(36) Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? (37) And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.Luke 10:36-37
Here comes the question for which the whole story was told. Which now of these three…was the neighbor to the man? The three here was the priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan. This what Jesus called them in the story. Notice then how the lawyer, from the same class as the priest and Levite, answered the question. He does not call him the Samaritan. He calls him “he that shewed mercy on him.” It may be reading between the lines, but it is almost as if he does not want to say the word “Samaritan”. Yet, he cannot deny the facts of the story. The one who was the neighbor to him was the Samaritan. This is his answer and then Jesus tells him to go and do likewise.
The truth is that the lawyer has not loved like that. He has not loved God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength. He has not loved His neighbors as he loves himself. He cannot go and do likewise in such a way that he could earn eternal life.
“Go and do thou likewise” hangs out there like an unresolved chord needing resolution. The man must plead “I can’t! I have not! Help me! Forgive me! I need mercy. I need eternal life. I need God’s help to love like that.” If the lawyer’s attitude did not change from seeking to justify himself (vs. 29), he walked away rejecting Jesus and thinking that he was ok.
Certainly, there is an application to us regarding who our neighbor is. Our neighbor is everyone that we can help. We are responsible for the wellbeing of those around us at some level. There is no person which we should not love when we have the chance.
But to say that this is the main point is to miss the point. The main point is that we cannot do this on our own. We cannot love God and love others more than ourselves on our own. We have broken God’s law, and we need God’s mercy to forgive us, as well as God’s power to help us to do this.
This is why Jesus came. He loved God perfectly and loved others perfectly. He kept the law we could not keep, and then paid the price we could not pay so that we can be forgiven, and then indwelt by the Holy Spirit who then empowers us to love God and others from the heart.
- Confess, repent and trust in Christ.
- Ask God to help you love like He loves!