The Review and Herald


October 10, 1899

“This Do, and Thou Shalt Live”


“And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” The Pharisees had suggested this question to the lawyer, in the hope that they might entrap Christ in his words, and the lawyer asked the question as if it were one of serious import. Priests and rulers listened with bated breath for Christ's answer. Christ read the heart of the lawyer, and he turned the question over to him for answer. RH October 10, 1899, par. 1

“What is written is the law?” he asked. “How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.” “Thou hast answered right,” Christ said; “this do, and thou shalt live.” Christ knew that no one present could keep the law in his own strength. He desired to lead the lawyer to clearer and more critical research, that he might find the truth. Only by accepting the virtue and grace of Christ can the law be kept. Belief in the propitiation for sin enables fallen man to love God with his whole heart, and his neighbor as himself. RH October 10, 1899, par. 2

The lawyer knew that he kept neither the first four nor the last six commandments; but in the hope of justifying himself, he asked, “And who is my neighbor?” Christ then related an incident that had lately taken place, the memory of which was fresh in the minds of all. “A certain man,” he said, “went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way.” He saw the man lying wounded and bruised, weltering in his own blood, but he left him without rendering any assistance. He passed by on the other side. RH October 10, 1899, par. 3

“Likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him.” He saw his great need, but he, too, “passed by on the other side. RH October 10, 1899, par. 4

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.” RH October 10, 1899, par. 5

In giving this lesson, Christ presented the principles of the law of God in a direct, forcible way, showing his hearers that they had neglected to carry out these principles. His words were so definite and pointed that the listeners found no opportunity to cavil or raise objections. The lawyer found nothing in the lesson that he could criticize. His prejudice in regard to Christ was removed. But he had not overcome his national dislike sufficiently to give credit to the Samaritan by name. When Christ asked, “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among thieves?” he answered, “He that showed mercy on him.” RH October 10, 1899, par. 6

“Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” Show the same tender kindness to those in need. Thus you will give evidence that you keep the whole law. RH October 10, 1899, par. 7

Those who study this lesson aright will see that in order to keep the law it is necessary to have a knowledge of God; for the law is the transcript of his character, and his character is love. Moses prayed, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory. And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee.” “And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.” RH October 10, 1899, par. 8

The Jewish ceremonial law has passed away. The temple is in ruins. Jerusalem was given up to be destroyed. But the law of the ten commandments lives, and will live through the eternal ages. The need for the service of sacrifices and offerings ceased when type met anti-type in the death of Christ. In him the shadow reached the substance. The Lamb of God was a complete and perfect offering. Types and shadows, offerings and sacrifices, had no virtue after Christ's death on the cross; but God's law was not crucified with the Saviour. Had it been, Satan would have gained all that he attempted to gain in heaven. For this attempt he was expelled from the heavenly courts, and today he is deceiving human beings in regard to the law of God. But this law will maintain its exalted character as long as the throne of Jehovah endures. Christ came to live this law, and he declared, “I have kept my Father's commandments.” RH October 10, 1899, par. 9

The lawyer asked, “Who is my neighbor?” In answer Christ related an actual occurrence, of which his hearers knew. The man who had been robbed was a Jew, one who in every sense should have awakened the sympathy and regard of those of his own nation. The priest and Levite, professedly acknowledging the law of God as their guide, should have been the first to minister with tender compassion to their suffering brother. But they passed by on the other side. It is not those who make the highest profession of righteousness who love God supremely and their neighbor as themselves. RH October 10, 1899, par. 10

The great difference between the Jews and the Samaritans was a difference of religious belief, a question as to what constituted true worship. The Pharisees would say nothing good of the Samaritans, but poured their bitterest curses upon them. So strong was the antipathy between the Jews and the Samaritans that it seemed a strange thing to the Samaritan woman that Christ should ask her for a drink. “How is it,” she said, “that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for,” adds the evangelist, “the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.” And when the Jews were so filled with murderous hatred against Christ that they rose up in the temple to stone him, they could find no better words by which to express their hatred than, “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” Yet the Jews neglected the very work the Lord had enjoined on them, leaving a hated and despised Samaritan to minister to one of their own countrymen. RH October 10, 1899, par. 11

Many bitter sneers were hurled at the Samaritans by the Jews. The one of whom Christ told, took his revenge by acting as Jesus would have acted. He fulfilled the command, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” thus showing that he was more righteous than those by whom he was denounced. Risking his own life, he treated the wounded man as his brother. This Samaritan represents Christ. Jesus laid aside his royal robe and kingly crown to assume the garb of humanity. He stooped from the position of commander in the heavenly courts to become a servant. He clothed his divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity. He was the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, yet he humbled himself. His whole life was one of poverty and self-denial. For our sake he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. He did not live to please himself. His life is the mystery of godliness. RH October 10, 1899, par. 12

Jesus was the foundation of the Jewish economy, the author of all their laws, statutes, and requirements. How his soul was pained and his heart filled with grief as he saw those who claimed to be the depositaries of truth, mercy, and compassion, so destitute of the love of God. The Saviour is guiding. He has hold of man and of the throne of divinity. In the providence of God, the priest and Levite were brought in contact with a suffering fellow creature, that they might minister to him. Christ is constantly weaving the web of human events. He placed this suffering man where one who had sympathy and compassion would give attention to his needs. The Lord permits suffering and calamity to come upon men and women to call us out of our selfishness, to awaken in us the attributes of his character,—compassion, tenderness, and love. RH October 10, 1899, par. 13