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What is the basic meaning of Luke 10:25-37?

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Quick Answer

The parable of the good Samaritan, told in the passage of Luke 10:25-37, represents the magnitude of love that a God-fearing individual should show toward his neighbor. Particularly, the parable explains that the definition of a neighbor encompasses a person's enemies as well as his friends.

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Full Answer

The passage begins with a Mosaic law expert who asks Jesus about the requirements to achieve eternal life. Jesus responds by asking the man what was written about the subject in the Scriptures. The expert responds by paraphrasing Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18. While Jesus commends the man for giving a proper answer, the expert presses Jesus by asking him to expound on the subject of what a neighbor is.

Jesus then starts telling the parable, painting the picture of a man who gets robbed and beaten while leaving Jerusalem; the mostly Jewish audience probably assumed the man was Jewish as well. The first one to see this man in need of help was a priest; despite his spiritual background, he decides to keep on going. A Levite acts similarly, despite his knowledge of the commandments that the law expert expressed in the beginning of this passage.

The parable culminates with a Samaritan being the one who shows compassion and rescues this Jew. This probably surprised Jesus' audience because Samaritans and Jews considered each other as enemy nations. Jesus concludes the parable by asking the law expert about who demonstrated neighborliness in the story. The law expert is forced to admit that the Samaritan did so, and Jesus urges the expert to act likewise.

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