In Luke, chapter 25 verses 25-37, Jesus is confronted by a man who is an expert in religious law. This would be a man who has read all the modern law books, as the most admirable library of law collections and has won the most cases in the court system. This man comes to Jesus and asks him a question, “Teacher, what should I do to inherit everlasting life?” and in Jesus, not surprisingly, answers with a question, “What does the Law of Moses say? How do you read it?” This is great because the expert of the law is trying to catch Jesus in a trap. The expert has had more education, has read from original scrolls, has learned from the wisest teachers, and he asks Jesus a question and gets a question in return.
The expert of the law answers, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Jesus answers him, “Right! do this and you will live.” Here comes the rub. Being a Christian is more than believing. We can read the Scriptures, understand God’s providence through history, believe Jesus is the Son of God, believe in His resurrection, believe in saving grace, and so on. But according to what Jesus says about who our neighbors are, we must do something.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan is not about being nice. It is about sacrificing even for those who you might hate. In this story the Samaritan is to the Jew what a Terrorist is to an American. They hated each other, did not want to be around one another, touch one another, walked on opposite sides of the street, glared at each other, thought the other wrong. The person who we hate…thats our neighbor. But we are not supposed to wish them well, we are to go out of our way to make it so. To show mercy, to remember that we have sin like they sin and that God loves them no less than us.
Jesus tells the expert of the law, “now go and do the same.” He does not say, “well done, now go and read some more about what ought to be done.” He tells him to GO and DO. The expert already knew the two greatest commandments and he believed them, now he must go and do. It’s not as easy as believing. We must also do.