Monday, April 25, 2011

The Good Samaritan as an allegory of the Plan of Salvation

I guess it's pretty obvious that this blog has become a record of our spiritual journey together more than anything else. My goal is to not be preachy, but to just share what I am thinking and learning.
For a few weeks, I have been thinking of Christ's parable of the Good Samaritan.
The first time that it occurred to me to see the Good Samaritan as an allegory as well as a parable, I was walking through a Cathedral in France (I was 24 at the time, working for Delta and flying free). I looked up at some panels of stained glass and saw the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden intertwined with windows showing the Good Samaritan. I thought it was weird that they had placed Old Testament windows with New Testament Windows and then it hit me and I cried at the beauty and love of the lesson of the Plan of Salvation right within the Good Samaritan. So, for years I have recognized the allegory of the story and I have wondered why it is not addressed more often.
I'd like to share what I see.
I believe that when the lawyer asked Christ how to gain eternal life, he may have been trying to trap Christ into claiming to be the Son of God publicly. The lawyer actually had two Questions "How do I gain Eternal Life?" and then after Jesus' response the lawyer asked, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus Christ answered BOTH questions. In our modern day, we usually see the response to the second question, but I feel the need to draw attention to the beautiful answer to the FIRST question.
Christ went on to teach that the only way to eternal life is through His Atonement and by no other way. Christ did this carefully through the story of a fallen man (Adam, us, All Mankind) who travelled from Jerusalem (pre-mortality) to Jericho (mortality). Remember, Jerusalem is about 2100 feet above sea level where Jericho is actually a 800+ feet below sea level. It was a winding road and a dangerous path. It is not difficult to compare this to the Fall. On earth we are no longer directly in the presence of the Lord, and can come upon trials, difficulties and temptations which leave us "half dead"(spiritual death; separation from God).
The priest and Levite represents the law (rules and Mosaic Law). Can the law alone save us?
They also didn't have the full authority or power to save mankind.
The Samaritan represents Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was hated by many Jews just as the Samaritans were hated by Christ's target audience.
The Samaritan did not just walk by, but he went looking to save the wounded traveler. He had compassion (more love than we can imagine) he bound up the wounds (as He binds our broken hearts and bind us with covenants). The Samaritan used oil (light, Holy Ghost) and wine (purification through His blood).
The Samaritan stayed with the wounded. He did not leave too early. When He did leave, He made sure someone would take care of the recovering traveler (church leaders). He also promised to return again (Second Coming of the Savior) and pay any accrued expenses (The Savior will bless His servants in abundance as they work to help wounded travelers) This makes the ending beautiful--Christ is willing to pay whatever it takes for us to be healed. He loves us so much and we are moved by His love to love others.
I really do wonder why we don't discuss the allegory of the Plan of Salvation as much as we discuss the "story" of service. The two can be used together. One of the teaching of His Plan of Happiness and the other teaching ethics of how we treat one another. Neither threatens the truths of the other.
Seeing the Good Samaritan in this light is just another way that I can see that the scriptures "truly testify of Christ." Jacob 7:11


  1. I love this take on the good Samaritan story! You're right, I'll never think of it the same way. Thanks for posting this!