"Now an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
He said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you understand it?”
The expert answered, “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind , and love your neighbor as yourself .”
Jesus said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But the expert, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
[Jesus then tells the familiar story about the "Good Samaritan," then asks the "expert,"]
"Which of these three do you think became a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?”
The expert in religious law said, “The one who showed mercy to him.”
So Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” (Luke 10:25-29, 36, 37 NET)
***not the point of this post but note that this directive is connected to the man's original question about inheriting eternal life. Not a small detail***
I find this so interesting, especially in reading this translation. It brings out something I've never seen before. The expert asks who his neighbor is, implying that there are some who aren't considered neighbors. Some he doesn't have to love. He wants to know where the line is, perhaps.
Where can I draw the line?
Jesus tells the whole story about the Good Samaritan and then asks not, who was the neighbor in this story, which might have directed attention to the injured man on the side of the road (which is how I've always read this for some reason) but who BECAME a neighbor? It's not so much that I didn't see this truth before, but I've not paid attention to the way Jesus asked the question.
The question isn't who is my neighbor, but to whom will I become a neighbor? Will I be a neighbor? Will I choose love?
Every question we have always seems to come back around to us...to the condition of our own hearts.
Jesus, which of these people am I required to love? The answer, are you willing to love them all?
Who of them is my neighbor? Are you willing to be a neighbor first?
What about that person over there? What about you?
What must I do to be saved? Give up anything that hinders love.
I hope we are willing because Jesus said, now that you understand what is required, "Go and do likewise."