To start this study we need to understand that the Pharisees, and the Sadducees, and the lawyers, and the scribes who were living at the time that Jesus walked on earth, were extremely well studied in the Scriptures. Each sub-group had its own distinct membership, and in a few cases there might be dual membership, such as a scribe might also be a Pharisee. So when Jesus came along there was a jealousy of Him because He didn’t have membership in any group, and therefore wasn’t subject to their authority. Like a tradesman or teacher that isn’t in the Union, it’s hard to get them to abide by the rules of said Union. Therefore they hated Jesus, no matter how well He understood the Scriptures, or how well He taught the truth of Jehovah, He wasn’t furthering their cause, which had little to do with spiritual issues, and actually helping people.
In the passage from Matthew, a lawyer, one who studied the Law of Moses, asks Jesus what was the greatest of the Commandments in order to test Him. In Luke a lawyer put Jesus to the test by asking how to gain eternal life. In both cases the answer was to “love the LORD your God with heart, soul, and mind, and to love your neighbor as your self.” In the Luke passage the Lawyer follows up with an addition question, “Who is my neighbor. The answer Jesus gives is the parable of the Good Samaritan, where both a Priest of Israel, and a Levite, both esteemed workers in the temple, each having separate but distinguished responsibilities in the worship ceremonies of Jehovah, pass by a wounded man without giving aid. Then comes along a Samaritan, who is regarded as a foreigner to Israel because of intermarriage with Gentiles, and unlawful worship locations, established centuries before. The Samaritans are legally wrong according to the Torah and as such, the Israelites had legal ground to reject them. So as Jesus uses a Samaritan as the one who shows mercy and actually helps the wounded man in this story, the lawyer has no recourse but to admit that he, the Samaritan, was the one who acted as a neighbor.
Therefore Jesus raised the awareness of this lawyer and all who were listening, a new dimension to the already high standard of loving God, and your neighbor, to now include loving your enemy. The lawyer who set out to test Jesus was the one who was being put to the test. The Samaritan who was the enemy of the Israelite lawyer became a neighbor, by his own admission. We are told by the Scriptures to love God, and many say they do, yet show little love for their neighbor. 1 John 4.20 says, ” If someone says ‘ I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
We, as believers, have a God who loves us and wants the very best for us in this life and beyond, but also requires from us to love and pursue Him, with all our hearts, soul, and mind.
1 Corinthians 13.4 says, ” Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous, love does not brag, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek it’s owns not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.