Parable of Reciprocative Love


The Good Samaritan by Rembrandt (1630)

Eternal Life

Luke 10:25-28 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” So he answered and said, “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.

What must we do to inherit eternal life?

  • Love the LORD your God
    • all your heart
    • all your soul
    • all your strength
    • all your mind
  • Love your neighbor as yourself

Deut 6:5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart (or all your mind as per LXX), with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Lev 19:18 ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

What Jesus said is part of the law where the children of Israel are required to love the LORD their God with all their heart, with all their soul, and with all their strength and love the fellow children of Israel as one’s self.

Mark 12:30-31 ‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Jesus Christ also adds these are the two commandments that no other commandment is greater than these.

John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.

John 13:34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Christ also gave the same commandments as the new commandment to follow. When God gave His commandment to His disciples, it is important to note Judas was asked to leave to do what he intended in his heart to do. If we love our Lord Jesus Christ, we must follow His commandments which is to love our fellow Christians as one’s self.

Loving one another must not be confused with mercy which God asked to show to all. You must discern affectionate and compassionate love.  God loves His children affectionately, but have compassion to sinners who reject Him.

Sin of Self Justification

Luke 10:29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 

How does the man asking who a neighbor is, trying to self justify? When the law was given to Moses, anyone apart from the children of Israel living in the land of Canaan must be eliminated. God also gave specific commandments to annihilate several groups of people and not live together as neighbors.

John 11:48 “If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.”

John 4:9b For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

Things were very different during the time of Jesus. Because of the sins of Israel, they lost their soverignity, under the oppression of Romans and have no dealings with Samaritans.

What the man had in mind is to love His fellow Jews as himself but hate the Romans and Samaritans. However, Jesus gave a very different response.

Priest, Levite & Samaritan

Luke 10:30-32 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.

Did the priest and the levite did anyhing wrong? Let’s look what the law says to view the situation from their eyes.

Num 19:11-13 ‘He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days. He shall purify himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean. Whoever touches the body of anyone who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD. That person shall be cut off from Israel. He shall be unclean, because the water of purification was not sprinkled on him; his uncleanness is still on him.

There is a specific law for priests and levites to be ritually clean and purify himself if he had to touch anything dead. The priest and the levite in the story were just trying not to be unclean. If the man had died while the priest or the levite was helping, they will be unclean for seven days and require ritualistic cleaning.

Luke 10:33-35 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.


While the priest and levite passed by on the other side, the Samaritan had compassion to help the half dead wounded man and took care of him in everyway possible.

Mercy and Compassion

What was the sin of the priest and the levite?

Matt 12:7 “But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.

God desires mercy and not sacrifice. God does not require anyone to be ritually clean by rejecting mercy.

Matt 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

Christ made it extremely clear that justice, mercy and faith are the weighter matters of the law.

Luke 10:36-37 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves? And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.

The Samaritan was the neighbour to the man because it is he show showed mercy to him. But the priest and levite neglected the weighter matter of law namely mercy to be ritually clean.

Jesus conlcuded by saying to do likewise implying two things mentioned.

  • To love those who showed mercy to us as ourselves – which is affectionate love.
  • To show mercy and compassion even to those who treat us as enemies – which is compassionate love.

What Jesus does not say is, to affectionately love God’s enemies as yourself. We are always called to show mercy and compassion to everyone.


The good Samaritan story of Jesus Christ teaches us to love the enemies who showed mercy towards us as our own self and they are our neighbors. We are also called to show mercy and compassion even to those who treat us as enemies. What He did not say is, to affectionately love God’s enemies as your ownself.

Ezek 33:11 “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’

God loves His children affectionately, but have compassion towards sinners who reject Him and choose to die.

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