Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 227
Context: The gospel of Luke, long considered the work of Paul's friend Luke the physician, is generally held by scholars to have been written, along with the book of Acts, by an unknown author. In His ministry, Jesus frequently employs the short, simple story which is termed a parable: the narrative of the good Samaritan falls into this category. A lawyer, attempting to heckle Jesus, asks how he may inherit eternal life. He and Jesus are in agreement that he is to love God completely and to love his neighbor as himself. Still tempting Jesus, the lawyer asks who is his neighbor. Jesus answers by telling the story of a man who is robbed and left along the road to die. A priest and a Levite, who might be expected to aid him since they are religious leaders, pass by without helping him; later he is graciously cared for by a Samaritan, one of a group traditionally despised by Jews:
And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
. . .
Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
And he said, He that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.