The Parable of the Good Samaritan: Christ’s Pattern for Ministry

By: J. Mark Jordan

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee” (Luke 10:33-35).

The parable of the good Samaritan is a preacher’s gold mine. It relates to the spiritual history of man, it represents the mission of Christ into the world, it depicts the purpose and power of God in redemption, and it defines the role of the church in the world. When we look at it in terms of our ministry to sinners, the parable of the good Samaritan reveals with amazing clarity the steps we are to take to provide both physical and spiritual care. Let us briefly review these steps.

1. “A certain Samaritan . . . came where he was.” First, we note that the Samaritan came to the wounded man. His actions teach us that we must get on the level of that we cannot minister to a sinner in today’s environment by assuming today is 1960.

2. “When he saw him.” Sickening, nauseating, repulsive–call the scene of the beaten, bruised, battered, naked body of the half-dead victim by any of these terms. Yet although it was not a pretty sight, the Samaritan looked directly at the wounded man and assessed his need. No rose-colored glasses would do. He did not turn away from the awful scene in disgust, not did he pretend the man’s problem was not as bad as it really was.

3. “He had compassion on him.” The Samaritan did not see an opportunity to make money or receive acclaim out of the situation. He did not take advantage of a helpless man. But he had compassion-he considered how the man must feel from being beaten and robbed. He also knew that perhaps only a few hours separated him from being the victim himself. He may have been the person lying beside the road broken and dying. For Christians, evangelism is an unselfish act of compassion–a deep, sympathetic identification with he plight of sinners.

4. “And went to him,” The Samaritan reached out to the beaten man with something more than consoling words, philosophical speculations, or utopian ideas. He became physically involved in helping. By going to the wounded man, he committed himself to sacrifice his time, expend his energy, and see the task of restoration completed.

5. “And bound up his wounds.” Open, bleeding wounds demand urgent care. Although the Samaritan was not likely a medical doctor, he could and did apply common sense in taking what he had available with him to treat and to bind up the man’s wounds. He knew time was of the essence; before the healing could start, the bleeding had to stop.

6. “Pouring in oil and wine.” In Bible times, both oil and wine were known for their soothing, curative effects. The Samaritan applied the “medicines” he had to the wounded man. Oil and wine in Scriptures are both types of the Holy Spirit; they speak of anointing. cleansing, grace, and power. Long before a sinner is regenerated, the virtues of the Spirit of God must bless him.

7. “Set him on his own beast.” The Samaritan realized that the wounded man was immobile and helpless. If he was to leave the ditch where the robbers had thrown him to die. someone would have to assist him physically. This Samaritan caregiver willingly took the man from the roadside and used his own resources to transport him. He felt personal responsibility to get the victim to a place of safety and healing.

8. “Brought him to an inn.” Shelter for protection and some basic comfort was necessary if this man was to regain his health. He could not survive out in the cold, the night, and the dangers. This illustrates beautifully the church’s role in the salvation of sinners. The church must remain visible, functional, and strong so that sinners can find a place to come for spiritual help.

9. “And took care of him.” The Samaritan did not fall short in his efforts to rescue a man from the edge of death. He could have justified himself in dropping him off at the inn and rushing to his appointments. Instead, he took care of him throughout the night, paid for his food and the rent of the room, and committed himself to reimburse the innkeeper for any further expenses incurred in the caring for the wounded man. Evidently the man needed more treatment, rest, and nourishment for full recovery. Urgent care must be given first, but full and proper treatment must follow.

As this parable demonstrates, spiritual healing encompasses the entire scope of salvation. Man’s sin has filled his life with pain, guilt, and loneliness. God, through His infinite grace and compassion, condescended to man’s level, entered into his pain, and ministered healing to the soul.

“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Jesus illustrated His own mission to save sinners, and He also taught us how we are to be involved in the rescue of sinners today. We dare not pass on the other side of the road, leaving the sinner to perish. No goal supersedes that of soulwinning, no schedule is as sacred as helping sinners to God, and no compassion is complete without commitment of time and resources.

What is our mission on earth? Is it not to be as good Samaritans physically and spiritually? God has given us the gospel that heals the wounds of sin, and He has given us hands and all other necessary resources to rescue sinners from death and restore them to life everlasting in Jesus Christ.

(The above material appeared in the June 1992 issue of the Pentecostal Herald.)

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