“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).
That was the Law; that was the requirement.
In fact, that still is the requirement. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Galatians 5:14; cf, Romans 13:10). Everything else hangs on that (Matthew 22:40).
The lawyer had ulterior, insincere motivation driving his question, but he still knew the right answer! Alas, his desire to justify himself indicates that he wasn’t living up to his knowledge of the Law.
I wonder if he knew the right answer to the second question as well. And I wonder just who he thought of as his neighbor. He learned a definition far wider than he anticipated!
By the end of Jesus’ story, the lawyer knew the right answer to the second question as well. But I wonder if he wanted eternal life enough to “Go, and do.” I wonder if he loved God enough.
- The God we serve poieo eleos (Luke 1:72).
- The Good Samaritan poieo eleos (Luke 10:37).
- Those who would inherit eternal life must poieo eleos (Luke 10:25, 37).
- Anyone who does not poieo eleos will suffer merciless judgment (James 2:13).
OK, OK — here’s what that poieo eleos stuff is about…
- poieo = 4160 = “to make or do”
- eleos = 1656 = “compassion” — only translated mercy
When Jesus saw the need of others, He was moved with compassion. For us, there is the added incentive and responsibility of knowing that as we do to others, we do to Him! (The Merciful Neighbor)
When we think of salvation, we think of believing on Jesus. And that’s Biblical. We also think of love for and obedience to God. That comes from the Scriptures as well. However, I suspect that far less frequently we think of loving our neighbor as part of the process of inheriting eternal life. But that is just as much from the Scriptures as the others! So, how highly do you value and prioritize this divine mandate? Ask God to plant that kind of perspective in your heart and that kind of practice in your life. (“Who Is My Neighbour?”)