Summary: We are not to ask who is our neighbor; we are to be a neighbor.
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WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR? (Luke 10:25-28)
25On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
The “expert in the law” (lawyer) was an expert in OT law (the first five books of the OT).
He asked his question to “test” Jesus.
Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Deuteronomy 6:5).
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:18).
· To LOVE is to obey God’s law.
The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:9-10; cf. Galatians 5:14; James 2:8).
· To love God is to love OTHERS.
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother (1 John 4:19-21; cf. John 13:34-35).
Does verse 28 teach salvation by works?
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live” (v. 28).
“Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them” (Leviticus 18:5).
The impossible demands of God’s law are intended to drive us to seek MERCY.
“Do and live” is the promise of the law. But since no sinner can obey perfectly, the impossible demands of the law are meant to drive us to seek divine mercy. This man should have responded with a confession of his own guilt, rather than self-justification (The MacArthur Study Bible).
Jesus not only accepted the lawyer’s answer but also emphasized that he needed to carry it out.
THE PARABLE (Luke 10:29-35)
29But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
The lawyer was hoping to limit the command to love one’s neighbor.
Traveling the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, he would have gone through the Pass of Adummim (Joshua 18:17), a name that is related to the Hebrew word for blood. This journey had a reputation for being dangerous long before Jesus’ time. The journey went from almost 2,600 feet above sea level to 825 feet below sea level and was about seventeen miles in length. It was a rocky thoroughfare winding through the desert and surrounded by caves, which made good hideouts for robbers who laid in wait (Bock, Luke 9:51-24:53, p. 1029).
“Traveling the road from Jerusalem to Jericho” would be like walking through a dangerous part of town in the middle of the night.
The victim is only minimally described because he is not the focus, those who react to him are.
“A priest happened [by chance] to be going down the same road.” Surely he would help!
Why didn’t the priest or Levite help? The story gives no motive, nor is it concerned with the reason. They both “saw” the man and “passed by on the other side.”