Read first part: discussion of Jesus with the expert in the law 25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. Teacher, he asked, what must I do to inherit eternal life? 26 What is written in the Law? he replied. How do you read it? 27 He answered: 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, Love your neighbor as yourself. 28 You have answered correctly, Jesus replied. Do this and you will live. 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, And who is my neighbor? Read second part: the parable told by Jesus 30 In reply Jesus said: A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. Look after him, he said, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have. Read third part: discussion of Jesus with the expert in the law 36 Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? 37 The expert in the law replied, The one who had mercy on him. Jesus told him, Go and do likewise.
Explanation of the first part (Luke 10:25-29) A lawyer (expert in the law) asks Jesus which laws will lead to eternal life. Jesus puts the question straight back to the questioner, and the lawyer answers very well, according to Deuteronomy 6:5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and Leviticus 19:18 Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. The key command- ments are to love our God and our neighbor, and the lawyer quotes them correctly. But who does the law mean by neighbor the lawyer wonders. Where does it draw the line between friend and foe or enemy, brother or sister and stranger? Who were experts in the Jewish law in that time? The Pharisees were religious leaders, who focused on strict observance of the Jewish laws, ceremonies and traditions. Pharisees strongly encouraged the Jewish people to pursue righteousness by closely following the Jewish laws and not compromising with the beliefs and ways of the Romans. The Pharisees openly opposed Jesus for many reasons. They were particularly appalled at his acts of healing people on the Sabbath and his claims to divinity. Jesus denounced them as being hypocrites. They often lived moral lives, full of good deeds, but it was all outward actions with no thought given to the heart or motives of the actions. The Pharisees and the Sadducees! The Sadducees were Jewish religious leaders who were primarily from the upper-class, were much more sympathetic to the Romans and sought to maintain their aristocratic positions in society. They often disagreed with the Pharisees because the Sadducees rejected the oral traditions and much of the doctrine of the Pharisees. The Sadducees were opposed to Jesus because there was the supposed threat that Jesus could potentially overthrow the Roman government, thus jeopardizing their positions of prestige. Sadducees lived primarily in Jerusalem and their lives were often focused around the happenings of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. The Sanhedrin (the judicial council of the Jewish people) was comprised primarily of Sadducees.
Look at the parallel text in Matthew 22:34-40 34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 36 Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? 37 Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. and in Mark 12:28–31 28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, Of all the commandments, which is the most important? 29 The most important one, answered Jesus, is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31 The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these. In all three Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) Jesus refers to the same basic Old Testament commands in Deuteronomy and Leviticus.
Explanation of the second part verses 30-35 To answer the lawyers question, Jesus tells a story. A Jew is robbed and beaten on the dangerous road from Jerusalem to Jericho. Two fellow Jews a priest and a Levite refuse to help him. They have their religious duties to attend to in Jerusalem, and must avoid touching blood or dead bodies. Levites and priests In Jewish tradition, a Levite is a member of the Hebrew tribe of Levi. When Joshua led the Israelites into the land of Canaan, the Levites were the only Israelite tribe that received cities but were not allowed to be landowners, because the Lord the God of Israel himself is their inheritance" (Deuteronomy 18:2). The Tribe of Levi served particular religious duties for the Israelites and had political responsibilities as well. In return, the landed tribes were expected to give tithe (10% of their income) to the Levites. Moses and his brother, Aaron, were both Levites. Notable descendants of the Levite dynasty in the ancient world include Miriam, Samuel, Ezekiel, Ezra, Malachi, John the Baptist, Mark the Evangelist, Matthew the Evangelist, and Barnabas. The descendants of Aaron were designated as the priestly class. So all priests are Levites, but not all Levites are priests. But a Samaritan stops to save the mans life and provide for his future care. P.S. Samaritans had another religion; see also the last page of your paper to find out how Samaritans were treated in that time.
Third part, verses 36 - 37 Who is the neighbor? The religious person, the legal expert, the fellow Jew? No! The neighbor is the person who acts in a neighborly way, the person who helps. Jesus has turned the question round. It is no longer, Who is my neighbor? but, To whom can I be a neighbor?
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