In Luke 10:25-29 we read of a certain lawyer that tempted Jesus by asking Him, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus responded with two questions: 1) “What is written in the law?” 2) “How readest thou?” The lawyer responded with, “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.” Jesus responded with, “Thou has answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.”
The lawyer strongly wanting to justify himself through his perceived “keeping of the law”, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?” Let us understand that the lawyer’s question was framed in loving other Jews – but despising [and maybe even hating] the Samaritans and the Gentiles. Therefore, in his attempt to justify himself whereby he could “inherit eternal life”, he failed to recognize that in order to truly “love his neighbor” [whether Jew, Samaritan, Gentile] – he would first need the love of Christ indwelling him through salvation.
In Luke 10:30-37 Jesus further drove home His point through the story of the good Samaritan,
“And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”
The lawyer’s premise that he could perform some work whereby he might inherit eternal life was flawed – because eternal life [salvation] cannot be inherited or earned. Eternal life is a gift from God and it is promised to all who will receive Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Ephesians 2:8-9 states,
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Romans 10:9-10 states,
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
The lawyer – though a defender of the law – did not “see” that he had broken the first precept of God’s law (that is, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, and soul). In other words, though the lawyer knew what was written in the law he had failed to “read” the law through his heart. And without receiving Christ’s love [the gift of eternal life] – one can never truly love their neighbor as Christ commands us to love them. Let us also take note that one cannot truly love the Lord without the love of the Lord indwelling their heart.
1 John 4:19-21 states,
“We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”
Have you received Christ’s gift of love [the gift of eternal life]? If not, why not do so today?