Which of These Three Do You Think Was Neighbor to Him Who Fell Among the Thieves?
That was the question our Lord asked of the cagey lawyer (Luke 10:36). He was ready with an answer: "He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him?" (Luke 10:37). Was it the right answer? Jesus responded, "Go, and do thou likewise" (Luke 10:39).
The lawyer had answered correctly. Jesus had met his chicanery with a question that had only one correct answer which the lawyer had no alternative but to give, "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" (Luke 10:26). The answer? "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 neighbour as thyself" (Luke 10:27. Indeed, this was what the law taught and what Jesus taught (Matt. 22:37-40). The Master Teacher then illustrated the lawyer's next question, "Who is my neighbour?" (Luke 10:28), with the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
Again, Jesus asked a question with only one correct answer, "Which now of these three...was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?" (Luke 10:36) and again the lawyer had no choice to answer correctly, "He that shewed mercy on him" (Luke 10:37).
Go and Do Likewise
Having gotten the correct answer from the lawyer, Jesus brought the lesson home to him - and to us: "Go and do likewise" (Luke 10:37, NKJV).
Remember, the Jews and Samaritans were at enmity with one another. Jesus had taught in Luke 6:35:
But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
Jesus taught the lawyer that one should show mercy on his enemies as well as on his friends. John writes in 1 John 3:16:
But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
John had said in the previous verse (1 John 3:16), "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
Go and Do Likewise
Jesus gave His life for us. He is a compassionate, loving, Saviour (Matt. 9:36-38; 15:32; 20:30-34; Luke 12:12-16).
We follow His example and be compassionate, and loving (Eph. 5:2; Phil. 2:5-8; 1 John 2:6; 3:16).
Who is neighbor to any who are in need when you have the means to help him? I am and you are (1 John 3:16)!