And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Luke 10:27 NKJV
This is the opening verse of the story of the Good Samaritan. The Samaritan is not the central character of the story. Neither is the man who fell among thieves. The lawyer is.
The lawyer was not asking Jesus what he must do to be saved. He was testing Jesus. He did not call Jesus “teacher” out of respect. Pride and arrogance filled his heart!
Jesus answered the lawyers question by asking, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
The lawyer answered and said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”
And Jesus said to him, “You have answered rightly, do this and you will live.” The lawyer seeking to justify himself asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
The lawyer did not ask because he was unsure. He was justifying his failure to obey God’s commands. He understood the law. He chose not to obey it!
Arguing and disputing the law was the lawyers business. He could defend criminals or prosecute debtors with equal zeal. He could not argue his way into the kingdom of God. He could not defend himself before the Lord. He was determined to try!
The world is full of people justifying their behavior by arguing and disputing with the Word of God. Some of us are familiar with the scriptures and hold other people to account for their disobedience but justify our own. I have done it. So have you!
Who is your neighbor? Why should you care?
Our neighbors are not just the people who live next door to us. They are not just the people who look and act like us. They are not just the people we like and who like us.
Our neighbors are people of different colors races and ethnic groups. They are people who speak different languages than us. Some of them hate us for our relationship with Christ. Some of them hate us because of our color race and ethnicity.
We should care about our neighbors because Jesus does. The lawyer in this story is going to argue and dispute his way into hell. We can follow Jesus into eternal life!
We cannot save the world. We can love our neighbors. We can do that by loving Jesus!
How can you inherit eternal life? Surrender your heart and mind to the Word of God. You will sin. You will make mistakes. We all do. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love the Lord God with all of your heart, soul, strength and mind. Love your neighbor as yourself!
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