Luke 10:32

ESV So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
NIV So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
NASB Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
CSB In the same way, a Levite, when he arrived at the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
NLT A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.
KJV And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.

What does Luke 10:32 mean?

Jesus has maneuvered a lawyer into admitting his basic spiritual obligations. Those are to love God and love his neighbor; a person who properly exhibits those demonstrates saving faith and will gain eternal life (Luke 10:25–28). Yet the lawyer wants to know more specifically who he must love (Luke 10:29). Jesus presents a hypothetical situation in which a man is beaten, robbed, and left on the side of the road. Two religious leaders—a priest and a Levite—come across him. The lawyer is an expert in the Law, but priests and Levites are commissioned by God to teach the people how to follow the Law. The lawyer should be able to emulate their behavior. Their examples, however, do not reflect any love for this man (Luke 10:30–31). Despite seeing the man, they choose not to understand (Matthew 13:15–16). They exemplify the "shepherds of Israel" who abuse God's sheep instead of caring for them (Ezekiel 34:1–3).

Levites are from the tribe of Levi, but not descended from Aaron, so they aren't priests (Exodus 30:30). They handle the manual labor for the priests and maintain the temple (Numbers 1:47–54). Unlike priests, the Mosaic law does not impose any extra cleanliness regulations on Levites. They can touch and bury a dead body with the same rituals as any other Israelite. The Levite is a type of religious leader, but without the burden of exceptional cleanness he should be more willing to help the injured man.

This second example tells the lawyer what he already knows. The Mosaic law says to love one's neighbor, but cultural Judaism—of which he is a part—would not likely act on behalf of the half-dead man. The Levite walks on for the same reason the priest did: he has no mercy (Luke 10:37).

At this point, the lawyer may feel relief. If a priest and a Levite won't help such a man, perhaps he doesn't have to, either. But Jesus is not finished. When a Samaritan happens by (Luke 10:33), he doesn't hesitate. He shows love immediately and thoroughly. Not only should the lawyer have the heart of the Samaritan, he should realize that if he were the victim, he wouldn't care who his rescuer is as long as someone showed him mercy.
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