Representative roles of the Priest, Levite, and Samaritan in Luke 10:30-35 in the context of Luke’s travel narrative
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This project employs a socio-historical and exegetical methodology that examines the context and meaning of the passage in Luke 10:25-37, exploring the author’s intent in contrasting the roles of the priest and Levite as opposed to that of the Samaritan. The study’s parameters situate these characters within Luke’s literary context and within the socio-economic circumstances of first-century Palestine. The literature review establishes a current lack of substantial scholarly contributions regarding the priest’s and Levite’s representative qualities within the Lukan travel narrative (9:51-19:27). Addressing this research gap, this exegetical study identifies the socio-historical background, appraises Luke 10:25-37, and synthesizes the findings regarding the author’s intent, utilizing the precedent for Lukan parabolic interpretation as a re-telling of Israel’s history. Finally, this project applies its findings to the African context, considering various forms of banditry, specifically abuses of the clergy and implications for missiology. The study contributes a key message conveyed by the Lukan author in this parable. It begins to fill the knowledge gap regarding Luke’s intentional use of the priest and Levite as failed temple representatives contrasted with the Samaritan as a successful representative of the “new temple”. This indictment of the Temple establishment occurs in the context of the overall theme of Jesus’ journey toward Jerusalem and his eventual “cleansing of the Temple”. Rather than simply expressing how to treat one another, the parable plays a role in reimagining Israel’s story, relativizing the method of cult and sacrifice and re-focusing beyond Jerusalem to a broader view of God’s kingdom, which is defined by a demonstration of love and compassion that exceeds socio-economic and geo- political boundaries. Just as the priest and Levite symbolized the Temple they served, made ineffective due to socio-economic and political abuses, so Christians today must consider whether today’s religious representatives align with Jesus’ standards of God’s kingdom.
Africa Nazarene University