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There are experts galore. No lack of those who “officially” know all the rules and regulations. When Jesus asked the question, He got an answer from an expert.

So … what is it that God desires from us? Who showed love to his neighbor? The one who showed mercy.

That is what we should do. That is what I should do. This is how we love our neighbors. Have mercy. Be merciful. Show mercy in every way!!!


Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed compassion to him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” [1]

Luke 10:36-37

This question of Jesus reverses that of the lawyer; “And who is my neighbor?”. Instead of asking for an identification of the neighbor who was to be loved in the parable, Jesus asks for an identification of the one who by loving became a neighbor.

  • Thus, love defines neighborliness rather than asking for a definition of “neighbor.”
  • And neighborliness, which consists in loving, isn’t a matter of your being close to those in need so much as it’s a matter of locating yourself close to them to help them.

The lawyer cannot bring himself to answer Jesus’ question by saying, “The Samaritan.” But in the answer that he does give, “the one who did mercy” shows that mercy, and therefore love, is something to be done, not just felt. The added phrase “with him” does not mean that the wounded man cooperated with the Samaritan in the doing of mercy.

Rather, in doing mercy “with him” the Samaritan came into association with the wounded man. Merciful action brought him near, made him a neighbor to the man. Again, the lawyer’s answer is correct; but this time Jesus doesn’t say so, presumably because he senses the lawyer’s wanting to justify himself.

So just as Jesus said earlier, “Do this and you’ll live” (10:28), he now tells the lawyer to do as the Samaritan did. The time for discussion is over. The time for action is past due.

“You too” emphasizes Jesus’ command. But he introduces his command to “do likewise” with another command: “Go.” This is the very verb that Luke often uses for evangelistic itineration (though not only for that).

Is it possible that the command to go and do mercy with people in need intimates Jesus’ commission to travel throughout the world spreading the good news in good deeds as well as in good words?[2]

[1] New American Standard Bible (Lk 10:36–37). (2020). The Lockman Foundation.

[2] Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (p. 278). Hendrickson Publishers.

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