How often does the story of the good Samaritan get used in churches and even secular groups to describe a good deed done?  And while the story is a grand one for discussing such topics as diversity versus racism, courage to confront pain and the virtues of selfless giving, if that is all that it is used for for, we have missed the primary context of the story.

So what led up to the story?  In Luke, Chapter 10 starting in verse 25 we read….Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life”  Jesus answers: “What is written in the laws?……” The man responds “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind.  and your neighbor as yourself”  Jesus answers: “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”  The man then asks “Who is my neighbor?”, the text goes on to say that this was not a legitimate question for information but an attempt to justify himself.

Thus the story is an illumination of what Jesus himself would call in Mark, the two greatest commandments:  Loving God and Loving your neighbor.  The context is that of not just a kind act but of way of being that brings about eternal life!  It is also important to note that the story takes place in a very earthly setting with very earthly circumstances.  I believe that Jesus purposely did this to show that eternal life starts now!  It is not an existence that only takes place after our earthly time is completed.  We are fully immersed in eternal life now or at least should be to the extent that we keep these two “greatest” of commandments. 

Oh and one more thing that Jesus did not say at this point but of course we know His life points to.  To the extent that we don’t keep those commandments and selfishly let sin enter into our lives, Jesus, who did perfectly keep those commandments, died to wash away those sins and allow us to enter into eternal live with him.

May the Love and Fellowship or our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, be with you now and always.  Amen