Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

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By Todd Fife
Branch President Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 

Master, What Shall I Do?


Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

To answer this, Christ gave us one of the most influential parables ever recorded—that of the good Samaritan. I love this parable. We all know it…here we have a Priest, a Levite and a Samaritan who all responded in their own way to a traveler who was stripped, beaten and left for dead.

When I first was taught this parable, I understood that the lesson was to become more like the good Samaritan. While comparing our lives to that of the good Samaritan is not a bad thing to do, today I invite you to look at this story in maybe a slightly different way—the way this parable was often analyzed in early Christianity. Consider for a moment, how your life is similar to that of the traveler, rather than the Samaritan.

“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho….”

Imagine you are the traveler leaving Jerusalem (your place of sanctuary) to Jericho (the lowest city on earth). Like the traveler, we willingly left the presence of our Father in heaven to travel here to earth and this mortality.

“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.”

So here we are, we are traveling in this imperfect world, we are suffering the pains of life, the travails of the soul and the afflictions due to diverse sins and vices.

How is it, that we are to get back home with our Father in Heaven? We can’t do it alone can we? We need help.

“And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

The priest can’t (or won’t) help us. The Levite can’t help us. Only the Samaritan can and in our lives the Samaritan in the story represents Christ.

But a certain Samaritan…went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

The Samaritan came purposefully with oil and bandages The bandages represent love, faith, and hope—ligatures of our salvation. He also poured wine onto the open wound to cleanse it. Which we can equate to the atoning blood of Christ that washes away sin and purifies our soul.

And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Christ came down to this earth with one purpose—to rescue us half dead travelers. He, like the Samaritan in the story, has physically left for a time but has promised to come again! He has promised to pay our debts! What a glorious gift.

Master, what shall I do to obtain eternal life?

Do you have a new prospective on this question now? I certainly do, and I am so grateful for the merciful atoning sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ—my good Samaritan.


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