped” and beaten?
- Why is the man “half-dead”?
- Who is the priest?
- Who is the Levite?
- Why do the priest and the Levite pass “by chance”?
- Who is the Samaritan?
- What is “the inn”?
- Why does the Samaritan pay “two denarii”?
- Why does the Samaritan say he is going to come back?
Now, I’m sure there are many answers to these questions, but I have never seen the answers that I will give, so I will spend the time to share them. Feel free to add these explanations to your understanding of this VERY IMPORTANT parable.
The Analogy Within the Parable of the Good Samaritan
The full text of the Parable of the good Samaritan is as follows:
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Now, most people read this, and think it is a story about who our neighbor is. And at the end of the story, we realize that our neighbor is the person who helps us out when we are in trouble, so that’s who we should love as oursel– wait a minute, that doesn’t sound right. I mean: The Parable of the Good Samaritan is a story that tells us that Samaritans aren’t bad people, even though Jesus says in different place that Samaritans are not correct in their worship and that salvation comes through the Jews– wait a minute, that doesn’t sound right either. Or… the parable of the Good Samaritan is a story about people who you wouldn’t expect being the people who help you? Man, this is rather confusing. What is going on in this passage?
Well, I’m here to tell you. Now, I know this is going to sound a little crazy, but by the end of the post, I think you’ll see that it’s completely true. So here it goes:
THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN IS AN ANALOGY OF THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD AND JESUS’S WORK OF SALVATION, STRETCHING FROM THE FALL OF ADAM AND EVE TO THE RETURN OF CHRIST
…including instructions on what to do in light of that salvation.
And no, I’m not joking or speaking in hyperbole. This parable is ridiculously sly, and every word is chosen on purpose. So let’s get started.
Jerusalem, Jericho, and the Garden of Eden
In the story, we read:
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho…”
So, here’s a question: Why does Jesus say it’s the road from Jerusalem to Jericho? Why not Jerusalem to Emmaus? Why not Jerusalem to Samaria? Why is it important that Jesus names “Jericho”? Is this random?
No. Jesus is NEVER random. Jesus is way to smart to be random. There is an answer, and the answer is in Genesis. The path of the man mirrors the path of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. No, seriously. Stay with me here. This is quite an explicit analogy.
In most sermons, you will see it noticed that the man “was going down” from Jerusalem to Jericho, with the emphasis on “DOWN.” And this has geographical truth to it. Jerusalem is on a mountain, Mount Zion, and Jericho is an oasis in the valley of the Dead Sea. Jerusalem is 2,575 feet above sea level. Jericho is 846 feet below sea level. It’s quite a change. So yes, the motion of “down” is important.
However, the direction is also important. We should notice that the man is going EAST. Why is this important? Well, look at what we read in Genesis. This is where things start to get weird:
hen the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
The cherubim is at the east of the garden of Eden. That guards the way back to the tree of life, which is in the garden of Eden. This means that Adam and Even went EAST when they were driven out of the garden of Eden. Fair enough, but we’re not done.
What most people do not realize is that the garden of Eden was not merely a garden. It was A MOUNTAIN. Whaaat? Yes. The garden of Eden was a mountain. It was the mountain where God met with humanity. The Bible Project did a video that briefly mentioned this fact. You can see it at about the 1 minute mark:
If we use the Bible Project’s visualization, we can see how this worked.
But there is proof of that in the scripture, too. Notice what the Bible says about Eden in Ezekiel. Eden as a mountain is explicitly mentioned in the Bible. Note what we read in the book of Ezekiel. Here, there is a prophecy against the king of Tyre, and the author equates the king of Tyre with the serpent himself in the garden:
You were in Eden, the garden of God;
every precious stone was your covering,
sardius, topaz, and diamond,
beryl, onyx, and jasper,
sapphire, emerald, and carbuncle;
and crafted in gold were your settings
and your engravings.
On the day that you were created
they were prepared.
You were an anointed guardian cherub.
I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God;
in the midst of the stones of fire you walked.
You were blameless in your ways
from the day you were created,
till unrighteousness was found in you.
In the abundance of your trade
you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned;
so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God,
and I destroyed you, O guardian cherub,
from the midst of the stones of fire.
Yep. Eden is a mountain. It is a place where the presence of God was. And so when Adam and Eve went out of the Garden, they not only went East, they also went DOWN.
The Importance of Jerusalem
They also went East, and this idea is clearly demonstrated in the layout of the Tabernacle, as well. Notice the dimensions of the Tabernacle, and notice where the door is:
And he made the court. For the south side the hangings of the court were of fine twined linen, a hundred cubits; their twenty pillars and their twenty bases were of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. And for the north side there were hangings of a hundred cubits; their twenty pillars and their twenty bases were of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. And for the west side were hangings of fifty cubits, their ten pillars, and their ten bases; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. And for the front to the east, fifty cubits. (Exodus 38:9-13)
But that’s not all. Notice that the man from Jerusalem to Jericho. What is important about Jerusalem? Well, the Temple of God is there, which is the building that holds the tabernacle. That is God’s presence! The Eastward face of the tabernacle was mirrored in the construction of the temple, as well, which we know to have been the case in Herod’s Temple in the time of Jesus:
Just as Adam and Even left the mountain of the Garden of Eden and when “down” and “East,” that is the same direction as the man in Jesus’s story.
The Importance of “Jericho.”
But why “Jericho”? Why not some other random place in the Dead Sea Valley? Well, the first obvious thing to notice about Jericho is the obvious one. It is famous for its wall. However, that wall fell down sometime around the 1400s BC. That was a long time before Jesus was talking, but it will be relevant later.
In the meantime, we should recognize that around Jesus’s time, Jericho was a RICH place. We know it was rich, because in the days of Herod the Great, just before the birth of Jesus, Herod and Cleopatra of Egypt are always fighting over who gets tribute from the city of Jericho. Cleopatra, with her super-powers of being super smart, super attractive, super charismatic, and sleeping with every super-powerful Roman that ever stepped foot in Egypt, had gained the right to get tribute from Jericho. Notice what Josephus says about this contest:
Now at this time the affairs of Syria were in confusion by Cleopatra’s constant persuasions to Antony to make an attempt upon every body’s dominions; for she persuaded him to take those dominions away from their several princes, and bestow them upon her; and she had a mighty influence upon him, by reason of his being enslaved to her by his affections. She was also by nature very covetous, and stuck at no wickedness. . . . As for Antony, he was so entirely overcome by this woman, that one would not think her conversation only could do it, but that he was some way or other bewitched to do whatsoever she would have him; yet did the grossest parts of her injustice make him so ashamed, that he would not always hearken to her to do those flagrant enormities she would have persuaded him to. That therefore he might not totally deny her, nor, by doing every thing which she enjoined him, appear openly to be an ill man, he took some parts of each of those countries away from their former governors, and gave them to her. Thus he gave her the cities that were within the river Eleutherus, as far as Egypt, excepting Tyre and Sidon, which he knew to have been free cities from their ancestors, although she pressed him very often to bestow those on her also.
When Cleopatra had obtained thus much, and had accompanied Antony in his expedition to Armenia as far as Euphrates, she returned back, and came to Apamia and Damascus, and passed on to Judea, where Herod met her, and farmed of her parts of Arabia, and those revenues that came to her from the region about Jericho. This country bears that balsam, which is the most precious drug that is there, and grows there alone. The place bears also palm trees, both many in number, and those excellent in their kind. When she was there, and was very often with Herod, she endeavored to have criminal conversation with the king; nor did she affect secrecy in the indulgence of such sort of pleasures; and perhaps she had in some measure a passion of love to him; or rather, what is most probable, she laid a treacherous snare for him, by aiming to obtain such adulterous conversation from him (Josephus, Antiquities, 15.4.1-2)
But finally, this is another important thing about Jericho. It is also famous for DEATH. We should remember that Joshua defeated Jericho by the assistance of the Lord. They marched around the city every day for seven days. Then, on the seventh, a loud shout and a blast of trumpets, the walls came down. Then Joshua said this:
Joshua laid an oath on them at that time, saying, “Cursed before the Lord be the man who rises up and rebuilds this city, Jericho.
“At the cost of his firstborn shall he
lay its foundation,
and at the cost of his youngest son
shall he set up its gates.”
So the Lord was with Joshua, and his fame was in all the land.
And this wasn’t idle talk. Because during the reign of King Ahab, son of Omri, which was over 400 years later, the following happened:
In his days Hiel of Bethel built Jericho. He laid its foundation at the cost of Abiram his firstborn, and set up its gates at the cost of his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke by Joshua the son of Nun. (1 Kings 16:34)
So, let’s get something clear from this about Jericho:
- It is associated with A WALL AND GATES THAT FELL DOWN.
- It is a RICH place.
- It is associated with DEATH.
- And for whatever reason, God has SERIOUS BEEF with this city.
This will be important later, but for now, let’s just recognize that the man who was traveling was going from Jerusalem, where God is present with his people, TO Jericho, a city that is rich, founded and finished through death, has walls and gates, and a city with which God has a serious long-running problem.
Who Are the Robbers?
For most people, the robbers are not very important. The robbers rob. That’s what they do. However, this is where things get weird. Things are about to get “spiritual” and “supernatural.” The robbers are Satan and his minions.
While that may sound far-fetched, let me draw your attention to the context of the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Look what happens just before in the gospel of Luke:
After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town.
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable in the judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You shall be brought down to Hades.
“The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”
This is a rather strange place to put this parable about helping a random person in need. Notice what gets mentioned in this chapter:
- Military-like commands.
- Orders to lay low
- A strange and unclear ability to distribute and remove “peace”
- Instructions to proclaim that “the Kingdom of God” has come near
- Proclamations of divine judgment on entire cities.
- Explicit parallel of Jesus to God the Father
- Demons and spirits being subject to the instructions of Jesus
- A prayer of thanksgiving that Jesus is doing the father’s will.
- A private proclamation to his disciples that what they are seeing is something that prophets and kings have desired to see, but did not see it.
Yes, this is weird. We get a lot of stuff around the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke that is not “mundane” and “normal.” The context is COSMIC and SPIRITUAL. We get information about DEMONS.
This reference to the spiritual realm might be weird, but if you’re confused, I have an entire post on what “spirits” mean, which you can read here if you’d like. The “spiritual” realm is both more normal and broad than you would think. Many “real” things in our world would be considered “spiritual” by ancients. To summarize me post, I’ll just tell you that in scripture, the Hebrew and Greek words for “spirit” are the same words used to describe a “wind.” Everything from supernatural beings, emotions, technical metalworking skills, and actual breezes all fall under the ancient category of “Spirit.” Therefore, a spirit is an invisible cause that has an effect on the visible world. That’s all it is. Therefore, a “demon” would be a bad version of these things.
What is so important about the spiritual realm in the parable of the good Samaritan? To understand this, we need to understand the way that ancient Hebrews used to explain what is WRONG with the world. Modern evangelicals will say “the fall.” And that’s true. But it’s more than that. Take notice what an ancient and widely-quoted book called the “Book of Enoch” says about what is wrong with the world. (Note that the book of Jude quotes the Book of Enoch):
And Azazel taught men to make swords, and knives, and shields, and breastplates, and made known to them the metals of the earth and the art of working them, and bracelets, and ornaments, and the use of antimony, and the beautifying of the eyelids, and all kinds of costly stones, and all colouring tinctures. And there arose much godlessness, and they committed fornication, and they were led astray, and became corrupt in all their ways. Semjaza taught enchantments, and root-cuttings, ‘Armaros the resolving of enchantments, Baraqijal (taught) astrology, Kokabel the constellations, Ezeqeel the knowledge of the clouds, Araqiel the signs of the earth, Shamsiel the signs of the sun, and Sariel the course of the moon. And as men perished, they cried, and their cry went up to heaven
And then Michael, Uriel, Raphael, and Gabriel looked down from heaven and saw much blood being shed upon the earth, and all lawlessness being wrought upon the earth. And they said one to another: ‘The earth made without inhabitant cries the voice of their cryingst up to the gates of heaven. And now to you, the holy ones of heaven, the souls of men make their suit, saying, “Bring our cause before the Most High.”‘ And they said to the Lord of the ages: ‘Lord of lords, God of gods, King of kings, and God of the ages, the throne of Thy glory (standeth) unto all the generations of the ages, and Thy name holy and glorious and blessed unto all the ages! Thou hast made all things, and power over all things hast Thou: and all things are naked and open in Thy sight, and Thou seest all things, and nothing can hide itself from Thee. Thou seest what Azazel hath done, who hath taught all unrighteousness on earth and revealed the eternal secrets which were (preserved) in heaven, which men were striving to learn: And Semjaza, to whom Thou hast given authority to bear rule over his associates. And they have gone to the daughters of men upon the earth, and have slept with the women, and have defiled themselves, and revealed to them all kinds of sins. And the women have borne giants, and the whole earth has thereby been filled with blood and unrighteousness. And now, behold, the souls of those who have died are crying and making their suit to the gates of heaven, and their lamentations have ascended: and cannot cease because of the lawless deeds which are wrought on the earth. And Thou knowest all things before they come to pass, and Thou seest these things and Thou dost suffer them, and Thou dost not say to us what we are to do to them in regard to these.’ (1 Enoch 8-9)
So this is the funny thing about the Jewish mind in the first century, when Jesus was preaching. Did the fall happen? Yes, of course. But the fall was just the expulsion from Eden in Genesis 3. In Genesis 4-6, we get the second stage of bad things happening. These bad things happen because of other heavenly creatures. As it says in Genesis:
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:1-5)
So here’s something that most evangelical Christians miss these days. Was the fall of Genesis 3 the entrance of sin into the world? Yes, definitely so. However, that wasn’t the end of the matter. Notice what Jesus also says in another parable, the Parable of the Weeds:
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”
Notice how much this parable of the Weeds parallels to what we read in the Book of Enoch about heavenly beings corrupting mankind and how the angels of heaven went (“the servants of the master of the house came”) and said “Thou seest these things and Thou dost suffer them, and Thou dost not say to us what we are to do to them in regard to these.” (“How then does it have weeds?” . . . “Then do you want us to go gather them?”) The reason we’re not picking up on this is because we don’t normally read the book of Enoch which has an incredibly supernatural outlook.
The point I want you to realize is that this same “incredibly supernatural outlook” is in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
So who are the “robbers” in the parable of the Good Samaritan? That would be Satan and the entire host of the demonic minions plaguing the earth by feeding and fostering their wrongful desires.
Adam and Eve and their progeny aren’t just “wanderers” on the Earth after they left Eden. They were ROBBED. In the first century Jewish mind, the evil influence of the spiritual realm continued after the fall. Those are the robbers.
Why Was He “Stripped”?
So think of how this relates to the Parable of the Good Samaritan:
“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho” — Man was driven out of the garden, separated from the tree of life.
“and he fell among robbers” — and the serpent, that is Satan, the devil (see Revelation 20:2), continued to torment them after they left
This leads us to the next portion of the story, which might be obvious to you if you know your Genesis:
“and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed”
What is the significance of this? Take a look:
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked?
The first thing that happens to Adam and Eve when they sin is that they find themselves NAKED. That is the parallel to the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Are you starting to notice the outline of this character?
Why Was He “Half Dead”
This next one is my favorite.
and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.
What is the significance of “half dead”? Well, what we must remember is that THIS IS THE STATE OF ALL MANKIND according to the scriptures.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
But this idea of “half dead” is a very technical thing. How techinical? Well, I’ll give you an idea by quoting Jesus:
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)
In scripture, there is a TWO-PART aspect to death. This is why in the epistle of Jude, we find this strange insult of people who reject Christ and live in rebellion to him:
Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam’s error and perished in Korah’s rebellion. These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. (Jude 1:11-13)
Twice dead? What does that mean? Well, it means that there are two ways to die. Notice that the Bible considers there to be two different realms. The spiritual realm, and the realm of this world. Notice also that the Bible considers humankind to be DEAD in their sin:
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
But if we are “dead” in our sin, how can we be walking around doing our thing like normal? Well, there is a worker of miracles who said something about that:
That is why the resurrection that Jesus brings is so important. It is not the “resurrection on the last day” which is the resurrection of the soul. Jesus came to bring the resurrection of the spirit of men.
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Notice that Martha is concerned about the “resurrection on the last day.” This is definitely a thing, but Jesus informs her that she is missing a resurrection in her understanding of the history of the entire cosmos. Notice the Revelation talks about this two-part resurrection, too:
Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:7-10)
This is what Jesus is talking about when he talks to Nicodemus about the need to be “born again” which also means “born from above”:
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again [footnote: Or from above; the Greek is purposely ambiguous and can mean both again and from above] he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
Let’s go back to our helpful picture of the overlapping Heaven and Earth, and see what this means for us:
So here is the crazy thing to realize. As far a God sees it, everyone who is apart from God is HALF-DEAD. We’re walking around, and we think we’re alive, but that’s not what is really important. In order to see the Kingdom of Heaven, we have to be “born again.”
So let’s get something clear, if you believe in Christ and trust in his work, then you have been through the “first resurrection,” which the resurrection of your spirit. Though your spirit was dead in sin, it is now alive in Christ. If someone does not believe in Christ, then his spirit has not been raised. However, if he is walking around like a normal person, then as far as God and Scripture is concerned, then he is HALF DEAD.
That is why Jesus doesn’t say “really hurt.” That is why Jesus doesn’t say “injured.” That is why Jesus doesn’t say “knocked out” or “asleep.” He uses the Greek word ἡμιθανῆ (hēmithanē). It’s the only time the word appears in the New Testament. It combines the Greek word “hemi” (like “hemisphere”) meaning “half” and “thnéskó” meaning “to die.”
The man is “half dead,” just like us.
Next, we run into the Priest and the Levite:
Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
This is where Jesus gets a little sarcastic, too. Notice that the priest is ALSO going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. But why a priest? Well, remember what the entire purpose of priests were. The priests were supposed to be the intermediaries between God and mankind. Note what God says to Moses in Exodus:
The Lord called to him out of the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” (Exodus 19:3-6)
And more specifically, we can see that the “priesthood” is not just Israel in general, but a very specific subset of the people of Israel, the sons of Aaron:
and you shall gird Aaron and his sons with sashes and bind caps on them. And the priesthood shall be theirs by a statute forever. Thus you shall ordain Aaron and his sons. The holy garments of Aaron shall be for his sons after him; they shall be anointed in them and ordained in them. The son who succeeds him as priest, who comes into the tent of meeting to minister in the Holy Place, shall wear them seven days. (Exodus 29:9, 29-30)
This part of the parable is a stand-in for the law of God and the nation of Israel under the first temple period. They offered sacrifices before the presence of the Lord in the temple. But something changed. The temple was destroyed. Israel went into exile. And yes, they came back, and yes, they rebuilt the temple, but the ark never returned. In fact, that’s why we get the following description of the inside of the Holy of Holies when Pompey went inside the temple to look around:
“The first Roman to subdue the Jews and set foot in their temple by right of conquest was Gnaeus Pompey; thereafter it was a matter of common knowledge that there were no representations of the gods within, but that the place was empty and the secret shrine contained nothing.” (Tacitus, Histories 5.9.1)
Since the function of a priest is to be an intermediary between God and his people, we can see a clear thematic divide from the destruction of the first temple and afterwards. In fact, the book of Ezekiel is quite explicit on this point. Ezekiel 10 is a description of the glory of the Lord LEAVING the temple.
And therefore notice the sarcasm of the Priest coming down the same way as the man BY CHANCE. God didn’t set up his priesthood on the Earth BY CHANCE! Remember what he said:
‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.
We may feel anger and disdain that a Priest who passed this half-dead man by chance. Imagine what God feels when he sent the priest for the express purpose of tending to the man.
Now, all priests are Levites, as the priests before God were the sons of Aaron, and Aaron and Moses were from the tribe of Levi. (See Exodus 2:1), but not all Levites are priests. The Levites stands for the place in Israel’s history when Israel became very devoted to the Law. They threw off their idolatry, and became very, VERY devoted to understanding the words of scripture. You can read about it in the book of Ezra:
Now after this, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah, son of Shallum, son of Zadok, son of Ahitub, son of Amariah, son of Azariah, son of Meraioth, son of Zerahiah, son of Uzzi, son of Bukki, son of Abishua, son of Phinehas, son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the chief priest— this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him.
And there went up also to Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king, some of the people of Israel, and some of the priests and Levites, the singers and gatekeepers, and the temple servants. And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.
However, even with all of that learning, they still didn’t pick up on Jesus.
Speaking of Jesus….
You might think that YOU are the Samaritan when you help people in need. Well, that’s a nice life goal, but here is the thing. You are not the Samaritan. But someone in the story IS a Samaritan. It’s Jesus. Like, it is quite explicit that Jesus is the Samaritan.
Let’s review the evidence.
Contrast Within the Story
One thing that we get from the story is that the Samaritan is not a Levite and he is not a Priest. However, these qualities are also associated with Jesus. Now, Jesus IS a priest in a sense, but he is NOT a priest of the old order, which is the type of Priest that appears in the story. The book of Hebrews makes this quite explicit when it talks about the type of priesthood that Jesus embodies.
Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. (Hebrews 7:11-14)
Therefore, in this sense, the Samaritan is being contrasted with the Priest and the Levite, because in reality, Jesus is not a descendant of Aaron, and he is not a Levite. That’s one thing that matches up.
Geography of “Samaritans” and Jesus
First, Jesus in the gospels is always called “Jesus of Nazareth.” But there’s something important about this geography. Jesus, by being from Nazareth, is ALMOST a Samaritan from Samaria. Take a look:
Samaria was that big spot of land between Galilee and Judaea. Jesus is literally on the Jewish border of the otherwise Samaritan part of the country. And even being from the “Jewish” part of the region, he is still considered from a good-for-nothing part of Israel:
The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
Samaritans’ Association with Non-Jews
The next thing we need to realize is that the Samaritans had a close association with things that were definitely non-Jewish. Except for the first five books of the Old Testament, they saw none of the other writings and authoritative. Josephus describes in Antiquities “How The Samaritans Followed The Customs Of The Greeks” (Josephus, Antiquities, 12.5.1) In an analogous way, the Jews were worried that Jesus might stop teaching the Jews — even though the Jews didn’t like what Jesus was teaching — and go teach… …THE GREEKS:
The Pharisees heard the crowd muttering these things about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him. Jesus then said, “I will be with you a little longer, and then I am going to him who sent me. You will seek me and you will not find me. Where I am you cannot come.” The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks? What does he mean by saying, ‘You will seek me and you will not find me,’ and, ‘Where I am you cannot come’?” (John 7:32-36)
In this sense, Jesus has a lot of the baggage that the Jews equated with the Samaritans.
Jews Hate Samaritans. Jews Called Jesus a Samaritan. Jews Hate Jesus.
One thing that it is easy to see in the scriptures is that the Jews hate the Samaritans. Notice what the Samaritan woman at the well says to Jesus:
The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. (John 4:9)
However, we should also remember that Jesus was already called a Samaritan by the Jews as an insult. In the gospel of John, we read this:
“Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”
Another thing to notice is that the Jews also do not like Jesus, and through their aggressive violence towards him, have decided that they will not have any dealings with him. They drive him out of the region of the Jews. And look where he goes:
Jesus therefore no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there to the region near the wilderness, to a town called Ephraim, and there he stayed with the disciples. (John 11:54)
Now, we do not know where the town called Ephraim is. But if we notice that the town called Samaria was in the region of Samaria, we can make an educated guess about where the town of Ephraim is based on the location of the land for the tribe of Ephraim:
Here’s why this is so interesting: “The town of Ephraim” is probably IN THE REGION OF SAMARIA.
Jesus is the Good Samaritan. Isn’t that crazy?
Jesus’s “Wrong Answer” In Context
There is something else I’d like to notice, which few people feel the courage to notice, because the subject is about Jesus’s words. The lawyer in this story is asking a question about obtaining eternal life. He’s asking about escaping judgment. He’s asking about salvation. Notice the back and forth:
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
Here’s the weird thing, people. If we are going by the definitions we preach and give to people today about what you must do to be saved, JESUS GAVE HIM THE WRONG ANSWER.
Think about it. See if this idea matches up to your church’s statement of faith. Someone asks Jesus:
“What must I do to be saved?”
And Jesus answers:
“Love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, AND love your neighbor as yourself. If you do these things, then you will live. If you don’t, then you won’t inherit eternal life.”
Does that sound right? Or does that sound like a works-based righteousness? Doesn’t that sound like Jesus is telling this man that he must DO things in order to inherit eternal life? Not only this, look at the different answer we get later in the Bible:
And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God. (Acts 16:29-34)
Likewise, look at the 1689 Baptist Confession of faith on this matter:
Those whom God effectually calls, he also freely justifies, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing Christ’s active obedience unto the whole law, and passive obedience in his death for their whole and sole righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God. (1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 11, On Justification)
Additionally, why does Jesus point him to the law? Don’t we read later in the Bible that the Law has no power to save? In Romans, we read this:
Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:19-26)
So if the Bible says that we are justified by faith, why does Jesus point this man to the Law? In other words: WHY DOES JESUS GIVE HIM THE WRONG ANSWER?
The answer is quite quirky, and when you think about it, you can see just how sly Jesus is. Notice the following two scenarios.
In this scenario, the idea of “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength — as a matter of geography and context — IS EXACTLY THE SAME SAME COMMAND as “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Also, since we know that:
“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:7)
This also just happens to be the only situation in which “Love your neighbor as yourself” just happens to be the exact same instruction as “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” This is not an instruction that can be correctly given in any situation like this:
In the context of the Good Samaritan Parable, Jesus was standing right in front of the man, and that is THE ONLY REASON that his answer about loving God and his neighbor could be considered correct when it comes to inheriting eternal life. That’s why the next verse in the passage is so important:
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
No, no, dude! That doesn’t happen! You can’t “justify yourself”!!! Read your 1869 Baptist Confession of Faith, why don’t you!
What is the Significance of “Journeyed” and “Compassion”?
Here’s another interesting issue that shows Jesus is the Good Samaritan. We read:
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.
We note that the Samaritan is the only one who is said to be on a “journey.” This is really significant. The entire story in Greek is being told in the past tense. The description of the journey of the man from Jerusalem to Jericho, and the description of the Priest and Levite who “passed by on the other side of the road” are in the Greek Aorist tense. That is the basic Koine Greek PAST TENSE.
But when it comes to the Samaritan, the tense of the story changes. Jesus uses the Greek word in ὁδεύων (hodeuōn). It means “journeying,” but it is PRESENT participle active, nominative masculine singular. This is the only part of the story that is in the present tense. The Journey of the Samaritan — on the same road from Jerusalem to Jericho — is described in the present tense. Failure of the priest and the Levite? That’s past tense. Isn’t that strange?
However, think of it in this context, when Isaiah speaks about the righteous servant:
Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
Thus says God, the Lord,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
“I am the Lord; I have called you in righteousness;
I will take you by the hand and keep you;
I will give you as a covenant for the people,
a light for the nations,
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth
I tell you of them.”
(Isaiah 42:1,5-6, 9)
We should also note that the Samaritan “had compassion.” That is the Greek word σπλαγχνίζομαι (splagchnizomai). Here is the interesting thing. It appears 12 times in the New Testament, and IT ONLY IS USED TO DESCRIBE GOD (or characters equated with God in the parables of Jesus).
Jesus is quite explicitly describing himself, his feelings, and his mission in the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Jesus is the Good Samaritan.
What is the Significance of the Inn?
Now, after the Samaritan picks up the man, we read this:
He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
That word “inn” is the Greek word πανδοχεῖον (pandocheion). It is only used once in the entire new testament. When we read in the gospel of Luke that there was “no room for them in the inn” when it comes to Mary and Joseph, that is a different word, the Greek word κατάλυμα (kataluma), which means “guest room” or probably more generally “the place in a building where you live” as opposed to a place like “the attic” or “the garage” or (in first-century Judea) “the stable.” Here, Jesus uses a very unique word to communicate “a public lodging place for the receipt of strangers.”
This is strange. What is this “inn”? What does it mean? What does it represent? Well, the answer is quite simple, especially when we realize that the Samaritan does not take the man back to Jerusalem.
THE INN IS THE CHURCH.
If you are not sold about the inn being the church, let me add one more detail, which is the icing on the cake.
What is the Significance of the Two Denarii?
Notice what the Samaritan does after he has brought the man to the inn:
And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
This is rather odd. Why is the Samaritan going to “come back”? This adds literally nothing to the story. However, it makes a lot of sense whenever you realize that Jesus is the Samaritan. That’s because JESUS IS GOING TO COME BACK. He did his work, he rose into heaven. However, he is not going to stay there. Additionally, we know that whatever good works we do here on Earth, he will pay us back for it. he said so himself:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.(Matthew 6:19-21)
As it relates to the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus is telling the innkeeper, “Trust me, my ability to pay you back for what you spend is much more secure whatever you hide under the mattress.”
And here is where we need to cover something even stranger. Why does the Samaritan give two denarii? Well, this also has significance in the Bible. I want to show you where. It comes in Exodus, where God is giving instructions on how to set up the tabernacle and not get punished for approaching god wrongly:
The Lord said to Moses, “When you take the census of the people of Israel, then each shall give a ransom for his life to the Lord when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them. Each one who is numbered in the census shall give this: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as an offering to the Lord. Everyone who is numbered in the census, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the Lord’s offering. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less, than the half shekel, when you give the Lord’s offering to make atonement for your lives. You shall take the atonement money from the people of Israel and shall give it for the service of the tent of meeting, that it may bring the people of Israel to remembrance before the Lord, so as to make atonement for your lives.”
Now, a shekel is a unit of weight, just like twenty gerahs is a shekels. A talent is also unit of weight, a more “modern” unit in Jesus’s time, and one hundred denarii is a talent. But here’s the kicker:
In other words, the Samaritan… …that is JESUS… paid “the atonement money” so as to “make atonement for your lives.”
One More Think About Jericho….
Finally, we mentioned that Jericho was a place that God had serious beef with, for whatever reason. I’d like to make the point that Jericho stands in for Hell. For instance, notice what Joshua sees when he is about to attack Jericho:
When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so. (Joshua 5:13-15)
There is something here that is strange. Joshua falls on his face and worships the “commander of the army of the Lord.” To see why this is weird, look at what we see when someone else in the Bible tries to worship an angel:
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God.” For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:9-10)
I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, 9 but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” (Revelation 22:8-9)
But the commander of the armies of the Lord does not balk at being worshiped. Instead, he ups the ante and tells Joshua to take off his sandals because the place where he is standing is holy. This is precisely what the Lord told Moses to do in Exodus when he saw the Lord in the burning bush. This is a big deal. So guys, understand what is happening here:
JESUS IS THE COMMANDER OF THE ARMIES OF THE LORD
It’s equally explicit in Revelation:
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. (Revelation 19:11-16)
Guys…. …do you remember what happened at Jericho? How did the walls fall down? There was a great shout, and from “the sword that came from their mouth,” the walls fell down.
Additionally, let’s remember what Jesus say to Peter about what he is going to do to Hell with his church:
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. (Matthew 16:14-20)
We should note that “gates” are defensive works in a war. We should note that Jericho’s might was not in its army, it was in its walls and gates. Additionally, we should note that “church” is not a building. It is an “assembly.” In other words, it is an ARMY. Jesus is saying that the FORTRESS OF HELL (much like Jericho) will not prevail against his church. Jesus is saying that he and his church are going to knock a walled city (much like Jericho) into the dust.
Wrapping it All up
So let’s get this straight. Jesus in this little parable just summarized the entire history of the world from the fall of Adam and Eve at the garden to the return of Christ, when his saints in the church will be rewarded for watching over the souls that were brought in by Jesus. This parable is a very big deal. We can see it paralleled as well in Ephesians, when Paul describes salvation by the work of Christ:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses [that is, HALF DEAD], made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places [or “ON HIS OWN DONKEY’] in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus [which is why the Samaritan “had compassion”]. For by grace you have been saved through faith. [or, in the particular situation the lawyer is in, “Love your neighbor as yourself”] And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast [because no one “justifies himself”]. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works [hence: “Go and do likewise”], which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:1-10)
So no, you are not the Good Samaritan, and no, the Good Samaritan is not the equivalent of a racial minority in your community. Instead, JESUS is the Good Samaritan in this parable, just like he is the King in the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, and the Sower in the Parable of the Sower and the Soils, and the Parable of the Weeds.
You, on the other hand, are simultaneously two people in the story. On the one hand, since you are a human being, you are represented in the man beaten on the road from Eden to Hell.
Additionally, you are the innkeeper. Jesus has left you with explicit instructions to take care of ALL OF HUMANKIND (the man beaten on the road), until he comes back, at which point he will repay you for whatever you have spent.
Here is where I would like to end on a final passage where Jesus explains what will happen when he returns, which will be the Final Judgment on the last day. Surprisingly, he says what will happen in terms of the instructions he gave to the innkeeper. However, this one is not a parable. It’s a description of the future:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:31-46)
And that, my friends, is the Parable of the Good Samaritan like you’ve never seen it before.