Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

Who is the Good Samaritan?

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"Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered, and having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" (Hebrews 5:8-9).

Through obedience, we can achieve all the things that we lack within ourselves and wish to obtain. Put our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as your example and walk in His footsteps. The good Samaritan is anyone who goes out of his/her way to help someone else in need, even if it is just a cold cup of water, as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ explained, everyone according to his ability.

Any time there is a giver and a receiver, God’s grace will intervene to show us the invisible power of God. And His care toward His children, through caring for each other and helping one another, becomes evident.

There are many people who act as the Samaritan every single day, from a person who helps a traveler to put his bag in the overhead compartment to a person who rescues a child from drowning. And most of these incidents go on unnoticed.

Throughout the Holy Bible, there are many examples for us about how we should act toward one another. Yet when it comes to the parable of the Good Samaritan, we usually pause and we like to listen to it and mediate about it.

There was a lawyer who stood up to test our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

"But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?' Then Jesus answer 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.'" (Luke 10:29-30).

Here we stop for a moment and think about the pretty bad things that happened to that man. He was taken by surprise and had been beaten, wounded, stripped from all his possessions and left naked on the road to die. Every one of us can become a victim. We hear every day about terrible crimes committed against people who are like you and me. Sometimes we pay attention to them, sometimes we ignore them, and sometimes we even blame the victim for not being careful enough.

"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" (Luke 10:31-34).

Here we see two kinds of people one will pass you by for he does not want to take the trouble of helping and suffer the consequence while the other is the complete opposite. The first kind is like the priest who thought about the Jewish law risking defilement that led to the need to do ritual cleansing for over a week and the embarrassment by his people and his peers. Also when the Levites who assist the priest in the temple saw that the priest did nothing to help then wondered why should they since the priest was their example. And the second kind is like the Samaritan who put his life for others.

I remember one incident that happened to someone I know few years ago. Somehow she took a wrong road and ended up somewhere unfamiliar, a dead end road with no one around except of a drunk person. Her car was out of gas, her phone was dead, and there is no way to contact anyone she knew. The only way was to hitchhike. It was almost dark so she said a prayer and started to ask the people who stopped out of curiosity or to help but with no success, until finally a man with pickup truck and wearing a cowboy hat came and asked her if she needs a ride. She was hesitant at first but there was no other choice so she accepted. He was kind enough to take her to a gas station, fill his red jug with gas, and take her back to her car to fill it and her car started working again. When she asked him if she can do anything for him, he said just pray for me and my family.

When I think back about if she did not accept his help what could of happened to her in this dark road in the middle of nowhere. Also if he was a bad man, what could have happened to her riding with him. I feel we need to trust that God will protect His children in their time of need when there are limited choices. This man’s act of kindness cost him time and effort for a complete stranger who was in need of help. She still remembers his act of kindness toward her and asks God to watch over him.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan many people are puzzled by it for in order to be that kind, you need to be a special kind of person. So many people, such as St. Augustine, interpreted the parable as such:

  • The thieves and the robbers represent Satan who tries every day to strip us away from God by infecting us with sinful acts.

  • The man who was wounded represents the sin that Satan had inflicted on Adam and the fall of Adam and the corruption of human nature.

  • The priest who interpreted the law of God into their advantage.

  • The Levite represents the prophets.

  • The Samaritan represented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who stopped and did not think of himself but thought of the man who was wounded; "what will happen to him if I do not stop and help him." He did not worry about defiling himself. In Mathew 8:3, we see Jesus put out His hand and He touched the leper and immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

  • The oil represents the comforting to the wound and the wine is the cleansing and the healing (God in His mercy He helps us to repent by suffering but at the same time His other hand will comfort us).

"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.'" (Luke 10:35).

Our Lord Jesus Christ paid the price instead of us so he can heal us from our sin and can grant us salvation and eternal life with Him. And through the church, we became His body and part of His plan to help others. And He promised that He will come again to take us with Him to His glory.

Your love O Lord amazes me; Your kindness and Your care for us overwhelms my mind. How can I think that I can reach this level of love without Your help and Your grace in me? Give us O Lord the love and the wisdom that we can understand Your will in us and lead us into becoming the kind of children who can make You pleased and smile.

Helping others is not only our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’s duty but it is for everyone who has the love of God in his/her heart and willing to put his/her time and effort to care about the sick, the weak, the person who is away from God, and to anyone who is in need. So put it in your heart to be that kind of person.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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