John 10:25 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?”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.’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.”
FIRST QUESTION: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Here is what I am thinking. This man wants to ask just the right question from the teacher. You know the type? Be the student that outshines the rest of the class. He wanted to see if Jesus was a good as people said He was. He tested Jesus with this question. He stood up and just asked Him one of the most religious questions one could ask. “Do you really know what the Law of God says about Israel and how we figure into the Plans of God?” This ‘expert’ in the law, this lawyer, calls Jesus “Teacher”. I don’t really feel he really believed Jesus was a Teacher at all. He was not wearing the right kind of robes. He did not have the right kind of attitude. Jesus was not from the right family of the Teachers of Israel. I feel the lawyer was talking down to Jesus.
SECOND QUESTION: Not wanting to be misunderstood and to justify himself, he asks: “Who is my neighbor?” The expert tried to keep this subject in the classroom. He would feel much more comfortable if he’d keep this dealing with this in the abstract—detached from real life. The lawyer asks who his neighbor is in the hope that some people are not. Exactly where does his responsibility fall? Does it have limits? But Jesus would not allow this man to deal with the truth of God’s Word in a test tube. Jesus would not define the term “neighbor” by doing a Hebrew word study. He defined it by telling a story. And you know the story.
Jesus then asks: “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” “The one who showed mercy toward him.”
It is often said that it is not enough to speak of the things of God, or to study them, but we must do it with appropriate tone. When we speak of eternal life and of the things of God, we must be careful of how it comes across. Life is fragile and so are the hearts of people around us. We need to be careful how we appear. We would do good to answer this question this morning: “Do I love God fully?” That is a good starting point. As we have said many times in the past, everything else grows out from that relationship.
A real relationship with the Living God gives life. It is the whole duty of Man. (Hosea 6:6) To respond to the Law means to love God. To live by the Spirit of God means to love and to do acts of righteousness. Romans 8:1-11 tells us that. The lawyer was deathly confused—even though his answer was correct. He still thought that eternal life was something he could earn—it is not—it is given to us by God’s Grace—freely. And where does real help come from? Is 41:10 I will hold you up with My victorious Right Hand. イザヤ41:10 "わたしの義の右の手で、あなたを守る。"