“And behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, what is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?” Luke 10: 25-29
What shall I do to inherit eternal life? And who is my neighbor? Ok, before we talk about these two questions and how Jesus answered them, and before we go on to discuss the Good Samaritan we need to ask why did Jesus tell this story? Of course we know that he told this story as an answer to this lawyers second question, “And who is my neighbor?” but why didn’t Jesus just answer this question with a simple answer just like he did with this lawyers first question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” whereby Jesus simply said, “What is written in the law? How readest thou?” We must remember that Jesus’ wisdom far exceeds the wisdom of any and all men! The reason that Jesus answered this lawyers second question by telling a story about a man that fell among thieves is because the answer to, “And who is my neighbor?” is not found in the law, it cannot be acquired through reading and interpreting the law. This answer requires much more.
“And who is my neighbor?” Who is our neighbor is not completely answered by simply reading the law and interpreting it. The law many times will not cover the issues of the heart, issues such as compassion and mercy. It doesn’t usually compel us to bind up the wounds of the hurting or to wipe away the tears of a broken heart. These things and more cannot and will not be found by reading the law, they must be found within the heart of another, and the heart of another, or ourselves can only be compelled to know the answer to: “who is our neighbor.” By turning to a greater teacher and that teacher is Jesus and his words of love, mercy, compassion, and restoration. Only Jesus can teach us who our neighbor is, and in the Old Testament Law these were not so much the teacher as was the law. Not until Jesus came and there was a New Testament did we really learn who our neighbor is!
THROUGH JESUS WE INHERIT ETERNAL LIFE AND THROUGH JESUS WE NOW KNOW WHO OUR NEIGHBOR IS!