25 Then an expert in the law stood up to test him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the law?” he asked him. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “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 “You’ve answered correctly,” he told him. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus took up the question and said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him, beat him up, and fled, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and when he saw the man, he had compassion. 34 He went over to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on olive oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him. When I come back I’ll reimburse you for whatever extra you spend.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” 37 “The one who showed mercy to him,” he said. Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”
What do you do when you are challenged to take the right action? Do you make the right choice—even if you have never done it before, don’t want to, or feel the pressure of the world to decline?
In Luke 10, we have a story of a conversation between Jesus and an expert in the law. This was common for Jesus as his teachings attracted in scribes, Pharisees, and Jewish scholars. In this interaction, the expert asked Jesus a question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus’ response gets him to answer the question by referencing what the expert already knows. Jesus says the response is correct and if the expert does this, “You will live.”
But the expert further questions Jesus: “How far do I have to go? Are there limits to who is a neighbor?” This is when Jesus tells the familiar story of the Good Samaritan. In which the Samaritan would not have been considered a “neighbor” by the expert, yet he still did the right thing to help someone.
Jesus gets the expert to admit this and tells him the answer to his question: “Go and do the same.” He is helping the expert to see that a neighbor includes “anyone.” Loving people is always the right thing.
One of my personal core principles is “do the right thing.” It does not matter what the person has done to you, who they are, or what they look like. You just do the right thing. But you must see the people and world around you and know to do the right thing.
This is our charge with this passage. Live your life to do the right thing. Love your neighbor, who is everyone and anyone. Work to keep your eyes open to be able to see them clearly. Then when the opportunity arises, do the right thing. Your reward…eternity.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Do you see everyone as a neighbor as Jesus defined it?
- If you can see them as a neighbor, are you loving them well?
- Where are instances that you have/have not loved?