Who is Your Neighbor?  (Luke 10:25-37)

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered: “ ‘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.’”

28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  (Luke 10:25-29)

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”  (Luke 10:36-37)

Learn it:

            Today we are looking at a well-known parable of Jesus’ called the “Good Samaritan.”  I thought instead at looking at the parable we would look at the event that led to Jesus telling this story.  What happened was a lawyer wanted to test Jesus.  While testing Jesus he wanted to build himself up to make himself look smart as well.  The lawyer starts with an easy question about how someone can inherit eternal life.  Jesus answers the question with another one.  The lawyer knows how to answer the question by repeating Deuteronomy 6:5 which is called the Schema.  It is a verse that every good Jewish boy should know.  He knocks the question out of the park and gets a pat on the back from Jesus.

            The lawyer is not satisfied with that.  He really wants to go a step further and really justify his lifestyle.  He asks Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  He asks this because in some other Jewish writings that command them not to help people who are sinners.  If someone is not a Jew, then they are a sinner, and you are not to help them.  The lawyer is expecting Jesus to reply somewhere along those lines, and he will get another, good job.  Jesus has a story to tell him.  

             Jesus tells a story that would have been shocking to the community.  Traditionally Levite and priest would have been cast as the good guys and a Samaritan would be the bad guy.  Jesus flips the stereotypes and it would have greatly upset the lawyer.  That is why in verse 37 he is unable to say the ethnicity of the hero of the story.  He would only say, “the one who had mercy on him.”  Jesus tells him to go and do likewise. 

Live it:

 

            This is a classic story and its meaning has transcended time.  Jesus calls us to show love and mercy to all people.  There might be times where we want to limit it to certain people, but Jesus wants us to love all his creation.  I ask you, who is your neighbor?  Who has good put in your community that you might be able to love?  It’s easy to love those who are loveable, but Jesus has called us to something greater.  He has given us his Holy Spirit that gives us the power to love the unlovable.  How can you do that today?  Spend some time in prayer today asking God to open your eyes to who your neighbor is and how you can love them.  


Leave a Reply