2019 Study Summary 16: What Shall I Do to Inherit Eternal Life? | Israel Revealed

2019 Study Summary 16: What Shall I Do to Inherit Eternal Life?

Matthew 18; Luke 10

“What Shall I Do to Inherit Eternal Life?”

What is the difference between stewardship and ownership?
I participated in an archaeological survey close to Jericho discussing the odd nature of a beautiful first century synagogue floor. What was odd was that almost every ancient mosaic floor found in Israel has the signature of the donor with his family name and title. This one simply had an inscription indicating that the “entire community” had done this work. I had the distinct feeling we were standing on the remains of a worship center used by early ““Former-day Saints,” people who committed themselves to first the building of the Kingdom of God. “. . . They had all things common . . . Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.” (Acts 4:32-35)

How long has the principle of stewardship existed?
Stewardship is an eternal principle also given before Jesus’ time. “For Moses had said, consecrate yourselves to day to the LORD . . .” (Exodus 32:29) “Remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support that which thou hast to impart unto them, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken.” (DC 42:30)

What prompted two different answers?
In Jesus’ day, two men asked what they should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus gave each one an answer that applied to him because each had to learn a principle he needed most. The rich young man was told to keep the commandments and when he answered that he observed them all, he was told to sell what he had and give to the poor. On the other hand, a lawyer was asked a question and when he answered correctly Jesus told him to follow his own answer. In other words, “Do it.”

Rich Man
“And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? . . . Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven.” (Mark 10:17-20)

“And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? 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 neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” (Luke 10:25-28)

What lesson can I learn?
The answer to the lesson title’s question includes more than a lesson on riches, wealth or worldly aspects. It is a lesson in stewardship, humility, and a fervent purpose of service to others guided by mercy, piety, wisdom, humility, gentility, and understanding.“The prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 7:9) put it: “. . . execute the judgment and show mercy and compassion every man to his brother.” (Zechariah 7:9)(Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

What is the location of the parable that includes a Samaritan?
From Israel’s Dead Sea an ancient highway goes up to Jerusalem. In just a dozen miles or so, there is a climb of about four thousand feet in elevation from thirteen hundred feet below sea level to about twenty-seven hundred feet above. The term “up to Jerusalem” has a physical as well as a spiritual implication.

What are the Rules of Cleanliness?
Special travel rules of cleanliness applied to the priests who had to remain “unblemished” to serve in the temple? They stayed away from any decay or waste matter. They kept at least a specific distance away from anything dead (unless it was killed as a sacrifice in the temple). ). “And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean.” as stated in (Numbers 19:16) ) It is still a custom among some of those considering themselves to be Levites to circumvent graveyards or any place where there is death.

What term does the Savior use describing people in the parable?
On the road from Jericho to Jerusalem, an Byzantime inn has been restored to represent the inn of a New Testament story Jesus told. Modern Christians refer to the inn as the “Good Samaritan Inn.” The truth is that Jesus never used the term good Samaritan. The setting, however, reminds us of the parable Jesus chose as he answered a lawyer, who challenged Him, the Lawgiver: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25)

Carpenter, Craftsman or skilled in the law?
It is will be helpful in understanding the reason Jesus answered as He did. He was known as Rabbi, “Master of the law” (Hebrew), instead of a carpenter. You’ll remember, that the New Testament Greek word was not carpenter but craftsman. The craft in Nazareth was a huge stone quarry. It may be more than mere coincidence that Jesus was referred to as the “Rock of Salvation” and the “Chief Corner Stone.” He is the lawgiver.“We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1)

Who is my neighbor?
So, answering the lawyer who challenged Jesus and having been trained in the law himself, the new rabbi from Nazareth answered with a question, , “What is written in the law? how readest Thou?” (Luke 10:26)

Showing his own legal acumen, the lawyer recited the first law of loving God and neighbor, but challenged Jesus to a legal definition. “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29)The Savior then related this story:“A certain man 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: and when he saw him, he passed by the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by the other side. But a certain Samaritan [a non-Jew] . . . came where he was: . . . 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.(LUKE 10:30-34)

What implies that Jews were bad by saying the Samaritan was good?
Today local Jews don’t use the term “good” Samaritan; to some, it has anti-Semitic implications to bad Jews. I remember that an instructor of the Ministry of Tourism Guide Course even suggested that Jesus was an anti-Semite. She said, “Even when Jesus made up a story, he portrayed the Jews as ‘bad guys’ and the non-Jew as the ‘good guy.’”

What was the real Intent of the parable?
Of course, Jesus had no intention of portraying Jews as uncompassionate. In His story He’s making a legal point responding to the lawyer’s question, “Who is my neighbor?” The Hebrew inference was that the priest and the Levite were within their legal rights – not to be defiled by being too close to the dead – and rather than take a chance, they walked on the other side. Their lack of action was strictly legal, but it missed the higher law of compassion, governed by the spirit, not the letter of the law. “The Talmud prescribes that if a priest, even the High Priest, chances upon a corpse by the wayside, and there is no one else in the area who can be called upon to bury it, then the priest himself must forgo the requirement to abstain from defilement and perform the burial of this person (a meit mitzvah).” (Talmud Yerushalmi to Nazir 7:1, Kethuboth 113a)

How can I truly be a good neighbor?
In developing true forgiveness, understanding and childlike faith, and to truly be a neighbor, we should consider removing the “good” from the “good Samaritan,” thereby removing the inferred “bad” from the Jews in the story. All three were good in their own perceptions. The Levite and the priest just missed the point of a higher law. That doesn’t mean the lesser law is bad and those who ardently attempt to keep it are thereby bad as well.

How does the Law of Consecration require concentration?
The law of consecration, in a celestial sense, is a stewardship of doing – without being instructed to do so. Those that have to ask, “What must I do to inherit life?” must grasp the opportunity to reach higher so that the spirit can dictate the answer, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.”

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