The Parable of the Good Samaritan
One Jew, a lawyer, desiring to justify himself since the Jews considered “their neighbours” to be only Jews and all others to be held in contempt asked Jesus Christ, “And who is my neighbour?”
In order to teach people to consider every other person as their neighbour, no matter who he might be of whatever nationality, or descent, or belief; and also that we must be compassionate and merciful to all people, doing what we can to help those in need and misfortune, Jesus Christ answered him with a parable.
“A man (a Jew) was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him, and beat him, and departed leaving him half-dead. Now by chance, a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite (a Jewish church official), when he came to the place and saw him, he passed by on the other side.
“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was. (The Jews despised the Samaritans so much that they would not have sat at the same table with them and even tried to avoid speaking to them). When the Samaritan saw him covered with wounds, he had compassion on him. He went to him and bound up his wounds pouring on them oil and wine. Then, he set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii (a denarius was a Roman silver coin) and gave them to the innkeeper saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I repay you when I come back’.”
Then, Jesus Christ asked the lawyer, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell among the robbers?”
The lawyer replied, “The one who showed mercy on him (that is, the Samaritan).”
And Jesus Christ said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Note: See the Gospel of Luke 10:29-37.
The parable of the Good Samaritan besides its direct and clear concept of love for every neighbour also has an allegorical, profound, and mystical meaning according to the teachings of the Holy Fathers.
The man going from Jerusalem to Jericho is none other than our forefather Adam and in his person — all humanity. Not remaining steadfast in the good and losing the blessedness of Paradise, Adam and Eve were compelled to leave the “Heavenly Jerusalem” (Paradise) and to wander in the world where they immediately encountered calamities and every possible adversity. The robbers are the diabolic powers which envied the innocent condition of man and enticed him onto the road of sin depriving our fore-parents of faithfulness to the commandments of God (of life in Paradise). The wounds are the sores of sin weakening us. The priest and Levite represent the Law given to us through Moses and the clergy in the person of Aaron, which by themselves cannot save man. The image of the Good Samaritan refers to Jesus Christ Himself, Who for the healing of our infirmities under the appearance of oil and wine gave to us the New Testament law and grace. The inn is the Church of God in which is found everything necessary for our healing, and the innkeeper is the pastors and teachers in the Church to whom God entrusts the care of the flock. The morning departure of the Samaritan is the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, and the two denarii given to the innkeeper are Divine Revelation kept by means of Scripture and Holy Tradition. Finally, the promise of the Samaritan to stop at the inn on his return-trip to settle the debt is an indication of the second coming of Jesus Christ to earth when He shall reward every man according to his works (Matt. 16:27).