Through the Bible in One Year

Day 94

Luke 10:25-37

Then an expert in the law stood up to test him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

“What is written in the law?” he asked him. “How do you read it?”

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.”

“You’ve answered correctly,” he told him. “Do this and you will live.”

But wanting to justify himself, he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

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. A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and 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. 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.’

“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”

“The one who showed mercy to him,” he said.

Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.” (CSB)

In todays’s passage there are two big questions we should asking ourselves.  Why did Jesus include a priest, a Levite and a Samaritan in this and who is my neighbor?

  1. Why did Jesus include a priest, a Levite and a Samaritan in this story?

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. A priest happened to be going down that road. When he saw him, he passed by on the other side. In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan on his journey came up to him, and 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. 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.’—Luke 10:30-35 (CSB)

Jesus included three kinds of individuals in this story, raising three kinds of expectations among his listeners.  A priest was God’s representative and a Levite was assistant—so called examples of righteousness.  The Samaritan, on the other hand, was despised for his ethnic and religious impurities, and as such he would have been expected to walk on by, which leads us to the most important question in today’s passage.

  1. Who is my neighbor?

“Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”

“The one who showed mercy to him,” he said.

Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”—Luke 10:36-37 (CSB)

Jesus here gets back to the whole point of this story: Who is my neighbor?  His point in telling this story was that the Samaritan proved he was a good neighbor by his gracious actions toward the man who had been attacked by robbers.  It was impossible for the scribe to avoid acknowledging that it was the Samaritan who showed mercy.  And Jesus’ reply “to go and do the same” emphasized that Jews should love their Samaritan neighbors even as the good Samaritan in the story had acted in love toward a Jew.  So, who then is you neighbor?  Very simply your neighbor is everyone you come into contact with as you go about your daily life.

Tomorrow’s Bible Readings:

Deuteronomy 26-27, Luke 10:38-11:13, Psalm 76:1-12 and Proverbs 12:15-17

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