It would have been shocking for Jesus to have told the people that this man was helped by just an ordinary man. It is not even a Jew helping a Jew, but rather a Samaritan helping a Jew who had been ignored by his fellow Jews. Given the mutual hatred between Jews and Samaritans, it would have been more likely to have expected the Samaritan to finish the guy off. Today we call this story “The Parable of The Good Samaritan.” In fact the very phrase, “good Samaritan” has become part of our common language. But this was definitely not a phrase in use by Jews of Jesus’ day. In fact, they probably couldn’t have even considered saying the words “good” and “Samaritan” in the same sentence.
The passage says that “when he saw him, he had compassion,” the Greek word used here for compassion (splanchnizomai) is a very vivid one. It comes from a word that refers to the intestines, or bowels. It’s the equivalent of what we mean when we talk about a “gut feeling.” A gut feeling is one that comes from the deepest part of who we are. The Samaritan saw the same pitiful man lying in agony beside the road and his heart churned within him so that he could not pass by without helping. That’s the way compassion affects us. It stirs us; it troubles us, it keeps us awake at night until we do something.
When that Samaritan looked at that suffering man lying half-dead by the side of the road, something happened in his gut; something that made it impossible for him to walk away. He didn’t decide to help this guy on the basis of how worthy he was. He helped him because of how needy he was.
There is no a logical reason for the Samaritan to rearrange his plans or to spend his money to help an “enemy” in need. Of all the people who passed this injured man by the Samaritan had the least reason to help, he was a no-account in his society before this incident and his good deed would not change his status in the community at large.