“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’ 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.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do this and you will live.’ But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” Luke 10:25-29
“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
It was a huge question. It is still a huge question. The expert in the law stood to ask. But his motives for having this question answered were not exactly pure. He came to test.
How often do people come with questions that are designed to test rather than know truth? Jesus could peer right into the very heart of this man and then He asked him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”
This man was prepared. He had an answer ready, “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.”
Jesus said, “You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live.”
But let’s look at this. Can we truly love the Lord with our WHOLE heart, soul, mind, and strength? Is that a possibility for us? Do we not have divided hearts, souls that desire the world rather than God, strength that is used for building our kingdoms rather than His, and are we not sometimes double-minded in what we do?
Can we truly love the Lord completely?
The answer is no.
Did this man see that? Did he look into the eyes of the Savior and know, KNOW, that he was not truly capable of such love? For truly only God can love completely. We don’t know all the reasoning for his next question, but we do know the motive behind it. He was wanting to be justified. He moved to the second phrase perhaps thinking this part was more manageable. “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus began with a story that has rung down through the centuries, told in different languages, expounded upon from pulpits, and is even used as part of the law to shield those who help someone. It’s called the Good Samaritan clause.