Who is My Neighbor?

 

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This past Sunday in my husband’s message, he mentioned that if we wanted to go really “deep” we would learn to love our neighbor as ourselves. This reminded me of when Jesus was talking to the guy in the Bible that seemed to be quite a smarty pants.

(Luke 10:25-29 MSG) 

“Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?” He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?”He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.” “Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.” Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?”

Sounds to me like he was a religious scholar that may have also been an attorney. He really didn’t get it!! First he addresses Jesus as “teacher” which is a bit of an undercut to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords but pride is obviously leading him. However, it didn’t seem to effect Jesus, oh to be more like Him!!  The attorney quoted the correct old testament scripture but instead of getting it, he asks a smarty pants question.. “Well, just who is my neighbor.”

Well, Jesus told the challenged individual a quick story. Remember, Jesus always ups the ante.

(Luke 10:30-37 MSG)

“Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.33-35 “A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’

36 “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”

37 “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.

Jesus said, “Go and do the same.””

Samaritans were looked down on by the Jews at this time. So this story truly represents the ridiculousness of this guys question. This guy would of much rathered the Samaritan been the bad guy or at least the guy that got robbed, but Jesus used him as the hero of the story.

I love that at the end of the story Jesus just didn’t leave it there, he asked the guy which man became a “neighbor” to the man attacked by robbers. He then challenged the “scholar” to the same type of kindness.

People matter to God, all people. Kindness is not something that should be offered whenever it is comfortable for us or whenever we have the time. That requires nothing extra, but when I am overwhelmed with my busy schedule then I have to depend on God to give me strength, wisdom and endurance. He can take all of my shortcomings and pour grace on them so that I might benefit someone else.

Just in case you were still wondering, your neighbor is anyone that God allows you to bump in to. So, love your neighbor as yourself and you will live!

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