But wanting to justify himself, he (the expert in the Law) asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)
Pastor John’s Notes:
The teacher of the law who asked Jesus the question did so with a very selfish motive. One might suppose that he had overheard Jesus’ being questioned earlier on the same matter and didn’t care for his answer. Wanting to justify himself, that is, to absolve himself of his prejudices, he asked the second question, “And who is my neighbor?” Here we see a textbook example of how many people will attempt to evade obedience to God’s law by attempting to modify it. Rather than changing our behavior to meet the law’s requirements, which is why laws are given in the first place, we “interpret” the law until it reflects our current behavior. The man wished to narrow the definition of “neighbor” until it focused only the people he already loved, and no one more. Jesus saw through his pretense and told the story of the Good Samaritan to teach the man a lesson. The story stung, but it did its work. Jesus sees through all of our motives and works to break down our prejudice in order to teach us how to love.
Lord, I confess that the law of God challenges the way I think and live. I also confess my inclination to interpret God’s law to suit my inclinations rather than make any real change in the way that I live. Please be persistent with me until all of my defenses are stripped away, and I bring my way of living into harmony with the Word of God.