Summary: Living your life as a child of God has to do with loving God and loving neighbors in the name of God.
Today's question from the Word of God is: Who is your neighbor? I would have to guess that this Scripture is the second most known story that Jesus ever told ... the story of the Good Samaritan.
READ vv. 25-29
A Good Question And A Good Answer
That's a good question. People ask questions for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes, people ask questions because they actually want to learn something, but many times, people ask questions to see if the one whom they're asking has the right answer. Many times, people ask questions to show how brilliant and witty they are as they discuss the question that's being asked. Sometimes, people ask a question just to try to make someone look bad ... they'll ask a question that doesn't have just one answer or an easy answer.
The Bible says, "On one occasion..." That's kind of like starting with "Once upon a time..." Luke is saying, "I'm not telling you where or when, but this happened." There was an occasion when a man who was educated, intelligent, and religious came to Jesus and asked Him a question for the purpose of testing Him.
The question he asked was one he thought would put Jesus to the test and make himself look good.
I think this guy was mentally salivating over the idea of his repartee. He'd gone over it all in his mind. He had his ducks all lined up: "I'm going to say this ... he's going to say that. Then I'll say this. Or if he says that. Then I'll say this." The question was "...what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
That's an interesting question. What do you do to inherit anything? You wait, don't you? You don't work to inherit something. I guess what he was really asking was: "How do I know that I'm in line to inherit the kingdom of God? How do I know that I'm in the family?"
As he thought about this question, he speculated, "Now if He answers in terms of works, then I've got all my arguments about grace. If He answers in terms of grace, then I've got all my arguments about works." So he asked, "...what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus said to him, "You're the expert of the Bible, you're the doctor of biblical jurisprudence ... you tell Me what it says."
I can't tell you how disappointing that was to this man. That was a crushing reply. He was planning to have a discourse to show how bright, witty, wonderful, and smart he was. He was going to make this last all morning.
Jesus answered his question in such a way that every six-year-old kid in that kingdom could have answered. "What does the Scripture say? What does it say you do to inherit eternal life?"
So this man just blurted it out. There was nothing else that he could do.
He said, "'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, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
Then Jesus said, "That's a good answer. Do that and you'll live."
But this guy was witty. He had his mind about him, so he quickly let those wheels turn. He thought, "I can still get some argument out of this."
So he looked at his companions and smiled and winked. Then he looked at Jesus and said, "And who is my neighbor?"
Another Good Question And A Good Story
Who is your neighbor? Where are you going to draw the those boundaries? Where are you going to say, "This is the kind of person I will help, and this is the kind I won't. This is the kind I like, and this is the kind I don't. Who is my neighbor?"
That's a good question, and I suppose this guy expected Jesus to talk about the four Greek words for love. Jesus did something that was very unique. He told a story. He simply answered by telling a story.
READ vv 30-37
Our Lord took this question out of the classroom and put it into life. He took it out of the discussion ... out of the philosophical setting ... and put it into a different world ... a world of hurt, pain, wrong, crime, flashing lights, emergency rooms, and blood. I think it is in that world that we have to ask ourselves, "Who is my neighbor?" That answer is in our hearts and worked out in our world.
Who Is Your Neighbor?
There are four kinds of people in this story, and you'll find all four of them in the world around us. There are those who do bad. They are the crooks. They are the people whose motto is: "What is yours is mine. I'll take it from you."