What Is The Question?

One day an expert on Moses’ laws came to test Jesus’ orthodoxy by asking him this question: “Teacher, what does a man need to do to live forever in heaven?” Jesus replied, “What does Moses’ law say about it?” The expert replied, “It says,that you must 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 you must love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself.” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you shall live!” (Note 1)

The man wanted to justify his lack of love for some kinds of people, so he asked, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied with an illustration: “A Jew going on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes and money, and beat him up and left him lying half dead beside the road. “By chance a Jewish priest came along; but when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. Likewise, a Levite, a Jewish Temple-assistant, walked over and looked at him lying there, but then went on.

“But a despised Samaritan (there being much enmity between the Jews and the Samaritans) came along, and when he saw him, he felt deep pity. Kneeling beside him the Samaritan soothed his wounds with medicine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his donkey and walked along beside him till they came to an inn, where he nursed him through the night. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins and told him to take care of the man. ‘If his bill runs higher than that,’ he said, ‘I’ll pay the difference the next time I am here.’

Then Jesus asked “Which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the bandits’ victim?” The expert replied, “The one who showed him some pity.” And Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.” Luke 10:25-31 TLB [Edited]

The snswer you get depends on the question you ask. Martin Luther King Jr. explicates [paraphrased]: “I imagine that the first question the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ The good Samaritan asked a different question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?

Note 1. This is the Mosiac Covenant which was still operative before the New Covenant created by the blood of the cross and the rolled back stone.

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