The Gospel of Luke has been described as the most beautiful book ever written. Its theme is “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” (Luke 2:10, Authorized King James Version). Joy, compassion, prayer, regard for women, sympathy for the poor, and the universal aspects of Christianity which make it a worldwide faith – all are stressed in Luke. Not that the other Gospel writers do not mention women and social outcasts, but Luke’s emphasis is ALL PEOPLE.
|Elizabeth (1:5-25, 39-45, 57-66)||Gentiles (2:32, 24:47)|
|Mary (1:26-56, 2:1-20, 41-52)||Shepherds (2:8-20)|
|Anna (2:36-38)||Poor (6:20-23)|
|Widow of Nain (7:11-15)||Samaritans (10:30-36, 17:16)|
|Sinner who anoints Jesus’ feet (7:36-50)||Publicans and sinners (15:1)|
|Women disciples (8:1-3)||Lepers (17:11-17)|
|Woman searching for her lost coin (15:8-10)|
|Persistent widow petitioning unjust judge (18:1-8)|
|Sorrowful women along way to Cross (23:27)|
|Women who discover empty tomb (24:1-10)|
One of those marginalized groups mentioned above is the Samaritans. During the time of the Assyrian captivity of the northern kingdom of Israel (beginning in 722 B.C.), these descendants of both Jews and Gentiles became known as Samaritans. The Jews looked down on Samaritans (John 4:9b, AKJV) as they are a mixed ethnic group.
The Scripture portion in Luke 10 has an unlikely hero – a Samaritan. This hero is better known as the Good Samaritan. Now the Good Samaritan passage is a remarkably familiar text, and even most Children’s Bibles reference this story found in Luke 10:25-37. This exchange between a tempting lawyer and Jesus Christ deserves closer examination.
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. 28 And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
One of the questions that everyone should be asking is answered by Jesus in the verses above. The lawyer attempts to trap Jesus when he asks, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” This is the same question that many people around us have even if they are not asking aloud. Each person has this great need, and they are seeking this very thing – eternal life. What would be your answer if someone were to ask you this question? What answers would the activities and pursuits of your life offer to those around you?
The lawyer asks a legal question that he knows the answer to as he is hoping to trip Jesus up. The lawyer did not know who he was examining! Little did he know that he was dealing with the Word of God.
Jesus answers the lawyer’s question with one of His own. Jesus knows that the lawyer will know the answer to his own question. However, He specifically asks him, what does the law say and how does he interpret what he has read. Isn’t it wonderful the way Jesus is able to know what this tempter is thinking? He points the lawyer to the law.
The lawyer did not hesitate to rattle off his answer and offer his two cents. At the very least, one can acknowledge that he did know the law. The lawyer combines Deut. 6:5 and Lev. 19:18 to formulate his response. Faithful Jews had the practice of reciting Deut. 6:5 twice a day, so this should be familiar to Jesus too if He was as faithful as the lawyer.
In Matt. 22:35-40, there is a similar discourse between Jesus and a lawyer. On that occasion, Jesus said, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 22:40, AKJV) This text summarizes the central ethical standard of the law – love God with all of your ability and love your neighbor as you would love yourself. For you see, if you love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself, every one of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:1-17, Deut. 5:1-21) will be kept. The first four of the Ten Commandments address our relationship with God. The balance of the Ten Commandments attends to our relationships with our fellow man. All that is needed is to keep our relationships with God and others right. Although this is simple and straightforward, this is not easy. In fact, the law or keeping the law cannot give life. Not because the law was faulty, but we are unable to keep the law. The law is used to bring us to Christ (Gal. 3:21-24, AKJV).
Jesus answers very matter-of-factly. Yes, you got it right, do it, and you will get eternal life. I wish I could have been there to see the lawyer’s face. The lawyer must have thought, “Hey, wait, didn’t I ask you a question? You are telling me that I got the law right! I am an expert on the law – I do not need your validation or approval.”
If wisdom is the rightful application of knowledge (Prov. 1:7, AKJV), this lawyer had knowledge, but not wisdom. The lawyer knew the right question to ask and the right thing to say, yet he did not practice what he knew to be right. If he were wise and practiced loving God and others, Jesus says that he would live.
The lawyer knowingly or unknowingly admitted that he did not have eternal life as he was still searching for eternal life. In John 5:24, Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” Jesus says you can have eternal life and He offers eternal life to those who believe in Him.
If you have not answered the question, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” with love for God expressed in faith and trust in the Son of God as your Savior, would you do so today?
Jacob Thomas was born in Detroit, Michigan, but moved to Dallas, Texas at an early age where he matured in a Christian home and through fellowshipping with the assemblies. At the age of nine, he gladly received Christ as his Savior. He has a passion for helping others study and apply God’s Word to their own lives. In 2016, he left the Dallas area and his job in the defense industry to work for Bible Study Fellowship in San Antonio. In August 2021, Jacob and his wife, Sherry, along with their five children, Rebekah, Rachel, Elizabeth, J.R., and Micah, moved to Lubbock to work for the Texas Home School Coalition. Jacob and his family are in active fellowship with FreeWay Bible Chapel.