Luke 10:36

ESV Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”
NIV Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?'
NASB Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?'
CSB "Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers? "
NLT Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?' Jesus asked.
KJV Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

What does Luke 10:36 mean?

A lawyer has asked Jesus how he can inherit eternal life from God. Perhaps he is thinking of Daniel 12:2 which describes the fate of Jews at the last judgment: "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." The lawyer knows what the answer is, but he wants to know what Jesus thinks. Jesus expertly turns the question around and asks the lawyer what the written Mosaic law says—not the extra-biblical Oral Law or the countless rabbinical arguments. The lawyer responds that the greatest commandment, requiring love for God and one's neighbor, covers the entirety of the Mosaic law. After Jesus affirms his answer, the lawyer asks, "And who is my neighbor?" (Luke 10:25–29).

Jesus replies with the parable of the good Samaritan. A man is beaten, robbed, and left for dead. Two religious leaders—a priest and a Levite—walk past. For whatever reasons, they choose to do nothing in response to the man's dire need. A Samaritan, culturally hated and a social enemy of the Jews, goes to great pains to rescue the man and ensure he recovers. He, rather than the exemplars of Judaism, follows the law of Moses.

The illustration must have cut the lawyer. He is a type of religious leader; he is a scholar specializing in Mosaic law. He does not have the reputation of a priest or Levite, however. He must know that Jesus is speaking the truth; if he were the victim of a brutal robbery and assault, priests and Levites would pass him by rather than risk becoming unclean and jeopardizing their duties.

Jesus may as well ask, "If you were this man, who would be a neighbor to you?" The lawyer knows it is the man who acted out of the love in his heart, not the men who knew the Law but did not live it out. Jesus' wording is also poignant. The Samaritan didn't try to define who was his neighbor, and he didn't care about the nationality, ethnicity, color, status, or cleanness of the victim. He was the neighbor and that's what counted.
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