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 this passage Jesus is speaking with the religion leaders and one of them tested Jesus with a question about inheriting eternal life. Jesus knew they did not understand His purpose to bring salvation to all men. So Jesus asked the leader what the Mosaic Law said. The man gave a response that said love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said, �Right, do this and you will live�, for Jesus knew man was incapable of always loving God and his fellow man as he should. The religious leader knew it too and wanted to justify his actions by asking who his neighbor was.

It was at this point Jesus replied with a story: �A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. �By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. �Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, �Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I�ll pay you the next time I�m here.� �Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?� Jesus asked. The man replied, �The one who showed him mercy.� Then Jesus said, �Yes, now go and do the same.�

You can tell Jesus is speaking to the religion leader with this example by using two religious people, one a priest and the other a Temple assistant. Most likely both had gone through a ceremonial cleansing to perform their duties and therefore felt they would be defiled by touching this man. A Jewish man, one of their own laid hurt and they passed him by. In doing so they ignored the Mosaic Law of loving God and loving your neighbor. They failed and mostly likely would continue to fail. Yet a Samaritan who was a neighbor, despised by the Jewish people came to the rescue of this Jewish man.

This story shows how a person despised by the Jewish people felt compassion for a Jewish man who was in serious trouble which his Jewish neighbors passed him by. We are all to love like this man, but we are to also realize eternal life comes through Jesus Christ who gave His life for our sin, because all the good works we try to do will eventually fail.