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The Good Samaritan

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Analysis Essay

The Good Samaritan

As a teacher Christ often chose to use parables, embedding within them messages that connect on many different levels. When asked how one could inherit eternal life, he replied with the parable of the good Samaritan. It is most commonly understood and widely accepted that the parable is simply about charity and love. While this is true, there is also a deeper meaning hidden within this story. In the parable of the good Samaritan Christ focuses through abundant symbolism and deliberate diction on his personal role in our salvation, illustrating that worshiping religious laws without the atonement is void of saving power.

Through the use of symbols in the parable of the good Samaritan, Christ paints the course of redemption, showing that only through his atonement is redemption possible. The parable starts with a man journeying, and states that he "went down from Jerusalem to Jericho." Traditionally, and possibly even more emphatically today, Jerusalem is thought of as a holy city. In the parable it symbolizes heaven or a holy place. Jericho however, does not hold the same meaning and is used symbolically as our world or being outside the presence of God. When we sin we wound ourselves and separate ourselves from the presence of God. People then rely on religion to repair this separation. While on the path and after he had left Jerusalem, the man was attacked, wounded, and left exactly "half dead." The man's physical body is still alive leaving the reader to interpret that while physical death has not yet occurred, spiritual death has, caused by sin as the traveler left holy ground. In this state of spiritual death the man lay until a Priest came down that path and after seeing him, passed on by. "Likewise a Levite,...came and looked on him, and passed by." The reference to these religious people could be interpreted many ways, but in general they symbolize religious ideologies or practices. Biblically, priests carried out the law, and Levites served the priests to aid in this process. The actions of both the Priest and Levite indicate the void effects of false worship. Conversely, Christ is symbolized by the good Samaritan, and his actions display the saving power of his atonement. The Parable reads that the good Samaritan went to the wounded man "bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast...and took care of him." Christ came into the world to world to save us (John 3:17), quite literally he "went" to all who are wounded. Through his blood, symbolized by the wine, our spiritual wounds are healed. The reference to setting the injured man on his "own beast" further confirms that Christ is the good Samaritan, emphasizing how Christ "set" upon himself the weight of our sin (Isaiah 53:4). This teaches that only through Christ and his



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