home > Pastor’s Desk > 2022 > August 19th > The Good Samaritan and the Inn-Keeper

The Good Samaritan and The Inn-Keeper

Based on an address given to the members of the Tasmanian House of Representatives and the members of the Tasmanian Legislative Council at the official opening of the Third Session of the Fiftieth Tasmanian Parliament, delivered on Tuesday August 16th in St. David’s Cathedral, Hobart.


¶ After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of Him,
two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to go.
Luke 10:1

Dr Andrew Corbett preaching at St David's Cathedral, HobartJesus’ followers had grown from His original twelve disciples to another sixty followers. As Christ prepared for His impending death which would occur in a matter of weeks, He addressed these seventy-two disciples giving them clear instructions on their first preaching expedition. But among this loyal band there was someone who had snuck in as a spy sent from the leaders of the Temple on a mission to find evidence to justify their bitter determination to murder Jesus! (Jerusalem’s religious leaders had been unsuccessful in their previous attempts to “catch” Jesus say or do something sinful. Note also Matt. 22:15; Mark 3:2; 12:13; Luke 11:53-54; 20:20; John 8:6.) This spy was described by Luke as a lawyer — not the “Yes your Honour” sort of lawyer, but someone who was probably an off-duty priest who would been called upon by enquirers coming to the Temple seeking clarification on how to truly obey GOD. And as the recently commissioned seventy-two disciples had returned from their preaching expeditions in the nearby towns and villages they reported the astounding results of their ministries there (Lk. 10:17). Jesus the Christ responded, “turning to the disciples he said privately, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.’” This is when the intruding priest-lawyer made his move:

¶ And behold, a lawyer stood up to put Him to the test, saying,
“Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”
Luke 10:25-26



The lawyer-priest thought he was being clever setting what he thought was a trap for Jesus. But as he discovered, a person’s true intelligence is measured not just by what they know, but by the kind of questions they ask. His question to Jesus met with an immediate question from the Christ. The lawyer’s question was actually the best question anyone could have asked the Lord. Yet it soon became apparent that he himself did not even understand the question he was asking.

The concept of everlasting life was introduced into Jewish thinking in the writings of the Prophet Daniel

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,
some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Daniel 12:2

This is the question embedded into every human soul. It is asked in different forms (such as, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ ‘Is there a point to my life?’ ‘How can I be truly happy?’ ‘What happens to me after I die?’) and it is clumsily answered in even more forms (such as, ‘Life is all about the now…When you die you just go six-feet under and that’s it…God, if there is a god, just wants you to be good…). The lawyer-priest’s question was far more profound than he realised. As he asked it there were seventy-two people listening in on this exchange between this spy whose question was an attempted means to entrap Christ. Perhaps to his surprise Jesus immediately asked him a question which would soon lead to this priest-lawyer’s heart being exposed for all to see.

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,
and your neighbour as yourself.”
And He said to him,
“You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
Luke 10:27-28

If Jesus had given the first half of His response to the religious-lawyer that may have been the end of their conversation. But the conjunction to the first half of His response — do this, and you will live — put the legalist on the back foot. Jesus had just exposed the very obstacle that was deep in his spiritually dead soul that was hindering him from obtaining the eternal life that he had originally enquired about. The lawyer had a head-knowledge of what God required of those who sought to live righteously when he cited Deuteronomy 6:4 and Leviticus 19:18 in his answer to Jesus — but he did not have this as a heart-knowledge resulting in genuine compassion for others. Sensing the gaze of the seventy-two onlookers he now sought to justify himself.

¶ But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus,
“And who is my neighbour?”
Luke 10:29


The Jewish leaders had a very strict understanding of who God accepted and who God rejected. Obviously, they taught, God had accepted the Jews as His favourite – particularly Jewish men. Jewish women were sort of accepted, but only as second-class members of God’s people. This obviously also meant that unless a gentile (a non-Jew) converted to Judaism they could not be accepted by God. Therefore, God rejected all gentiles — and He especially rejected Roman gentiles — but He reserved His ultimate rejection for Samaritans!

When the lawyer-priest asked a question back at Christ, “Who is my neighbour?” he may have naively thought that he had asked Jesus a “Gotchya!” question. But Christ exposed the lawyer’s bigotry with a great deal of tenderness by telling one of His greatest parables not just to the priest-lawyer but also the seventy-two disciples who were listening intently to this dramatic exchange.



Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.
Luke 10:30 ESV

In the original Greek of Luke 10:30 it describes the man (anthropos) with a little Greek work tis which means a certain man. He is not identified as a Jew, or a Greek, or a Gentile. We are not told what his skin colour was. We are not told his age. We are not told his social-class. We are not told what his Muttersprache (mother-tongue) was. He is identified by Christ with the identity that is common to all people because the Greek word anthropos is also the Greek word for human being – male or female. People do not need another identifying label to be immeasurably valuable other than the one we all share — human being.

This person was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho even though he was heading north. In one sense he was going down because Jerusalem is 2,500 feet above sea-level and Jericho, in the Jordan Valley, is 800 feet below sea-level. But in another sense, Jews regarded Jerusalem as the holy City that was the dwelling place of God on earth. Yet just outside the precincts of this supposedly holy territory was a stretch of road leading to Jericho that had become notoriously dangerous due to the thieves and robbers who preyed on its travellers. The lawyer was expecting Jesus to answer his question of “who” was his neighbour but instead Christ answers the question that the lawyer should have asked.



Christ’s story begins a with a priest travelling down that same road. This was probably more pointed that us modern readers might immediately appreciate. The lawyer, who was probably a priest, could have injected at this point in the story by pointing out that since the man was “half dead” this gave justification for the priest to avoid such a man since a priest was not permitted to have contact with a dead person while on temple duty. But the priest in this story is not travelling to Jerusalem. He was clearly off-duty because he was travelling down the road to Jericho. And even the next character in this story had no excuse, because he too was travelling down this road.



The scandalous twist in Christ’s story comes when He describes a Samaritan — a Samaritan — as the righteous hero! This Samaritan was a businessman. He had places to be and people to see. Yet, despite his pressing commitments he stopped to tend to this severely beaten and wounded man – who was probably a Jew! He disinfected the man’s wounds by pouring wine over them. He cleaned away the blood from the many gashes the man had suffered and then applied oil to man’s wounds to stop the bleeding and reduce the swelling to enable the healing process to begin to mend. And while he could have thought that he had now done enough, he then placed the man on his donkey and carried him to an inn (which were themselves often dangerous places and would not have batted an eye-lid to extort a visiting Samaritan) where he remained the night taking care of the beaten man and then took from his purse two denarii to pay the inn-keeper the equivalent of two days wages for him to care for the beaten traveller – and promised to pay whatever else was needed when he returned.


Jesus asked the lawyer-priest which of the three showed compassion for the abused man (Luke 10:36). The story that Jesus told not only answered the lawyer’s question- Who is my neighbour? It answered the greater question embedded in the lawyer’s original answer which he had cited from Leviticus 19:18, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” The question the priest-lawyer should have asked was not the Who is in? and Who is out? question, but, How can I obey Leviticus 19:18 by truly obeying this command to love my neighbour?

And while Jesus highlighted three characters in this story, there is a fourth character who is worth considering especially considering the audience to this exchange was the seventy-two disciples who would go on to become the founding members of the redeemed community—theChurch—that Christ was about to establish.

Each of the characters in this story reveal something about God’s heart for people. The Priest character represented heartless religion that was all about outward show and the approval of people. The Levite, who served within the Temple as assistants to the Priests represented the religiously devout who take care of the day-to-day things pertaining to a worship service and its ceremonies, yet are so caught up in their religious duties that they no longer truly see hurting people who need their care. The Samaritan was a member of what the Jews considered to be justifiably the most despised people on the planet. There are striking similarities between the Samaritan and Jesus. But it is the inn-keeper who should catch our attention. He is the one to whom the Samaritan entrusted the care of the hurting man. It is to him that the Samaritan promises the necessary financial and material provision necessary to care the hurting and broken man. The inn-keeper represents the Church.

It seems that the seventy-two gathered disciples certainly did get the point of Christ had just taught. The Who is my neighbour? question was answered and acted up when the Church embraced Gentile converts into Christianity and in a very literal application of what Jesus taught, they literally set up hospitals to care for the literally wounded people they came across. 

Today, we can recognise that Jesus is the Antitype (Ultimate Expression) of the Good Samaritan. He still finds the hurting, lost, confused, abused, beaten, and broken of this world along life’s highways and brings them to His various “inns” (local churches) for us to care for them. He still ensures all the necessary resources will be made available to His Church for this to happen. I rather like to hope that in this story the Jewish inn-keeper was moved by the compassion of the Samaritan and became his co-compassionate representative in much the same that our church should similarly be representatives of Christ’s great compassion for all people too.



Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbour to the man who fell among the robbers?”
He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Luke 10:36-37

May God give us the grace to be such a local church for the hurting and wounded of this world to find the healing for their aching souls that only Christ can provide!


Your Pastor,


Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.


  1. Charles Otieno

    Thanks pastor for digging deep into this chapter. I’m blessed.


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Domestic violence, sexual assault, date-rape, sexual trafficking of minors, marital infidelity, street-gang violence, illicit drug abuse, high rates of suicide, increased ‘deaths of despair’, homelessness, are all major problems in our culture right now. Governments regard these issues as matters of justice (punishing offenders) while agencies regard these issues as matters of social justice (helping victims). Both are valuable but neither are equipped or positioned unilaterally to solve the causes of these growing problems, and many in both of these sectors believe that it can mever be solved. But I believe they can be. And I need your help. To achieve this, I propose two outrageous, yea – ridiculous – strategies. They are outrageous because they are simple (although not easy); and, they are ridiculous because, to materialists, these are just fanciful, idealistic and supernatural nonsense. However, I have history on my side. It will involve men and women, young and old. But I particularly need all men to read what I am about to propose and for them to share this with other men and together with everyone else help me to bring about the biggest social and cultural revolution our country has ever seen.


Perhaps I was a little unfair to this gentleman though, because it is a well established fact that all men are born with selective hearing (as every wife can testify to) and perhaps this may sometimes spill over into incidents such as the one I just recounted(?). But I also suspect that some women have a similar deficiency.

A few years ago the kids and I were a little concerned about Kim’s hearing difficulties. As it turned out, one day outside a shopping centre that we had just arrived at, there was a government sponsored mobile hearing clinic. We urged the reluctant Kim to go in and have her hearing checked. Much to the utter shock of myself and our children the clinician told Kim that she had “perfect hearing”! This then proved that even women may be able to imitate the innate ability of a man to produce selective hearing 🙂 Therefore, there is a high likelihood that both men and women are equally subject to hearing difficulties.

The problem with any hearing difficulties is that it inevitably leads to the far more serious problem of misunderstanding. Misunderstanding is at the heart of nearly every relationship problem that anyone will ever face. Misunderstandings due to mis-hearing or mis-communication frequently leads to disputes that if not handled correctly, which it is mostly not, is likely to lead to relationship breakdowns. But there is a different – almost secretive – way to deal with misunderstandings. Let me explain by using several pictures that will make my point. 


Mark Lowry is normally comedic. But his now classic Christmas song is no joke! It presents baby Jesus as the eternal God the Son, the creator of heaven and earth, the Saviour of the world, the Redeemer of all humankind who turn to Him, the all-conquering Lamb of God, and the Great Judge of all people, the I AM. The event of His miraculous conception is known as the incarnation (God becoming human). But the incarnation was not Jesus the Christ’s first entrance into our world. In fact, it is as though He felt a divine right to enter our world any time He chose. These various appearances of Jesus prior to His incarnation are referred to as theophanies (appearances of God) or more particularly as Christophanies (appearances of God the Son). I want to highlight one of these in particular…


We have all seen parents abruptly terminate conversations with other adults to keep an eye on their children. Children can wander about easily. They could get involved in acts that are detrimental to themselves. Parental instincts, often reflected more in the mother, is one of those protective gifts that ensures children are kept safe.

THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST, Chapter 6 – The deGorified Newborn The ReGlorified Lamb of God

One of my favourite stories of concealed identity hiding in plain sight is from Victor Hugo’s 1862 novel, Les Miserables, where the escaped convict, Jean Valjean, is pursued for years by now retired Inspector Javert. As it turns out Jean Valjean, who had changed his name to M. Madeleine has now become a successful business man and the Mayor of Toulon. Javert arrives in Toulon and is immediately recognised by Valjean. But Javert does not recognise the now clean-shaven, genteel aristocratic Mayor of Toulon as his nemesis. But when he observes the compassion of M. Madeleine he recalls the time in prison when Jean Valjean had also displayed a similar extraordinary compassion for unfortunate fellow prisoners. The more he observed such acts of kindness and generosity from M. Madeleine the more Javert became convinced of the true identity of Madeleine. There is something about this idea of concealed identity that comes from the story of Christ. The prophet Isaiah foretold that when the Servant of the LORD would appear He would be largely unrecognised – there would be no form, no beauty, that we would desire Him (Isa. 53:2). But how on earth was this possible? How in God’s Name  could those who were created by Him in His image not recognise Him for who He was? The answer to this great puzzle lies in one word: the kenosis.


Andrew, on occasions, used to wistfully say, “You know, all I really want is…” then he would say some ephemeral pleasure, like ‘a drink of coke’, or ‘quiet’, or ‘to get something finished’. So, one day I decided to ensure that his greatest desire (‘all I really want’) was met. This time all he ever wanted was a coffee, so I bounced up and brought him the best cup of coffee I could make and added a little yummy treat to compliment it. A few days later he once again said, “All I really want…” and I interrupted to finish his sentence for him … “was the cup of coffee that I was able to make for you the other day. I bet it was the best ever. I’m so glad I could meet that greatest desire you have.” He never said, ‘All I really want’ again!


THE LORDSHIP of JESUS CHRIST, Chapter 5 – He is the Creator of Heaven & Earth and all things Visible and Invisible
While the pagan religions in the days of the patriarchs, judges, and kings of Israel, all conceived of their gods as territorial, the God of Israel, Yeshua, declared that He was the Creator of all things and that He was Lord of Heaven and Earth. And He still is.

Freedom in Christ encompasses Freedom FROM and Freedom FOR

God offers freedom to those who turn to Him in faith, and this, as Pastor Andrew says, deserves a Toyota jump. It is worth celebrating. The freedom the New Testament speaks of is not just any old freedom. In Romans 8:21 Paul speaks of ‘the glorious freedom of God’s children’ (NET). In the same way you might savour a piece of chocolate as it slowly melts in your mouth, allow your spirit to savour the meaning of the freedom that is yours in Christ in all its richness. This single word freedom is densely packed with meaning, and we benefit from taking time to unpack just a little of what it means for believers.


Throughout the Old Testament, God made certain promises to the patriarchs (Abraham, Issac, and Jacob/Israel) that their descendants, the nation of Israel, longed to see fulfilled. These promises centred on having a holy Homeland and a Messiah. Over the centuries that followed their expulsion from their Land which sent them into exile into Babylon initially and then into Persia, the Israelites became known as Jews. Their expectations of how these divine promises would be fulfilled became greatly embellished with powerful military overtones.

THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST, Chapter 3 – Before He was Incarnate, He was the Eternal LBefore He was Incarnate, He was the Eternal Lordord

For those unfamiliar with the story of the Bible who may be seeking to remedy that unfamiliarity, I would recommend that they start reading in the New Testament. It is there that they will be introduced immediately to Jesus who is the central character of the whole Bible. For many novice readers of the Bible who then attempt to read the Old Testament of the Bible (its first 39 books), it initially seems like they are reading a completely unrelated story which seems to describe a completely different God. But with a little patience and persistence the reader will begin to suspect that this is not a different story but is in fact the prequel to the New Testament. Then a strange supernatural thing happens as they continue to become acquainted with the lives of the patriarchs, judges, kings and prophets, as these characters interact with enemies, giants, angels, strange heavenly beings, and GOD Himself. The reader begins to see in a similar way to what a photographer could not previously see clearly until his camera’s focus was adjusted to make the picture clear — the GOD who created, acted, spoke and judged, frequently referred to Himself as ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘our’, and at times seemed to have conversations with divine characters identified as ‘the LORD’ and ‘Me’ and ‘His Spirit’ (Isa. 48:16). And this all begins to sound very reminiscent of the GOD described in the New Testament as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. With a growing knowledge of the Bible and hunger to understand it, the follower of Christ discovers that literally for thousands of years prior to this day there have been many many others who have also walked the journey of discovery through the mysterious pages of the Bible and have each made a startling discovery about the human Jesus’ pre-existence throughout the pages of the Old Testament.