Nearly everyone is familiar with the parable of the good Samaritan, found in Luke 10:30-34.
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.
Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.
He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
There are several people mentioned in it and there are lessons to be learned from each one of them.
The main character, of course, is the Samaritan. Jesus cited him as an example to follow if we wish to carry out God’s command to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Just as the Samaritan is a positive example for us to follow, the priest and Levite who saw the injured man and passed by on the other side of the road are negative examples, warning us of behavior we should avoid.
The robbery victim himself shows us our condition apart from God. We cannot do anything to save ourselves and are certain to perish unless God sends someone to meet our needs.
But there is one other person in the parable who is often overlooked. He is mentioned in verse 35:
And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, “Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.”
What can we learn from studying the innkeeper?
The Samaritan and the innkeeper apparently knew each other well enough to trust each other. The Samaritan was confident that if he gave the innkeeper money to help the injured man it would be used for that purpose. And the innkeeper believed the Samaritan’s promise that he would return and reimburse him for any added costs.
The innkeeper’s responsibility is an illustration of the responsibility that God has given to Christians. He has commanded us to help those who are in need and he has given us the physical and spiritual resources we need to carry out this task. Jesus has promised that he will return and when that happens we will be rewarded according to how well we have fulfilled our responsibility.