By: TwitterButtons.com
By TwitterButtons.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Unveiling the Samaritan - NT Types

On a dusty, lonely stretch of road, a 1st Century Jew walks from Jerusalem to Jericho and it attacked by thieves.  They rob him of his possessions and leave him bloodied and half-conscious on the side of the road.  

Fortunately for him, a priest and Levite travel the same road, but neither offer to help, but use their religion as a pretense for avoiding the man.  

Then a Samaritan comes down the road.  For this man and most Jews, he would seem an unlikely ally.  Samaritan were half-Jews who had corrupted the faith of Abraham.  Their most famous celebrity were the Herods, whose record of benevolence was less than stellar.  

Yet this unclean man stooped down with compassion, bandaged the wounds of the broken Jew, soothing him with oil and wine.  He placed the man on his own animal and carried him down the road to the inn.  He stayed the night watching and caring for the man till morning, then he left paying the bill but leaving a credit if the man needed more care.  

Jesus ends with a rhetorical question: "Who was neighbor to the man?"

This story even though familiar is powerful.  You can imagine how deep it cut the hearts of the original hearers, because it still cuts our hearts today.  This understanding should never be tossed aside or considered less important than a different approach to the story.  


Because this is a story it lends itself to a typological reading.  This sense of meaning sees the images as shadows or reflections of a greater reality.  When reading Scripture, this greater reality is Christ.  


When viewed from this angle, the Good Samaritan is Christ.  Just as he was a mix of Jew and Gentile, Christ is both heavenly and earthly.  We are the traveler walking through life mugged and beaten by death, the devil, and our own flesh.  The OT Law, like the priest and Levite,  was powerless to help.  It could only point out our brokenness. 


Christ sees us and places us upon His own beast of burden--His Body.  He washes us with baptism, gives us the oil of anointing, and fills us with the wine of His own body and blood.


Then He carries us to the inn of the Church where we continue to recover and receive healing.  He leaves us in the care of His appointed ministers and promises one day to return.  


This does not negate the literal meaning of the story, in fact, it deepens it because the mercy of the Samaritan is a reflection of Christ Himself.  

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