Don Carson preached on the Good Samaritan at New Word Alive and according to Adrian Warnock he said:
“The Good Samaritan is Jesus himself. He comes to us in our brokeness and despite the fact that people despise him, he is the one who pays the entire tab so we are paid. The real question is not “who is my neighbour” but “who has been neighbour to me in all my lostness” Jesus took up his cross for us and uniquely bore our sins in his bodies. Jesus does want us to also take up our cross. He left us an example. We are saved by faith alone, but as the reformers saw, genuine faith is never alone. Some people want our lives to be the ground on which we are entering. No, the grounds are only what Christ does. It is only that which qualifies us to enter heaven. Even as a forgiven Christian, I am a wretched failure. I will be changed by God, but that is not part of the reason for him deciding am acceptable to him. Newton says “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be. I am not what one day I will be but I am not what I was, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”
Well I guess Don is in good company – Luther and Augustine both thought that Jesus was the Good Samaritan. But they did also think that the whole parable was an allegory. What do you think? I don’t have enough time now to explain all the reasons why i struggle with this approach – but I will try and write more later…
Here are some quick reasons why i struggle:
1) I am wary abour allegorisation
– do we need to find Jesus in this parable? Is it enough to argue that this parable shows us
a) that it is impossible to live up to God’s standards of neighbour love and therefore to realise that Eternal life is not an “inheritance” that can be earned.
b) that God calls us to accompany our faith with works (ephesians 2:1 and James 2) not to earn our salvation but demonstrate it and this is the kind of loving life that God calls us to.
2) Do we go looking for Jesus in all the other parables too
– Is Jesus the “fattened calf” that gets killed in the prodigal son parable? Is he father Abraham in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus? – I agree he is the son in the parable of the tennants in the vineyard and also the sower in the parable of the sower. But I think the context of these parables make that pretty clear. i don’t think the context of Luke 10 encourages us to think of Jesus as the good samaritan.
3) I can’t understand why Jesus would call himself a samaritan when he is clearly the true Israel. The temptations in the desert show us that Jesus fulfils the role that israel failed to. When talking to the Samaritan woman, Jesus is still clear that salvation is from the Jews so I think he would have confused the categories by calling himself the Good Samaritan. Besides the conclusion of the Good Samaritan is not … “Come to me the good Samaritan and i will save you” it is “Go and do likewise” which I also think would have been confusing if he was claiming to be the Samaritan.