A Certain Samaritan: The Lawyer of Luke 10

Luke 10  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 8
The lawyer who comes to Jesus in Luke 10 is not the young ruler who comes to him in Matt. 19, though the inquiry that each of them put is much the same, and might lead to the conclusion that it was one and the same person, and one and the same occasion.
But further; I believe the state of mind which suggested this inquiry was very different in the two individuals.
The young ruler evidently had some anxiety of conscience which moved him to seek the counsel of so good a man as the Lord—as his religious thoughts told him He was. But the lawyer had no feelings of that kind at all. He was the mere advocate of the law, who would plead for it in the face of the doctrine and the way of Jesus.
The parable of the good Samaritan constitutes the answer which he receives-a parable which sets forth to perfection the love of one's neighbor, illustrating that great duty of the law.
The Samaritan stranger loves the poor waylaid man, we may say, as he loved himself. He could not have done more for himself in the like case than he did for that afflicted one. He spent his affections and his resources upon him; he gave him what his heart and what his hand could command. He had compassion on him, and bound up his wounds. He changes places with him becoming, as it were, poor that he might be rich, walking at his side while he sat him on his ass. And all this with unwearied, unchanging love; for he provided that all this care should be spent on him by others, yet at his own cost, till care was needed no more, and the healing was complete.
Was anything wanting? Nothing. This was indeed a picture of perfect love to one's neighbor; it was a love to him as to himself; it was doing for him all that he could have done for himself.
Well, says Jesus to the lawyer, "Go, and do thou likewise."
The lawyer had come as the advocate of the law, and he finds Jesus the still more blessed advocate of it. There was a greatness and self-devotedness in the principles of it which the lawyer had never conceived, but which Jesus Himself was ever practicing.
The lawyer had come under the vain thought that he could stand by the law; but he finds (surely he did) that this greatness and self-devotedness were far more that he could ever attain or measure.
But besides all this, we have comfort in this parable, for it sets forth the Son of God as a benefactor as well as an example.
Had the lawyer come a s a brokenhearted sinner, he would have listened to a very different application of the parable than that-"Go, and do thou likewise." He would have been comforted by the assurance that what the good Samaritan was to t he waylaid stranger, such was the Son of God to the poor, ruined, brokenhearted sinner. He would have heard that the Son of God when rich became poor, that by His poverty we might be made rich. He would have been told that we should never be left nor forsaken, but that our heavenly benefactor, like the Samaritan, would not rest till He had perfected His mercy in our settled and enduring blessing.
Such would have been the application of the parable, had the lawyer come in the spirit of a contrite sinner.
And how precious to know that we are invited to be DEBTORS to the true Samaritan who journeyed from heaven, before we are to be imitators of Him. Well and right it is to be imitators of God as dear children, but better still to share by faith His grace and bountifulness. And though human thoughts would have it otherwise, more is He glorified by our being debtors to Him than imitators of Him.