Que signifie être un « bon Samaritain » ?

Réponse de la Bible

L’expression « bon Samaritain » est souvent utilisée pour décrire une personne qui agit pour aider ceux qui en ont besoin. Ce terme tire son origine d’une histoire, d’une parabole, que Jésus a racontée pour montrer qu’une personne miséricordieuse aide les autres peu importe leur nationalité ou leurs origines.

 Qu’est-​ce que la parabole du « bon Samaritain » ?

Voici un résumé de l’histoire racontée par Jésus : Un Juif voyageait de Jérusalem à Jéricho. En route, il a été volé, battu et laissé pour mort.

Un prêtre, et plus tard un autre chef religieux, tous deux juifs, sont passés à côté de cet homme blessé. Même s’ils étaient de la même nationalité que lui, aucun d’eux ne s’est arrêté pour l’aider.

Ensuite, un homme d’une autre nation est passé, c’était un Samaritain (Luc 10:33 ; 17:16-18). Ému de pitié, le Samaritain a soigné le blessé, puis il l’a emmené dans une auberge. Il s’est occupé de lui toute la nuit. Le lendemain, il a payé l’aubergiste pour prendre soin de cet homme et il lui a proposé de couvrir toutes les dépenses supplémentaires (Luc 10:30-35).

Le bon Samaritain de l’illustration de Jésus, en train d’appliquer de l’huile sur les blessures d’un homme battu et laissé sur le bord de la route.

 Pourquoi Jésus a-​t-​il donné cette parabole ?

Jésus a raconté cette histoire à un homme qui pensait que seules les personnes de sa propre race et de sa propre religion étaient son prochain. Jésus a voulu enseigner à cet homme une leçon importante : il devait élargir sa conception du « prochain » en y incluant aussi les non-Juifs (Luc 10:36, 37). Ce récit a été intégré à la Bible pour être utile à tous ceux qui veulent plaire à Dieu (2 Timothée 3:16, 17).

 Quelle est la leçon de cette parabole ?

Cette histoire nous enseigne que nous devons manifester notre compassion par des actes. Nous devons combler les besoins de ceux qui souffrent, quelles que soient leur origine, leur race ou leur nationalité. Il nous faut agir envers les autres comme nous aimerions qu’ils agissent envers nous (Matthieu 7:12).

 Qui étaient les Samaritains ?

Les Samaritains vivaient dans un territoire au nord de la Judée. Certains d’entre eux étaient issus de mariages mixtes entre des Juifs et des non-Juifs.

Au 1er siècle, les Samaritains avaient formé leur propre secte religieuse. Ils acceptaient les cinq premiers livres des Écritures hébraïques, mais ils rejetaient le reste.

À l’époque de Jésus, beaucoup de Juifs méprisaient les Samaritains et refusaient de les côtoyer (Jean 4:9). Certains Juifs utilisaient même le terme « Samaritain » comme une insulte (Jean 8:48).

 L’histoire du « bon Samaritain » a-​t-​elle vraiment eu lieu ?

La Bible ne dit pas si la parabole du bon Samaritain était tirée d’une histoire vraie. Quoi qu’il en soit, Jésus se servait souvent dans ses enseignements de coutumes et de lieux bien connus de ses auditeurs, pour qu’ils comprennent facilement la leçon qu’il voulait dégager.

De nombreux détails de ce récit sont historiquement exacts. Par exemple :

  • La route qui va de Jérusalem à Jéricho était longue de plus de 20 kilomètres, avec un dénivelé d’un kilomètre, parfois abrupt. Le récit dit à juste titre que le voyageur qui allait à Jéricho « descendait de Jérusalem » (Luc 10:30).
  • Les prêtres et les Lévites qui vivaient à Jéricho se rendaient régulièrement à Jérusalem par cette route.
  • Les voleurs se cachaient souvent le long de cette route peu fréquentée, guettant les voyageurs sans méfiance, en particulier ceux qui voyageaient seuls.


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