A True Neighbor-Luke 10:25-37

Luke 10:25-37 “On 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?” 27 He answered: “‘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.'” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 In 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. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He 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. 35 The 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.’ 36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luca 10:25-37 “Ed ecco, un dottore della legge si alzò per metterlo alla prova, dicendo: «Maestro, che devo fare per ereditare la vita eterna?» 26 Gesù gli disse: «Nella legge che cosa sta scritto? Come leggi?» 27 Egli rispose: «Ama il Signore Dio tuo con tutto il tuo cuore, con tutta l’anima tua, con tutta la forza tua, con tutta la mente tua, e il tuo prossimo come te stesso». 28 Gesù gli disse: «Hai risposto esattamente; fa’ questo e vivrai». 29 Ma egli, volendo giustificarsi, disse a Gesù: «E chi è il mio prossimo?» 30 Gesù rispose: «Un uomo scendeva da Gerusalemme a Gerico e s’imbatté nei briganti, che lo spogliarono, lo ferirono e poi se ne andarono, lasciandolo mezzo morto. 31 Per caso un sacerdote scendeva per quella stessa strada, ma quando lo vide, passò oltre dal lato opposto. 32 Così pure un Levita, quando giunse in quel luogo e lo vide, passò oltre dal lato opposto. 33 Ma un Samaritano, che era in viaggio, giunse presso di lui e, vedendolo, ne ebbe pietà; 34 avvicinatosi, fasciò le sue piaghe versandovi sopra olio e vino, poi lo mise sulla propria cavalcatura, lo condusse a una locanda e si prese cura di lui. 35 Il giorno dopo, presi due denari, li diede all’oste e gli disse: “Prenditi cura di lui; e tutto ciò che spenderai di più, te lo rimborserò al mio ritorno”. 36 Quale di questi tre ti pare essere stato il prossimo di colui che s’imbatté nei ladroni?» 37 Quegli rispose: «Colui che gli usò misericordia». Gesù gli disse: «Va’, e fa’ anche tu la stessa cosa».

The story of the Good Samaritan is probably well-known to both believers and non-believers. It speaks to the goodness of human beings and on the surface, we would like to think that most of the time we represent that goodness. There are plenty of good causes that call for our help and when we contribute, we feel a sense of goodness. That is certainly one way of looking at this narrative. But there is more to this parable.
In the story, the characters of the Jewish priest and Levite reject the robbed man; the Samaritan was the only one who not only helped but invested in his recuperation. The opening question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” asked by the expert in the Law had been posed before by others. It seems that either Jesus’ answer troubled him or he wanted more details. The subtle insincerity of the request can be seen by the way he addresses Jesus and his motive. The expert in the Law calls Jesus “Teacher” and then proceeds to give Him an exam as a way of self-justifying his own righteousness.
Jesus answers his question with two other questions (v. 26) which the expert answers correctly. But Jesus probes further and provides a cutting parable to the man to expose his deceitfulness. The first example uncovers this man’s “religious piety” toward his neighbor. The second case reveals the man’s prejudice against his neighbor. The third illustration caught the man in his own failure to do likewise but he does respond to Jesus with the right answer. Although Jesus tells him to do similarly, it is doubtful this religious expert would agree with Jesus’ meaning of neighbor.
The neighbor here was Jesus whose definition of compassion contrasted with the Jewish religious leaders. Jesus summed up His teaching with the command that His followers were to be a true neighbor (v. 36).
Pray with me: Lord, I am reminded once again that I must rid myself of any form of prejudice when it is disguised through a religious veneer. Help me to see all people the way You see them and “do likewise.”

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