Read Luke 10:25-37
If you have been reading along with us in the current series, the lawyer’s question in verse 25 may sound familiar: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” It is akin to the rich man’s question we read yesterday in Matthew 19:16. Instead of asking out of a sincere desire to know and respond to the counsel that Jesus gives, it seems that both men had their own ulterior motives. The rich man seemed to be pridefully seeking Christ’s affirmation. As Jesus outlined several Old Testament commands, he claimed to have kept all of them since childhood. When it came right down to it, he was unwilling to deal with his most glaring issue of greed.
Meanwhile, this man in Luke 10 was an expert in Old Testament law. He likely felt as if he knew it inside-out, upside down, and backwards. He too, in asking the question about eternal life, had his own hidden agenda. His question was designed “to test Jesus” (v. 25). Clearly, he had his own answer in mind and wanted to make sure that Jesus came up with the same one. Apparently, Jesus gave the right response. After all, the man didn’t contradict Him.
Then, the lawyer posed a follow-up question. Again, the driving force behind this one was not a sincere desire for further clarity. Instead, he asked “to justify himself” (v. 29). “And who is my neighbor?” he probed.
Rather than go into an extended discussion of the story of the Good Samaritan, let’s summarize a few points about truly following Jesus.
- Be truly vulnerable. Following Jesus isn’t about you trying to look good or about justifying a sinful lifestyle. That is where both of these men stumbled. As you seek to follow Him, be willing to address anything and everything He points out.
- Love God boundlessly. This kind of love is described in the first part of verse 27 and elsewhere as the “first and greatest commandment” (Matt. 22:34-40). How do you express love for God? Certainly, it includes praise and worship, but Jesus also defines love for God in terms of obedience to other commands (Jn. 14:21).
- Love others compassionately. Jesus points to the importance of that kind of love in the latter part of verse 27, and He goes on to define it in the parable. Those who love like this recognize the needs of others and take concrete steps in meeting them.