There are many unknowns in this account. The Samaritan's name and occupation are unknown. The purpose of his journey is unknown. His home city is unknown. In fact we know very little except he saw the wounded man on the side of the road and acted out of compassion on behalf of the hurting man. He bandaged up the wounds, pouring his own precious wine and oil on him. The Samaritan acted on what he knew was the right thing to do.


      The story is told in Luke 10:25-37. "And be­hold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eter­nal life? He said to him, 'What is written in the law? What is your reading of it? So he answered and said, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. And He said to him, You have answered rightly; do this and you will live. But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbor? Then Jesus answered and said: A certain man went down from Jerusa­lem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he  saw  him,  he  passed  by  on  the  other  side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Sa­maritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you. So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves? And he said, "He who showed mercy on him. Then Jesus said to him, Go and do likewise."


      A CONTRAST OF NEEDS. The attitudes manifested by the thieves, the priest and Levite and the Good Samaritan make a very vivid story. The thieves said, "We need what he has." So they stripped the man of his clothing, wounded him and left him half dead by the roadside. The priest and Levite said, "We don't need what he has." So they passed by on the other side. The Good Samaritan said, "I have what he needs." He took personal care of the injured man, nursing him back to life and making sure he was cared for.


      A CONTRAST OF SPIRITUALITY. The thieves were very unrighteous. They cared nei­ther for God nor man. (Romans 6:13.) The priest and Levite were self righteous. They appeared to men to be righteous but their actions spoke volumes in the opposite direction. (Matthew 23:28.) The Good Samaritan was adorned with the righteousness of Christ. (Titus 2:10.) It was obvious the Samaritan was in a right relationship with God. It was because of that right relationship with God that he was able to reach out to a needy man who would normally have been his enemy.


      A CONTRAST OF WHAT CONSTITUTES GAIN. The thieves saw only the material goods of the man. There are many who are so "greedy of gain they will take away the lives of the owner" to possess the material goods themselves. (Proverbs 1:19.) The priest and Levite saw only themselves. They could only see what this might cost them. They knew that to stop and help would endanger their lives, cost them money and time. These are men who would boast in their self righteousness. Yet they thought gain would come from keeping what they had. The Good Samaritan saw the need of the man by the roadside. His concern was not his material goods but helping a fellow human being in need. He was willing to risk his own safety and spend his own money to help this hurting Jew.


      A CONTRAST OF WORDS AND AC­TIONS. The thieves talked evil and did evil. These wicked men thought evil in their hearts, spoke evil with their tongue and did evil in their lives. (Matthew 9:4.) Their evil actions were the result of evil planning. The priest and Levite talked good but did no good. Many "good words" must have been spoken by these two men. But they were but "mere words." (Isaiah 36:5.) While they talked good they did no good. The Samaritan talked of good and did good. He was the one who was the neighbor in the story. He showed mercy. The Good Samaritan was a caregiver to a hurting man. He was even willing to personally cover the expenses of the needy.


      A CONTRAST OF WHO SHOULD BE BLESSED. The thieves see this man going down the road and think, "he could bless us with what he has." These men forgot that, "He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, but he who hates bribes will live." (Proverbs 15:27.) The priest and the Levite looked at the man and thought, "this man, naked and beaten, could never be a blessing to me." They had forgotten that God's will was for them "to be a blessing." (Zechariah 8:13.) The Good Samaritan had the only Christ-like attitude. He said, "I can be a blessing to this man." This man had fallen among thieves. He had been half killed. The Good Samaritan, seeing the man, took him by the hand and lifted him out of his misery.


      A CONTRAST OF BENEVOLENCE. The thieves said, "What is yours we want and we are going to take it." In a heartless and cruel act they stripped a man of his clothing and all his possessions, wounded him and left him to die by the road side. The priest and the Levite said, "What is mine is mine and I am going to keep it." In a heartless display of selfishness these two religious leaders pass by. The Good Samaritan said, "What is mine is yours and you can have it." He understood the teachings of the Lord concerning being "rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share." (1 Timothy 6:18.)


      A CONTRAST OF BEING PROFITABLE. The thieves looked and thought, "How can we profit from him." They took what he had. The priest and the Levite looked and thought, "He is not now nor will he ever be a profit to us." The Good Samaritan looked and thought, "What can I do for Him?" Like Jesus, the Good Samaritan went about doing good. (Acts 10:38.)


      Jesus said we need to stop thinking only and "Go and do." Go and be a neighbor to the next hurting person you meet, whether friend or enemy. It is a joy to bind up the wounds of a bleeding and hurting humanity.


      It will also help when I focus on the fact that God looked past my faults and saw my needs. He provided salvation for me through the blood of Jesus when I was naked and beaten by the side of the road of life. (Romans 5:8.) He simply asks that I believe and be baptized to be saved. (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38.) As Christians Christ lives His life through us to save a lost world.


By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA