Sunday, June 5, 2016


Luke 10:25-37

In many passages of scripture we can usually grasp the basic meaning of the passage. The 3 most obvious points of this parable are clear and are important in themselves.
1) Christ exalts compassion - We are called to love.
2) Your enemy is your neighbor when he is compassionate. (The Samaritans were the bitter enemies of the Jews).
3) We are called to imitate the Good Samaritan and love our enemies.

These three points are good and true, and should be understood at face value and followed as the commandments of Jesus. But there is another way of reading scripture that was often practiced by the early Church Fathers, and that is allegory. Allegory was virtually universal throughout early Christianity. Allegory is used to draw our attention, in many well-known passages, to the universal condition of mankind and the all-encompassing love of God. The early Church Fathers are those recognized by the Church as true interpreters of Holy Scripture. One such father was St John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople(modern day Istanbul) in the 4th century.

The parable of the "Good Samaritan" becomes a word-picture of the entire mystery of salvation!!! The allegorical interpretation of the following meditation is from the teaching of St John Chrysostom with the addition of some of my thoughts.

Verse 30: we read, "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho...". The trek from Jerusalem to Jericho was known to be a very dangerous journey, on a very narrow path, where robbers would lie in wait for unsuspecting travelers. In fact, "the valley of the shadow of death" is an actual location on this road. St John Chrysostom says that this is a picture of Adam, who choosing to trust himself rather than God, decided to descend from Paradise to the world. It is interesting to note that Jericho is the lowest city on earth at 853 feet below sea level. Jerusalem, at it's highest point is 2756 feet above sea level. The descent is 3609 feet in 15 miles. So Adam was going from the heights of Paradise to the lowest place that the world can offer.
Then we read, "...and fell among thieves..". So here we see Adam attacked by demons who, as Jesus taught elsewhere, "come to steal, and to kill, and to destroy"(John 10:7-10).
Then we read, "...which stripped him of his raiment,". This shows that Adam(mankind) was stripped of his "robe of immortality". Often in scripture we see that clothing is a picture of spiritual qualities; righteousness, humility, truth. Before the fall, mankind was created immortal, he was clothed with immortality, to live eternally in the Paradise of God. Adam, in his disobedience, was stripped naked. (Read Gen. 3:7-12; Isaiah 25:7,8; 1 Cor. 15:52-57; 2 Cor. 5:1-4)
Then we read, "...and wounded him,". Adam(mankind), in the fall, was wounded by sin, and is wounded by the sins of others, as well as self-inflicted wounds. Mankind was/is afflicted with diseases of the soul, his mind became darkened(Eph. 4:17,18), he became sleepy, ensnared by demons, his will weakened. All these conditions, we can be saved from, healed of, by Jesus.(1 Peter 2:24)
Then we read, "...they departed, leaving him half dead". Adam(mankind) was reduced to the half-life of this earth, subject to sin and death. Adam remained physically alive, but spiritually experienced a death, a separation from God. This does not mean that mankind is spiritually unconscious, as a physically dead person becomes upon death. Adam(mankind) remained spiritually aware, but separated from God, dead to the things of God.

Verse 31 & 32: It happened that a priest...then a Levite, came by that way, and passed by on the other side. This reveals that Israel, who was given the great privilege and responsibility to bring the knowledge of God to the nations, kept to themselves, and did not aid mankind.

Verse 33: Then we read, "But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, had compassion on him,". Jesus is the Samaritan. He journeyed, not from this world, but from heaven above. He had even been accused of being a demon possessed Samaritan by the Jews(John 8:48). Jesus sees all who are wounded by the thieves(demons), and upon all He has compassion.

Verse 34: Then we read, "And went to him,...". Jesus comes to all who are wounded by the thieves, to all who are left half-dead along the road from Paradise to the lowest place in the world.
Then we read, "and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine,...". Jesus is seen doctoring mankind's wounds with His teachings(bandages); pouring oil and wine into the wounds. The oil is the Holy Spirit and the Wine is the Holy Eucharist(1 Cor. 10:16,17).
Then we read, "and set him on his own beast, and brought him to the inn, and took care of him". Christ, in becoming incarnate, joins mankind to His divine nature(Hebrews 10:19-22; Rom. 5:12-6:23; 2 Peter 1:2-4); then He brings mankind to the hospital of His Church and continues to minister to him as the divine physician.

Verse 35: We read, "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..." Jesus departed the earth in His Holy Ascension(Acts 1:1-11; Eph. 4:8-11; sending the Holy Spirit on Pentecost and giving ministry gifts to men, turning the disciples into apostles and prophets, etc), and he entrusted the care of mankind to the Apostolic Synod personified by its great apostle to the gentiles, St Paul(Col. 1:23-28; Eph. 3:1-6; Gal 1:11-24), and through Paul to the bishops and teachers and ministers of each church(Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5). "Take care of the gentiles which I have given you in the church. Since men are sick, wounded by sin, heal them, putting on them a stone plaster, that is, the prophetic sayings and the gospel teachings, making them whole through the admonitions and exhortations of the old and new testaments."(Chrysostom)
Then we read, "when I come again, I will repay you". At my second coming I will reward you.

We are to see "the Church", through this imagery, as a hospital for the sick and wounded. Jesus, in his teachings, makes reference to this reality(Mt. 9:12; Mk. 2:17; Lk. 5:31). In the Church we are divided into the sick, those undergoing treatment, and those - the saints - who have already been healed...the Church Fathers do not categorize people as moral and immoral, or good and bad, on the basis of moral laws. This division is superficial. At depth, humanity is differentiated into the sick in soul, those being healed, and those healed.
In 1 Peter 2:24 we see that Jesus took upon Himself our sins in order that we be healed of our spiritual sicknesses. Once healed(saved) of our sicknesses we will be able to live righteously. For example; once healed of bitterness, we can show compassion to those who have injured us; once healed of pride, we can with humility and lowliness of mind serve all people regardless of their station in life; once healed of anger we can be at peace with every person we encounter throughout the day.

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