One day, a lawyer came to Jesus to test him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered, “What is written in God’s law?
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind. And love your neighbor as yourself,” the lawyer said. Jesus answered, “You are correct! Do this and you will live.” But the lawyer wanted to prove that he was right, so he asked, “Who is my neighbour?“
Jesus answered with a story. “There was a Jewish man who was traveling along the road from Jerusalem to Jericho.”
“While he was traveling, he was attacked by a group of robbers. They took everything he had and beat him until he was almost dead. Then they went away.”
“Soon after that, a Jewish priest happened to walk down that same road. When this religious leader saw the man who had been robbed and beaten, he moved to the other side of the road, ignored the man in need, and kept on going.”
“Not long after that, a Levite came down the road. (Levites were a tribe of Jews who helped the priests at the Temple.) The Levite also crossed over to the other side of the road and ignored the man who had been robbed and beaten.”
“The next person to walk down that road was a Samaritan. (Samaritans were the descendants of Jews and people from other nations. Samaritans and Jews hated each other.) When the Samaritan saw the man, he was filled with compassion. He cared for him and bandaged his wounds.”
“The Samaritan then lifted the man onto his own donkey and took him to a hotel where he took care of him.”
“The next day, the Samaritan needed to continue his journey. He gave the person in charge of the hotel some money and said, ‘Take care of him, and if any extra money is spent, I will repay those expenses when I return.”
Then Jesus asked the lawyer, “Which one of the three men do you think was a neighbour to the man who was robbed and beaten?” The lawyer replied, “The one who showed mercy.”
Jesus told the lawyer, “You go and do the same thing.