Who is My Neighbor

  • Definitions of “Good Samaritan”
    • A charitable or helpful person.
    • person who gratuitously gives help or sympathy to those in distress
    • a person who helps other people and especially strangers when they have trouble

The Setting

Luke 10:25-37

The seventy disciples were joyful the demons were subject to them, but Jesus cautions them about pride

Receiving God’s grace in salvation is much more important than the ability to do supernatural things

God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble

The Lawyer’s Question (Luke 10:25)

  • “And behold” – Luke calls attention to this proud lawyer who is a contrast to the humble disciples
  • This lawyer is an expert in the Law of Moses
  • His question is designed to put Jesus to the test – not necessarily from an evil motive, but to evaluate Him
  • He is respectful in asking, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? A most important question for everyone
  • What will happen to you after you die is more important than how you live now – Eccl. 7:2, 4
  • This is a personal question recognizing eternal life is individual, not universal to all Jews

The Legal Answer (Luke 10:26-29)

  • The lawyer’s question is somewhat generic & Jesus points him back to the Law to discover what he believes
  • The lawyer’s answer shows much forethought answering with Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18
  • Jesus commended his answer, but challenged him to fulfill it
  • The lawyer understood the demands of the law and sought a limitation on loving his neighbor
  • Was his desire to justify himself pride to keep the approval of others or guilt that his love was deficient?
  • He does not seek a limitation on keeping the commandment to love God which is much more difficult
  • Jesus’ answer is part of the larger question of how a human can be right with God and gain eternal life

Jesus’ Story (Luke 10:30-36)

  • Jesus presents the story as a narrative – something that really happened

The Situation (Luke 10:30)

  • An unidentified man is robbed, beaten and left half dead on the way to Jericho
  • The man is in a very desperate situation – he may not have even been conscious

The Priest (Luke 10:31)

  • He should have helped as a representative of God to man
  • He avoids the man –
  1. possibly to keep from being made ceremonially unclean?
  2. Fear of robbers?
  3. Too busy?

The Levite (Luke 10:32)

  • He should have helped as part of a tribe dedicated to serving God
  • He does the same as the priest possibly for the same reasons – he was without compassion

The Samaritan  (Luke 10:33-35)

  • The animosity between Jews & Samaritans made him unlikely to help
  • The Samaritans were a mixed race of Jews & Gentiles with a hybrid religion of Judaism
  • His actions were the opposite of the priest and Levite starting with feeling compassion for the injured man
  • He acted on his compassion by stopping his journey and attending to the man with first aid
  • He went further by carrying the man to an inn and caring for him
  • He went even further by paying the innkeeper to care for the man and promising to return
  • The Samaritan’s acts of compassion were in stark contrast to the callous indifference of the priest & Levite
  • Without clothes, the man’s ethnicity was unknown which leaves open the question of whether he was a neighbor
  • The lawyer does not use the term “Samaritan,” but recognizes the truth that he proved to be a neighbor
  • The story shows the true meaning of the command to “love your neighbor as yourself” -anyone is a neighbor
  • Jesus’ command for him to do the same was condemning because it was impossible for him to keep the Law


  • The point of the passage is that God’s standards are too high for man to inherit eternal life by his own merit
  • The sacrificial system pointed to the penalty of sin and its continued recurrence
  • Hope is found in faith in God to provide forgiveness – through the sacrifice of Messiah
  • Do you have that hope?

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