As we continue our way through the Gospel of Luke we come to a passage today that contains one of the most well-known stories of Jesus, the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.

Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan is widely known. But this parable is also very often misunderstood.

This story is given by Jesus to show a lawyer, a deep deficiency in his own heart, and his need of saving grace.



I. The Question To Jesus

Let's start with the question. A lawyer asks Jesus a very interesting question. He's not asking it in good faith. He's putting Jesus to the test. Nevertheless, it is a good and interesting question. Jesus does not rebuke the question. The question is, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

Now this question is not only asked in this passage in Luke. It is asked repeatedly in the New Testament. The language over and over indicates that a person must have a right answer to the question, "How can I stand before God? How can I be accepted by God? How can I be forgiven of my sins?"

This is an important question. Are you asking this question? Is this a question that's on your heart and mind? It ought to be. The fact that it's repeated so frequently in the New Testament indicates that this is a question of ultimate concern. What shall we do to inherit eternal life?



II. Jesus Answers This Question - The Source of Authority

Now Jesus answers this question with a question, which means He's invariably trying to direct your attention to something in your own heart and usually He is pointing you to the place where you're going to find the answer to the question that you're asking. That's what happens. Look at it in verse 26. Jesus answers by asking, "What is written in the Law?" Do you see? Jesus is saying to this lawyer, "Let Me tell you where you're going to get the answer to the question that you're asking. You're going to get that answer in the Bible."

That is hugely important because so often today people think in their own minds that their thoughts are just as valid as what the Bible says. You cannot follow Jesus and reject what He says is the source of final spiritual authority in answer to the question, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus says the answer to that question is found in the Bible and only the Bible.



III. The Answer

And so He asks the lawyer, "How do you read it? You go to that Bible, read it, and tell Me what you find there is the answer to your question." So the lawyer says, "Okay, let me sum it up. Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself."

And Jesus' response to that is, "Bingo!" Now that may surprise you. Twice this happens friends, twice the lawyer answers right. Look at verse 28 and look at verse 37. He answers right both times. Both times Jesus says, "Do it."

What's going on here? Jesus' concern is that while the lawyer can give the correct answer he is not in fact doing what he says. The lawyer knows the right answer but he's not living the right answer and so Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan, not to say that doctrine, conversion, the Gospel, missions, or evangelism doesn't matter and that what we ought to be doing is going and only showing compassion to people. He tells the story of the Good Samaritan to do what? To show this lawyer the sin of his heart.

Now in this passage Jesus goes to the neighbor commandment. Why? Because Jesus knows this man's heart. This man is a Jewish lawyer. He has utter contempt religiously and probably ethnically for Samaritans. And so Jesus tells a story where a priest and a Levite, who would have been respected by this lawyer, failed to obey the commandments and a Samaritan turns out to be the hero of the story.

Over the course of the story Jesus does several things. First of all, He shows you how wide the extent of the love command is. The command to love your neighbor extends even to people you have contempt for. And then He shows how deep that command goes.

Notice that this Samaritan, he's on his way and he stops, he spends an entire day with this guy, medicates him, puts him on his own animal, takes him to an inn, gives him two denarii (two days wages) for the innkeeper to take care of the guy, and then he says, "Look, if it costs more than that on my way back up I'll stop in and pay you whatever the difference was."

So He shows how deep this demand is that God is making with regard to neighbor love. And then He asks the man point blank, "Now which one of these showed mercy? Which one of these obeyed the commandment?" And again the lawyer answers correctly, "The one who showed him mercy."



IV. The Problem

Now that leads us to the problem. Jesus says, for the second time in the passage, "You go and do likewise." He's asking "How's that working for you? Are you doing that?"

Here's the problem. As far as we know in this passage the lawyer doesn't get there, just like the rich young ruler doesn't get there.

Now, in Acts 13:38 the Apostle Paul says, "Let it be known to you brothers that through [Jesus] forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things from which you could not be freed from the Law of Moses." Paul is saying, "Look, if those who love God and love their neighbors inherit eternal life, I've got some bad news for you. You're all going to hell. But Jesus came to free you from what the Law of Moses couldn't free you from - your sin - because you've broken the Law of Moses."

He means when you reject Jesus as the only way to inherit eternal life then you put yourself back into the category of having to do the Law to be accepted. And there is none righteous, no not one but the Savior. So if you've rejected Him, you're rejected salvation, rejected eternal life, and rejected the kingdom of God.

So, love God, love your neighbor is a great commandment and it's a great answer to the question, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" if I can do it. The whole point of Jesus' exchange with the lawyer and of the parable of the Good Samaritan is: You can't do it. That's why He's going to die. He's going to die in your place so that you believe on Him and inherit eternal life.

Oh my friends, Jesus says it will take more than right answers to inherit eternal life. It requires a life of perfection in not just giving the right answers or knowing the right answers but living the right answers and doing the right answers.

No human being except one has ever done that. So on the last day you can either say with this lawyer, "I tried to love God and my neighbor as best I could." And if you say that you will have rejected eternal life. Or you can say, "Not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul. It's only Jesus."