Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6 (1889-1890)


Ms 40, 1889

Diary — Thoughts on Luke 10


Circa November 1889

Previously unpublished.

Luke 10:25-37. The lawyer who made this inquiry of Christ had been leavened with the spirit of unbelief which so largely came into the hearts of the Pharisees. With the priests and rulers he had become prejudiced against Jesus of Nazareth because He presented ideas that were not in harmony with their own teachings. In the place of coming to the Scriptures with a desire to understand the truth of these lessons given by our Lord, they came with a determination to make of none effect His words which did not harmonize with their practical life. 6LtMs, Ms 40, 1889, par. 1

The lawyer, imbued with the spirit of controversy and determined to carry out this spirit of criticism [in order ] to get something out of the mouth of Christ which would give them an excuse to condemn Him, made this inquiry, “What shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Jesus placed the burden of answer upon himself. “What saith the law? how readest thou?” And he answered, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy strength; and thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus answered him, “Thou hast answered right; this do and thou shalt live”—that is, live eternal life. But he was not pleased; he had not succeeded in obtaining the real object of his inquiry. “This do and thou shalt live” condemned his practice, and he, willing to justify his course, said, “And who is my neighbor?” Then the Lord Jesus presented a case to make plain or explain who is our neighbor. 6LtMs, Ms 40, 1889, par. 2

The Lord, the Searcher of human hearts, opened to this lawyer where he failed to keep the law of God. In his idea of seclusion and separation from those not in harmony with himself, he had neglected to carry out the very principles of the law of God. Christ reveals the far-reaching principles of the law of God: that it enjoins not merely formal services but the love of God to be practiced in just such unselfish deeds as were done to the unfortunate man by the sect whom they despised, and that this work compassed both love to God and love to man. The answer of Christ, “This do and thou shalt live,” awakened his conscience. [Verse 28.] 6LtMs, Ms 40, 1889, par. 3

God is weaving the great events of human destinies. It is the Lord who brings men over the ground where they have opportunities to connect with their fellow men and do the works of mercy and love which are the true principles of the law of God. “And who is my neighbor?” brings out in the lessons of Christ the principles of the law of God which the Pharisees had ignored. A priest in holy office who, it is supposed, would have pity, “passed by on the other side.” He did not seize the precious privilege of doing the work it was his privilege to do, but left the sufferer, it may be, to die. Then came a Levite, one who was peculiarly favored of God. 6LtMs, Ms 40, 1889, par. 4