Surely, you've heard the story.

A man traveling from Jerusalem to Jerico (making him unquestionably Jewish) was attacked by thieves and left on the side of the road. Along comes a priest (Jewish) who sees the guy lying in the ditch, skips over to the other side of the road, and passes him by. Then a Levite (also Jewish) comes along and sees his homie bleeding to death on the side of the road and also passes him over. Finally, along comes this Samaritan who sees the victim's plight, is moved with pity, picks him up, bandages his wounds, takes him to the nearest trauma center (a roadside inn) and promises the innkeeper that he'll take care of the bill.

Most people know this as a great parable of love, compassion, and concern for our fellow man.

What most people don't know is why Jesus told the story in the first place - and why he chose 3 Jews and a Samaritan.

See, a lawyer (yep, they were stirring things up back then too) asks Jesus what he must do to gain eternal life.

Ooooooh Yeah!  The whole, beautiful story about the Good Samaritan came to us as Jesus' explanation of what we need to do to "gain eternal life".

Odd... Based on the Christian teachings we hear today, you would think the answer would be, "believe in me as your personal savior."  Or maybe something like, "believe on me, the Christ, and you will be saved - and your house" - which is what the Apostle Paul taught (Acts 16:31).

But, noooooo.  That answer is not anywhere near what Jesus has in mind. So, Jesus puts his teacher hat on and asks the lawyer "What is written in the law, lawyer?"