The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Today’s booklet entry makes reference to a scripture passage to be read and understood in its context.
When we read a passage of Scripture, there are many layers of meaning. We should find it fairly easy to grasp a lot of what God wants us to understand if we read the Gospels in prayer. However that Word also needs to be interpreted and so we can go even deeper in our understanding of a passage. Have a look at this parable from Luke 10:30-37
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Here are some explanations which will help you understand the passage better.
In the Gospel of Luke, Jerusalem is the centre of communion with God because there was the Temple. Leaving Jerusalem (2.300 feet above sea level) and traveling through the desert down to Jericho (1,400 feet below sea level) is a downward journey. What would you think the significance of this may be?
The Jews and the Samaritans were anything but friends. There was an ancient animosity between the two. The Jews considered the Samaritans to be heretics who, amongst others things, insisted on worshipping God in Samaria not in Jerusalem. How does this fact help you understand Jesus’ point in the parable even better?
The priest and the Levite were religious people. According to a ritual law of the time, had they touched a corpse they would have to go through a purification process before being able to worship in the Temple in Jerusalem. Seeing the man half-dead they probably assumed that until they got him to a place where he could be taken care of, he may have died. Then they would be ‘ritually impure.’ What does this tell us about them and about ourselves?
Don’t be concerned if you were unable to answer these questions. Our purpose here is just to illustrate how commentaries, talks and books can help us understand the bible better.