If the Good Samaritan represents Jesus as many Church Fathers claimed, see Is Jesus the Good Samaritan? , what does Luke 10:35 mean?

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 (Luke 10:35, ESV)

Does this represent Jesus' atonement for our sin?

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    As always, context is critical! In Luke 10:29 (ESV), we can see that Jesus is responding to a question: "But he [the questioner], desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?'" Then, in Luke 10:36,37, after relating the parable, Jesus asked the questioner: "Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor 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.” Thus the parable defines a "neighbor." It's not about Jesus.
    – Dieter
    Commented Feb 23 at 6:10
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    What a narrow way to view this parable/story! Pretty much anyone who did what the guy did in the story is a Good Samaritan! IMHO this is a total waste of time for something so inherently obvious. Commented Feb 23 at 13:12
  • Where do you get such ideas, please? Who thinks the Good Samaritan represents Jesus is welcome to justify that. How could that help with Luke 10:35 (ESV or which)? What could paying two denarii and 'whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back' change? How could that or anything similar represent Jesus' or anyone else's atonement for anything? Commented Feb 24 at 0:03

4 Answers 4


If Jesus is the Good Samaritan (and I do not think this is what he meant to teach here) then the message is that an uncredentialled preacher from the backwoods of Galilee can practice the commandment to "love one's neighbor" more truly than even a priest or a Levite.

A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. 32 Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. 33 But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight.

In John 8:48 Jesus' opponents insulted him asking: “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and are possessed?” But Jesus knew from personal experience that Samaritans could be receptive to God's word (John 4:39) and were capable of kindness to strangers. Like the Samaritans, Galileans were considered unsophisticated and ignorant of the Law compared to the "scholar/teacher of the law" who tested Jesus in Luke 9. So Jesus used the Samaritan as an example to show that one does need not priestly or intellectual credentials to practice what scholars and priests only preached.

In terms of the Church Fathers, those who saw Jesus as the Good Samaritan tended to interpret the parable as an allegory for Christ saving sinners. Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria both saw the good Samaritan in this way.

Conclusion: Whether Jesus used the Samaritan to represent himself or not, the lesson of the parable is that "loving one's neighbor" is not a matter of priestly or scholarly training but of practicing the spirit of what the Law actually taught. The Church Fathers, on the other hand, sometimes interpreted the Good Samaritan as representing Jesus' role in salvation.

  • Agreed!!! Great answer. +1.
    – Dottard
    Commented Feb 23 at 4:10
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    To understand Irenaeus and Clement we need to consider how we interpret scripture versus how they did, They had no trouble with more than one interpretation of a parable, Thus, they would see both interpretations as valid, We can see the Good Samaritan as representing Jesus, but only in the sense of the primary meaning of the parable. Jesus' actions showed helping others was more important than ceremonial cleanliness or even keeping the Sabbath. It justified why Jesus healed on the Sabbath among other things.
    – Perry Webb
    Commented Feb 23 at 11:00
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    Interesting answer Dan. I always interpreted the parable as a demonstration that living out the spirit of the law (i.e., loving your neighbor) is either impossible or something we have all violated (hence, all have sinned). The logical realization would be, if I have failed to love my neighbor (the second greatest command) then I have also failed to love God with all my heart/mind/strength (greatest command). While applicable to us all, Jesus was showing the lawyer that he was not as good as he thought.
    – tnknepp
    Commented Feb 23 at 18:42
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    Allegorizing This is a good example--and warning--about the tendency to allegorize unnecessarily or inappropriately. The parables of Jesus were spoken to present a moral, not to be mysteriously interpreted. The Early Theologians often made too much of a single thought Jesus wished to present. The thought here is just an answer to the question: "Who is a neighbor?"
    – ray grant
    Commented Feb 23 at 23:01
  • Perhaps Jesus’ intention is multi-layered. Meant as a pointed answer to “who is my neighbor”, as a moral story, and as an allegory. Matt 22:37-40 and Luke 10:25-37 both mention the event. In Jesus’ tale, love in the form of compelling pity moved the Samaritan ‘outsider’ to cross the stigma of religious and cultural boundaries to give aid to the Jewish ‘insider’. This act shows both spiritual maturity and an understanding and fulfillment of the heart of God’s law, something the other passers-by, one a priest, did not have.
    – Rachel
    Commented Mar 9 at 3:48

If the good Samaritan represents Jesus, then Luke 10:35 is interpreted as follows;

The two denarii symbolize the Old Testament and the New Testament, while the innkeeper represent a church leader. The beaten man is the sinner who is rescued and cared for by Jesus, portrayed as the good Samaritan. Jesus brought the man to the church and he is nurtured within the church community. If the church leader serves the Lord by tending to those in need, they will be rewarded upon the return of Jesus.

While this interpretation holds a certain beauty that resonates with me personally, it is unlikely to represent the original intent. The depth of this interpretation extends beyond what the original audience could have comprehended. I firmly believe that Jesus' parables are crafted to be readily understood by the contemporary audience.

Does this represent Jesus' atonement for our sin? The answer is "No". It is because none of the elements in the parable symbolize the sacrificial death of Jesus.


The Good Samaritan was a fictional character and yet was also a type of person in that day and age who was at odds with the victim and his people as a 'race', the main idea here is about what being a good Christian is all about, helping and serving EVERYBODY, not just those who are good to you, but also your enemies, ESPECIALLY your enemies, for in doing so, you may show them the kindness and compassion they need to see and have that will lead them to turn their lives around and someday NOT be your enemies anymore.

Jesus was essentially the NARRATOR, NOT the Samaritan in the story, sorry, no 'self insertion' here.

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Feb 23 at 22:44

The Good Samaritan.

It is a moving illustration of human kindness, the good Samaritan was moved with pity for the injured man, and approached him.

Luke 10:34-37 NASB

34 "and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 On the next day he took out two [b]denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.’ 36 Which of these three do you think [c]proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” 37 And he said, “The one who showed compassion to him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do [d]the same.”

Moved with compassion the Samaritan took care of the injured man, he used his initiative, time and energy to help him. This show to us that it is not sufficient to just attend a Christian sermon, and then feeling righteous ,but that we have to go out of our way and be willing to spend time and effort to be a neighbor to others.

Jesus is not the Samaritan,nor atonement for our sins.

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