Just then a religious scholar stood before Jesus in order to test his doctrines. He posed this question: “Teacher, what requirement must I fulfill if I want to live forever in heaven?”
Jesus replied, “What does Moses teach us? What do you read in the Law?”
The religious scholar answered, “It states, ‘You must love the Lord God with all your heart, all your passion, all your energy, and your every thought. And you must love your neighbor as well as you love yourself.’ ”
Jesus said, “That is correct. Now go and do exactly that and you will live.”
Wanting to justify himself, he questioned Jesus further, saying, “What do you mean by ‘my neighbor’?”
Jesus replied, “Listen and I will tell you. There was once a Jewish man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho when bandits robbed him along the way. They beat him severely, stripped him naked, and left him half dead.
“Soon, a Jewish priest walking down the same road came upon the wounded man. Seeing him from a distance, the priest crossed to the other side of the road and walked right past him, not turning to help him one bit.
“Later, a religious man, a Levite, came walking down the same road and likewise crossed to the other side to pass by the wounded man without stopping to help him.
“Finally, another man, a Samaritan, came upon the bleeding man and was moved with tender compassion for him. He stooped down and gave him first aid, pouring olive oil on his wounds, disinfecting them with wine, and bandaging them to stop the bleeding. Lifting him up, he placed him on his own donkey and brought him to an inn. Then he took him from his donkey and carried him to a room for the night. The next morning he took his own money from his wallet and gave it to the innkeeper with these words: ‘Take care of him until I come back from my journey. If it costs more than this, I will repay you when I return.’ So, now, tell me, which one of the three men who saw the wounded man proved to be the true neighbor?”
The religious scholar responded, “The one who demonstrated kindness and mercy.”
Jesus said, “You must go and do the same as he.”