Who is this man people think He knows so much? The teachers of the law are upset at what He is doing and rightfully so. He is getting the people excited and they are paying so much attention to Him. The carpenter? Joseph’s son? They call him teacher. What qualifications does He have? I am a Lawyer, I love God and do everything the way the law commands me to. I have been studying the law and the scriptures for years and live by these. Let’s see if He can answer my questions! I will get him and put him in his place. These thoughts are from Luke 10:25-37
The scripture starts by saying that a lawyer stood up and put him to the test. His question was “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? As law abiding individual , He must have been associated with the Pharisees as they believed in eternal life, Sadducees did not. His motive was not of humility as to learn but as of self-righteousness. How often are we here?. Feeling as we are following “The Scriptures” “following the Law”” self-righteous” and judgemental of others?
Jesus knew his heart and put this question back on him and said “What is written in the law? and how does it read to you?” The lawyer’s answer was a black and white statement, read word by word as written in Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. He said ” 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”
His answer was like saying two times two is four, I do this and then I get that. Jesus acknowledged that His answer was right and sure He says, do this and you will live. Jesus was not going behind the scenes as to what extent does fulfilling the law to the letter means if salvation is solely based on the law. The Lawyer’s following question gives Jesus a chance to explain what the law can’t do.
The lawyer was feeling pretty good at his correct answer but thinking he was ahead of Jesus on this he delivered his punch line! Surely Jesus could not expect him to get along with his neighbors such as the Samaritans? They were Israel’s neighbors but not God’s people for they were unclean and worshippers of other gods. Samaritans were their enemies.
If Jesus would say that they were his neighbors, and he was to love them as he loved God, he would have him trapped! He thought he had Him! He would be justified. Such smart lawyer! We have no information on the lawyers dealings. Only he and God knew what things he had done in the name of the law. perhaps others present also knew for the scripture says that wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “and who is my neighbor?”
Jesus’s answer is the well-known “good Samaritan story”. He gives this story in a matter that the lawyer can’t twist. Yes, He uses the Samaritans as the example of who his neighbors were but also stripped down to the humanistic aspect of life instead of the legalism the lawyer was so used to rely upon. I believe Jesus knew exactly what the lawyer wanted him to say don’t you? That is why the protagonists of the story are the Samaritan and the two Law abiding individuals such as the Levite and the priest, both of whom passed by and ignored the injured man.
We are to assume that the injured man was an Israelite for he was going from Jerusalem to Jericho but we are not told, for it does not matter. What matters is that a Samaritan who was repulsed by the Israelites pleased God by taking care of his neighbor, overcoming differences of skin, color, religion, culture,perhaps status? contrary to the priest and the Levite who spent hours studying and carrying the law, being representatives of God and righteousness but showed no mercy and no compassion.
what could the lawyer say? The carpenter got him! He could not find another way to trap him. He knew the Samaritan had gone above and beyond to provide care for the injured man. When Jesus asked which of these three proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers hands? He could not say anything other than “the one who showed mercy toward him” then Jesus said to him “Go and do the same”
It is easy to take the road of righteousness and think that God likes for us to take a ritualistic attitude toward worshipping, proving our love for Him in this manner and following all the rules and regulations previously given or placed by us or others. Rules that really take us away and not closer to God. The law was given, it is to be followed and Jesus came to fulfill it.
Jesus also came to tell us that the most important commandment which fulfills all others, is the one of loving the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our strength, and with all our mind: and our neighbor as ourselves.This is what Jesus constantly showed us was key. Who is your neighbor and how have you showed God you love him/her as yourself? As we come across each other, let us see each other not through our differences for they are merely uniqueness and the forefront of a perfectly crafted individual created under His image to do good works!