Luke 10:25-29 (NLT)
25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” 27 The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” 29 The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In these verses we find someone known to be a religious expert, someone who would be expected to have the answers, and someone who others might perceive as wise asking Jesus a question. The question, “What should I do to inherit eternal life?” The real intent behind his question, “what laws should I follow in this present life so that I might have eternal life.” Jesus knew where the expert’s heart was so he allowed him to use “the law” as a standard of measurement for righteousness. He quickly stated Moses’ law and then to justify himself as someone who should receive eternal life he asked Jesus, “who is my neighbor.
Samaria had been overrun by Assyrians years before Christ was born. The people had mixed the Assyrian beliefs with their Jewish beliefs. They intermarried and carried on the values of both cultures. Even modern date genetic studies show the current day people of Samaria are descendants of Israelites and Assyrians. There was an ill relationship between Jews and Samaritans because of their past history. The Samaritans were well aware of the Jews bitterness towards them. The Bible says Jesus was sitting by the well, when a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” The Samaritans knew how deeply they were despised by Jews. It is why Jesus used the parable of The Good Samaritan to answer the religious expert. Jesus described how two Jewish religious leaders had passed a Jewish man robbed and beaten. Yet a Samaritan stopped to help the Jew and take care of him. Jesus knew the man asking him the question would have despised the Samaritans, just as most of the Jews did. So when Jesus asked him, “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” Jesus knew for the religious expert to show kindness to a Samaritan that there would have to be a change in his life. He knew the man would have to find something deeper than his beliefs in the law if he were to extend kindness to a Samaritan. How do you justify yourself in life? Do you try to say you are doing the right things, but then realize you are not? Paul says in Romans, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. It is faith in Christ that justifies us and gives us eternal life. And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. Praise God and praise our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.