The Gospel for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost is Luke’s account of the parable of the Good Samaritan. Our devotional reading comes from Concordia Commentary: Luke 9:51–24:53.
Leviticus (18:1–5) 19:9–18
Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.
The story itself is not called a parable, though it is commonly referred to as “the parable of the Good Samaritan.” It is one of a number of stories in Luke that appear to be parables despite lacking the label. As with some of the other stories, it is possible that his one is a historical account of events that actually occurred, though the text does not indicate that and the message of such stories and parables is not dependent on historicity because they are intended to illustrate.
In the story itself, the Good Samaritan stands at the center with his compassion. The Good Samaritan’s compassion is manifest in compassionate actions. He administers first aid, takes the man on his own animal to a place to recuperate, and spends his money to take care of the man.
What dominates the parable is the compassion of the Samaritan in contrast to the others who either beat him or left him there beaten. The lawyer clearly understands the story, for he has exactly the right answer to the question put to him by Jesus: “Which of these three seems to you to have been a neighbor of the one who fell among the bandits?” Of course the answer is “the one who did the merciful thing for him.” The lawyer’s answer reemphasizes the point of the whole periscope: compassion and mercy.
And so there comes Jesus’ concluding answer: “Go and you do likewise.” Which question has Jesus answered? “Who is my neighbor?” Or, “Having done what shall I inherit eternal life?” Where, in fact, does Jesus leave the questioner? Shocked, deflated, challenged. Jesus has evoked from the man’s own mouth the word that is the heart of the Torah: mercy, covenant love.
The lawyer is challenged to cease and desist his legal maneuvers to avoid the central issue. God, as revealed in the Torah, and especially as revealed in Jesus, is a God of love, mercy, and compassion. Jesus calls the lawyer to show love and mercy as a covenant man to whom God’s mercy has come—in the Torah and now in Jesus!
Devotional reading is adapted from Concordia Commentary: Luke 9:51–24:53, page 452–54 © 1997 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Hymn is “Where Charity and Love Prevail” © 2019 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.