We all ask questions, for many and various reasons.

The most obvious and important is because we want to learn.

We can also ask questions to show off, or to trap or belittle someone else.

When someone asks you a question it is worth asking yourself, why are they asking that?

An expert in the law, someone with standing in the community, asked Jesus what he had to do to have eternal life, not a bad question, but it is the last in a series of questions from several groups of people opposed to Jesus and wanting to embarrass and discredit him.

Luke (10:25) tells us it was “to test Jesus”.

Jesus turns the question back on the questioner. “What do you think?"

The expert answers from his daily prayer, Love God with all you are and have, and love your neighbour as yourself.

Jesus commends his answer.

It is then that the man, wanting 'to justify' himself, (10:29) asks a further question,

"Who is my neighbour?”

Does he want to impress Jesus, or the crowds?

Does he feel he has somehow lost the battle and wants to recover ground?

In response Jesus tells the story we call The Good Samaritan.

Jesus puts a figure despised by his own society in the place of the hero.

He is saying to the expert “Wrong question.

Don’t worry about who is my neighbour, that is a question of limits and boundaries - who do I have to care about and who can I disregard?

Just concentrate on being a neighbour.”

Michael Bonser

Rtd Baptist Pastor

Stanley Road Baptist Church