The parable of the Good Samaritan is a compelling story for all generations. Jesus is asked by a legal expert to give him the recipe to inherit eternal life. Like most attorneys (including myself), once the recipe is given, he immediately begins to do a legal analysis. So, he asks Jesus to define neighbor. In the end, it becomes apparent that neighbors include everyone. It is the heart and attitude of people and not proximity or ethnicity; that make the difference.
In the story, the most hated person in the Jewish community sacrifices for a Jewish man that would ignore or even treat Him awfully. So, Jesus asks, inn that scenario who is the neighbor. The answer is clear. The man that gives his life for others. That was the mission Jesus was trying to complete in His ministry. Remember, God’s plan for Israel was to build a nation of priests, Not warriors. His people were to carry God’s message of redemption to the world.
In our time, there is so much anger and division that we look a great deal like the people in Jesus story. As in Jesus time, we are called to be the neighbor. We are to love folks that we do not naturally even like. We are called to lay our lives down for those that would ignore or even treat us awfully. We are called to be Christ’s ambassadors. We carry the message of hope and redemption to all that would listen. That mission has never been easy and often is not returned favorably. Still, if we will trust God and follow His lead, He will bless and provide for all circumstances.
God Bless You
25 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?”
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?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “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.”