Twenty-First Sunday After Pentecost
[Return to Index]
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
26 He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?"
27 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."
28 And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live."
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?"
30 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.
31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion,
34 and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
35 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.'
36 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?"
37 He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise."
25 Καὶ ἰδοὺ νομικός τις ἀνέστη ἐκπειράζων αὐτὸν καὶ λέγων· διδάσκαλε, τί ποιήσας ζωὴν αἰώνιον κληρονομήσω; 26 ὁ δὲ εἶπε πρὸς αὐτόν· ἐν τῷ νόμῳ τί γέγραπται; πῶς ἀναγινώσκεις; 27 ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν· ἀγαπήσεις Κύριον τὸν Θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης τῆς καρδίας σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ψυχῆς σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς ἰσχύος σου καὶ ἐξ ὅλης τῆς διανοίας σου, καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν· 28 εἶπε δὲ αὐτῷ· ὀρθῶς ἀπεκρίθης· τοῦτο ποίει καὶ ζήσῃ. 29 ὁ δὲ θέλων δικαιοῦν ἑαυτὸν εἶπε πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν· καὶ τίς ἐστί μου πλησίον; 30 ὑπολαβὼν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν· ἄνθρωπός τις κατέβαινεν ἀπὸ Ἱερουσαλὴμ εἰς Ἱεριχώ, καὶ λῃσταῖς περιέπεσεν· οἳ καὶ ἐκδύσαντες αὐτὸν καὶ πληγὰς ἐπιθέντες ἀπῆλθον ἀφέντες ἡμιθανῆ τυγχάνοντα. 31 κατὰ συγκυρίαν δὲ ἱερεύς τις κατέβαινεν ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν ἀντιπαρῆλθεν. 32 ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ Λευΐτης γενόμενος κατὰ τὸν τόπον, ἐλθὼν καὶ ἰδὼν ἀντιπαρῆλθε. 33 Σαμαρείτης δέ τις ὁδεύων ἦλθε κατ᾿ αὐτόν, καὶ ἰδὼν αὐτὸν ἐσπλαγχνίσθη, 34 καὶ προσελθὼν κατέδησε τὰ τραύματα αὐτοῦ ἐπιχέων ἔλαιον καὶ οἶνον, ἐπιβιβάσας δὲ αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὸ ἴδιον κτῆνος ἤγαγεν αὐτὸν εἰς πανδοχεῖον καὶ ἐπεμελήθη αὐτοῦ· 35 καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν αὔριον ἐξελθών, ἐκβαλὼν δύο δηνάρια ἔδωκε τῷ πανδοχεῖ καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· ἐπιμελήθητι αὐτοῦ, καὶ ὅ,τι ἂν προσδαπανήσῃς, ἐγὼ ἐν τῷ ἐπανέρχεσθαί με ἀποδώσω σοι. 36 τίς οὖν τούτων τῶν τριῶν πλησίον δοκεῖ σοι γεγονέναι τοῦ ἐμπεσόντος εἰς τοὺς λῃστάς; 37 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· ὁ ποιήσας τὸ ἔλεος μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ. εἶπεν οὖν αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· πορεύου καὶ σὺ ποίει ὁμοίως.
Larger Thought Unit
The larger section of the two great commandments of the Law should also include the following story of Martha and Mary. Note that the parable of the Good Samaritan occurs only in Luke and is in response not to the question of “what is the greatest commandment” but rather “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” It is important in today’s reading to see the importance of the question of ‘who’ is my neighbor, as this was understood differently within nascent Judaism, who generally rejected Samaritans and Gentiles in their definition. The ‘shock’ value of this parable as well cannot be underestimated in making a Samaritan the hero and fulfiller of the Law and thus the one who is part of God’s people and the inheritor of eternal life, as opposed to the very technically strict ‘law-abiding’ priest and Levite. Note that this is followed by the story of Martha and Mary where the issue is discipleship, i.e., loving Christ and being taught by him as the fulfillment of the greatest commandment of loving God.
Just as Paul’s argument runs in Romans—the Jews have the Law but, because they do not practice it, it condemns them (Rom 2)—here too in this parable a νομικός (a Jew who is expert in the Mosaic Law) trying to put Jesus to the test, ends up being put to the test himself. He is shown that, as Paul teaches in Rom 2:26-27 (So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law), a Samaritan (with whom the Jews had no dealings; Jn 4:9) takes care of a complete stranger, whereas a priest and a Levite, going down from Jerusalem, where supposedly they have fulfilled God’s will, in fact end up contravening it, since God’s entire Law is subsumed in the love for the neighbor (Gal 5:14; Rom 13:9). The Samaritan lives up to the gospel of mercy (Lk 10:37), and the Jewish νομικός is invited to “do” likewise.
Charles H. Talbert, Reading Luke, Smith & Helwys Publishing, Macon, GA, 2002; pp. 127-132.
Paul Nadim Tarazi, New Testament Introduction, Vol.2: Luke and Acts, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY, 2001; pp.88-89.