Who Is My Neighbor?
Every day we are faced with questions, aren’t we? (see what I did there?) During Jesus’ time of ministry “smart people” were always trying to ask Him question to either stump Him, criticize Him, or to justify themselves. In Luke 10:25-37 this happens to Jesus when a lawyer asked Him “what must one do to inherit eternal life?” , in classic Jesus fashion He answers his question with a question, “What is written in the Law?”. Which is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” But still even after helping the man find the answer to his original question the man still was pressing Jesus, asked Him, “Who is my neighbor?”
In Luke 10:30-37 we find Jesus’ answer to this man’s question in the form of a parable that is one of His most famous The parable of The Good Samaritan. I would encourage you to take time to read this story with fresh eyes without your preconceived idea of what “a good Samaritan” is and try to understand how crazy and controversial this story would have been to the people at the time. In light of all of that here are three things I think we learn from this story…
Jesus’ love and Kingdom is for all people. The Jewish people of the time always read and believed loving your neighbor meant your fellow Jew, but in Jesus’ parable He unpacks the beauty of how The Father desires that all human creation would be in a loving relationship and that it wouldn’t be dependent on race, gender, religion, or anything else. In 1 Timothy 2:3-4 we are reminded that “…God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth…” So love all people because Jesus died for all people.
Loving your neighbor requires sacrifice and risk. In the parable the interesting thing is that the first two men didn’t stop likely either for fear of being robbed themselves or not wanting to become ceremonially unclean by touching a dead body and losing their position in the temple. The truth is loving people is messy, scary, risky, and will require us to sacrifice but it’s worth it because it’s what Jesus has done for us. In Luke 6:27-28 and 36, Jesus says some difficult things, “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” We should love even our neighbors because it reflects the love, mercy, and grace that Christ has given to us by pouring it back out to them.
Your neighbor is anyone you have the opportunity to love. When we boil things down its pretty simple to figure out who our neighbor is because all we have to do is look around us. We must look for the people that God has put in our path and choose to love them even when it’s scary, difficult, messy, frustrating, or will cost us something.
Friends lets choose to open our eyes and our heart to love any neighbor Jesus might place in our life and let’s give them the same love we have received from Jesus one that as it is described in 1 Corinthians 13 as “ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”