(6th entry from Grace Park Family Devotional Guide)
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall 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 your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
The main point of this text comes before the parable is ever told. A man asked Jesus a serious question…the most important question that each one of us has the opportunity of asking. He asked, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” The answer…The Law says, “Love God with your everything and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus responded, “Yep. Do that.” So, why does the man not walk away happy with this answer? Why does he ask the next question that leads to this parable? Here’s why…because not one of us always loves God with our everything and always loves our neighbor as ourselves.
Here’s the main point of the text, before we ever get to The Good Samaritan…we cannot get to heaven on our own…because we cannot fully obey all of the Law. If we want eternal life, it is only through the One person who fully obeyed the Law and fulfilled its requirements. It’s only by Jesus.
So, the man tries to get around Jesus’ answer, thinking that he still might have a chance on his own, and he asks the question that leads to the parable. He said, “Well, who is my neighbor?” In the story that Jesus tells to answer this question, two righteous and religious people walk by the injured man and do not help him. The person that goes out of his way to actually help this injured man is a Samaritan. Samaritans and Jews despised each other. Yet, it didn’t matter. The Samaritan helped the Jew, while two righteous Jews passed the injured man by.
Each man was given an opportunity and a responsibility. The Samaritan was the only one that was the true neighbor. If we see the world through God’s eyes, with compassion, it doesn’t matter who our neighbor is. What matters is that we are good neighbors.
-What are some things that you like other people to do for you?
-What do you think it means to love your neighbor as yourself?
-Not worrying about who the other person is or if you even like them, how can you be a good neighbor?
-Why should we be a good neighbor?
God, help me to see people as you see them — to see them with compassion and mercy. Help me to more-deeply know your love so that I can show your love to every person you place in my path.