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THE GOOD SAMARITAN



 

It’s a great question: “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25).

 

It’s the same question asked by the Rich Young Ruler. “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18).

 

And after a devastating earthquake in Philippi, when the prisoners could have easily escaped, the jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).

 

Just prior to Jesus’ Parable of the Good Samaritan, “an expert in the law stood up to test him, saying, ‘Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ” (Luke 10:25). He asked a great question! Jesus’ answer was brief and pointed. “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” (Luke 10:27). Here, Jesus quoted two Old Testament passages. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5) and “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).

 

The “expert in the law” then asked Jesus a follow up question: “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29). To answer the query, Jesus told a parable.

 

“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” (Luke 10:30). It was a seventeen-mile journey with a three-thousand-foot descent. Some called it the Valley of the Shadow of Death. For this man, it was a living hell. Naked, broken, bloody, and alone, he lay helplessly in the dust.

 

Finally, a priest… but “he passed by on the other side” (Luke 10:31.) Later, a Levite… “when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side” (Luke 10:32). They were upstanding, well-respected, highly-religious… yet they didn’t love their neighbor!

 

Later, a Samaritan happened along the desolate road. Samaritans were the detested and despised half-breed Assyrians. In the eyes of the “expert of the law”, a Samaritan was barely human, but as Jesus told the story, He pictured the Samaritan: “When he saw the man, he had compassion. 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” (Luke 10:33-34). The Samaritan, not the priest and not the Levite, had compassion of the destitute traveler.

 

Jesus continued: “The next day (the Samaritan) 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’ ” (Luke 10:35).

 

After telling the memorable story, Jesus asked the convicting rhetorical question: “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” (Luke 10:36). The answer was obvious. “Then Jesus told him, ‘Go and do the same’ ” (Luke 10:37).




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