Obeying the Right Answer: Luke 10:25-37

Focus Passage: Luke 10:25-37 (CEV)

25 An expert in the Law of Moses stood up and asked Jesus a question to see what he would say. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to have eternal life?”

26 Jesus answered, “What is written in the Scriptures? How do you understand them?”

27 The man replied, “The Scriptures say, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ They also say, ‘Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself.’”

28 Jesus said, “You have given the right answer. If you do this, you will have eternal life.”

29 But the man wanted to show that he knew what he was talking about. So he asked Jesus, “Who are my neighbors?”

30 Jesus replied:

As a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, robbers attacked him and grabbed everything he had. They beat him up and ran off, leaving him half dead.

31 A priest happened to be going down the same road. But when he saw the man, he walked by on the other side. 32 Later a temple helper came to the same place. But when he saw the man who had been beaten up, he also went by on the other side.

33 A man from Samaria then came traveling along that road. When he saw the man, he felt sorry for him 34 and went over to him. He treated his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put him on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. 35 The next morning he gave the innkeeper two silver coins and said, “Please take care of the man. If you spend more than this on him, I will pay you when I return.”

36 Then Jesus asked, “Which one of these three people was a real neighbor to the man who was beaten up by robbers?”

37 The teacher answered, “The one who showed pity.”

Jesus said, “Go and do the same!”

Read Luke 10:25-37 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

When reading from Luke’s gospel as Jesus shares the illustration of the Good Samaritan, I am amazed to learn that this entire parable hinges on a follow-up question – and this follow-up question might not have even been asked if it were not for the attitude of the religious leader who asked it. When I read about this event, in many ways Jesus’ parable overshadows the powerful truth He gives the religious leader in response to the leader’s earlier question.

To set the stage for what is shared, Luke opens by having a religious leader ask Jesus what must happen for a person to gain eternal life. This religious leader’s question is a question that most everyone who believes in an afterlife has had at one point or another.

Instead of answering the man’s question directly, Jesus asked the leader how he understood the scriptures. The leader replied by saying, “The Scriptures say, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind.’ They also say, ‘Love your neighbors as much as you love yourself.’” (v. 27)

What Jesus says next is incredibly powerful. Jesus replied to this saying, “You have given the right answer. If you do this, you will have eternal life.” (v. 28)

This should have been the end of the conversation, but because this leader wanted to justify himself and his knowledge, Luke tells us that he then asked how to define the concept of neighbor.

We are quick to look into truths and themes from the parable Jesus shares to help us illustrate the concept of being a “neighbor”, but when we pull the parable from the context of the conversation it was shared in, we miss the powerful truth that Jesus just shared and confirmed the way to gain eternal life.

The religious leader gave the standard, summary overview of God’s Law and Moses’ law that was given through Moses while the Israelites were in the desert, and Jesus confirmed that it was the way to heaven. Loving God and loving others as much as we love ourselves is the key. Since most people are pretty self-centered, it makes loving other people that much more challenging. However, it is what Jesus has just confirmed that we are called to do.

However, knowing the right answer (like this religious leader did) and obeying the right answer are two different things. Most of the Jewish world during the first century knew this answer, however they missed the truth that this answer needed to be obeyed. They also missed that the core idea of this answer was love.

In our own lives, we are called to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves. In case we want a practical example of how to do this, all we need to do is look at Jesus’ life. He came to illustrate what these two commandments look like when obeyed!

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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