In the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus told about a traveler who was attacked by thieves and left half dead. A priest and then a Levite saw the hurt man, but each of them passed by without helping. Finally, a Samaritan came by and stopped to help the man. He bandaged the man’s wounds and carried him on his own animal to an inn. The Samaritan left money with the innkeeper for the man’s care. This story shows us what it means to follow the commandment to love our neighbors.
Full text of the parable of the Good Samaritan
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit aeternal life?
26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?
27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy aheart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt alive.
29 But he, willing to ajustify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my bneighbour?
30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and awounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
33 But a certain aSamaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had bcompassion on him,
34 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 acare of him.
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the ahost, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Lessons from the Good Samaritan
- “First, the Samaritan “had compassion.” He had the urge to help, for he felt sympathetic to the wounded man’s problem. This kindly affection is brought forth in the heart of anyone who has been touched by the Spirit of the Lord. These empathetic feelings should be felt by each of us toward one another. Indeed, the Savior said that covenant Israel should be known and distinguished by the love they show one for the other. (See John 13:35.)
- Second, the Samaritan “went to him.” He did not wait to be approached by the one in need, but rather perceived the need and stepped forth without being asked to do so. In that great hymn “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief”… we sense that the high reward promised by the Savior came not just because acts of kindness were performed, but also because they were done spontaneously, consistently, and selflessly.
- Third, the Samaritan “bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine.” He provided medical attention and refreshed the sufferer’s thirst. This immediate relief may well have saved the man’s life.
- Fourth, the Samaritan “set him on his own beast”—that is, he provided transportation and “brought him to an inn,” a place of rest and care. By providing this appropriate accommodation he ensured the proper conditions for healing to take place.
- Fifth, the Samaritan “took care of him.” Notice that during the critical stages of healing, the Samaritan did not turn the care of the wounded man over to others, but sacrificed of his own time and energy to perform this healing service himself. In a time when it is so easy to leave things to someone else, it is important to have so powerful an example as this good Samaritan.
- Sixth, the Samaritan “on the morrow … took out two pence, and gave them to the host.” He took of his own money, not someone else’s, and paid for the services he could not render himself. He thus consecrated of his means for the care of the poor and the needy.
- Seventh, the Samaritan, needing to continue earning his own living, told the innkeeper to “take care of him.” In this way he enlisted others—resource persons—to help and to continue the care.
- Eighth, the Samaritan then promised that “whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” Here the ultimate in compassion is shown! He puts no limit on the extent to which he will help. And, perhaps even more significant, he does not drop it there and forget it, but commits himself to return and ensure that all that could be done has been done.” (From Latter-day Samaritans by N. Eldon Tanner)
- The Good Samaritan: Forgotten Symbols by John W. Welch, Brigham Young University professor
- The Good Samaritan flannel-board story
The Good Samaritan Cartoon Video: