A lawyer (a teacher of the law) comes to Jesus with a question to test him.
The question concerns his eternal destiny.
A lawyer stood up and put Him to the test,
saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
A lawyer wanted to trap Jesus with a trick question.
He said, “Master, what must I do to have eternal life?”
Well … How do you receive eternal life?
▪︎ Can you achieve this by strictly following the law, as the rabbis taught in His days?
▪︎ Or maybe Jesus has an addition to the law?
▪︎ Or maybe He even wants to replace parts of the law?
And He said to him,
“What is written in the Law?
How does it read to you?”
Jesus said to him: (Here it literally says Jesus took away the ground under him)
“What does the law of Moses say? What are you reading there? “
Jesus points to the law that we find in the books of Genesis through deuteronomy. (Deuteronomy 6: 5, Leviticus 19:18)
And he answered,
“You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your strength,
and with all your mind;
and your neighbor as yourself.”
The old word “neighbor” actually means “family member”.
But in general, the “neighbors” meant all people of the people of Israel.
They are all related because they have the same ancestor.
The lawyer believes that your eternal destiny has everything to do with the relationship you have with the Lord, and (inextricably linked to it) the relationship with your neighbor.
And He said to him,
“You have answered correctly;
do this and you will live.”
Then the lawyer responds to this answer as many people do these days. He asks a new question.
“And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)
Included in this question is: “And who is not my neighbor?”
In other words, “Where is the limit?”
Unfortunately, many believers have a greater need to talk and discuss things about religion and God, than that they have a desire to actually be Christians.
They respond in the same way as this lawyer, who passes on the truth of loving God and his neighbor to others, but does not apply it to himself.
By means of a parable, Jesus makes it clear to us and to him that we should not theorize about who is our neighbor, or who is not our neighbor, but that we ourselves should be a neighbor to others. (Compare Luke 10: 26-28 and Matthew 7:12)
³⁶ “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands? “
³⁷And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”
Some are reasoning that the priest and Levite of the parable supposedly served in the temple in Jerusalem and now returned to their home in Jericho.
Perhaps they thought the man on the road might already be dead, and they were afraid of becoming ‘unclean’? Because by touching a dead person they would become “unclean”. Maybe that’s why they didn’t want to touch him to see if he was still alive. And thus they considered their own “cleanliness” of more importance than caring for a seriously injured person.
Or were they perhaps worried that the robbers might still be around, so they wanted to pass that spot as soon as possible? And thus they considered their own “safety” of more importance than caring for a seriously injured person.
This type of reasoning stems from the same mind as asking “who is my neighbor” (Luke 10:29)
More important, however, than asking why they did not help, is the fact that they did not help.
But a Samaritan hated by Jews (Compare Luke 9:51-56) does what they should have done.
Jesus has been our neighbor here on earth. He has taken upon Himself our greatest need, our sins. To make us people who follow His example, and be neighbors to others (John 3:16)
Think about this: To whom can you be such a neighbor today?
▪︎ Ask God to shape your mind and you will, to become like a Samaritan that everyone looks down on, but does what He wants.
▪︎ Ask God to give you the same compassion for those who need your care or help, as the Samaritan in this parable.
▪︎ Ask God to take your hands and make them strong, so that they will be capable of faithfully doing His work.PS
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