Luke 10:25–37 (NKJV)
Today’s reading begins with a dialogue between Jesus and a lawyer (also known as a scribe or expert in the Jewish law). He approaches Jesus to ask about the way to eternal life.
25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”Luke 10:25-28
26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
The initial discourse finds the lawyer testing Jesus with a question. He asks what is required to inherit eternal life. Jesus turns the question back to Him and asks what the law says. The lawyer answers well, citing Mosaic law to love God with all of one’s being, and to love one’s neighbor as well. . Jesus commends Him for His wisdom and promises Him eternal life if He obeys this law.
29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”Luke 10:29-37
30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ 36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
The lawyer, not quite satisfied, asks for clarification, wanting to know who qualifies as his neighbor. Jesus proceeds to tell the story of an unnamed, undesignated man who was beaten and robbed and left for dead. A priest passed by, doing nothing. A Levite (temple employee) at least looked at the man, but still passed him by. A Samaritan (mixed breed Jew, unwelcome among respectable Jews) had compassion and brought him to an inn, bandaged his wounds, and provided for his care while he went on to his destination, promising to return and pay any remaining bill. Jesus asked the man which of the three was his neighbor. He replied that the one who showed compassion was his neighbor, and Jesus instructed Him to do likewise.
Jesus told us to love our neighbor. He did not qualify which neighbors, or what their ethnic, cultural, political, or socio-economic background might be. He just told us to love our neighbor. If a Samaritan can do it, so can we! But the Samaritan is our neighbor as well. Stop deciding who to love and love everyone. “How can we do that?” you might ask. By loving God with all our being first. He loved us. He is awesome. He is transformative. He will help you love others if you will love Him completely. Christians don’t have to accept someone’s sin or sinful life, but they must love that sinner. Perhaps the reason we cannot love some of our neighbors is because we have not embraced the love of God fully ourselves. Think about it.
Artwork from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqErZVndeqA and https://www.etsy.com/listing/659330957/love-your-neighbor-tee-muscle-tank-v?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=love+your+neighbor&ref=sr_gallery-1-1&frs=1&col=1