Neighbor

Luke 10:25-37
Just then an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. He asked, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “What is written in the law? What do you read there?” He answered, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus told him, “You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live.”

But the man wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” After careful consideration, Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell into the hands of bandits. They stripped him, beat him, and went away, leaving him half dead.

By chance, a priest was traveling along that road. When he saw the man, he went by on the other side. Similarly, a Levite came to that place. When he saw the man, he also went by on the other side.

But as he was traveling along, a Samaritan came across the man. When the Samaritan saw him, he was moved with compassion. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If you spend more than that, I’ll repay you when I come back.’

“Of these three men, who do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the bandits?” He said, “The one who showed mercy to him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do what he did.”

Possible Points of Jesus
  1. LESSONS FROM THE PARABLE
    1. A NEIGHBOR IS ONE IN NEED WHOM WE CAN HELP…
      1. One might think that a neighbor is one with whom we share affinities
        1. Such as being of the same race, nationality, or religion
        2. I.e., anyone who is not considered your enemy
      2. Yet Jesus put such a concept to rest by using the Samaritan as an example
        1. The Samaritans were different in race, nationality and religion from the Jews
        2. There was animosity between them – cf. Jn 4:9; Lk 9:52-53
        3. Though considered enemies, the Samaritan was helping a Jew in need
      3. And so it is that Christians are to show “hospitality” (lit., “love of strangers”) – cf. Ro 12:13; Mt 5:43-48; Ga 6:10
        — Your neighbor, then, is anyone in need whom you have the ability to help!
    2. THE INCONGRUITY OF DIVORCING NEIGHBORLINESS FROM RELIGION…
      1. Of the three passers-by in the parable, the first two should have been the first to help
        1. The priest and the Levite should have been influenced by their religion to help
        2. Indeed they were taught to love the stranger – Lev 19:33-34; Deut 10:17-19
      2. When they separated neighborliness from their religion, they became hypocritical
        1. For the priest would teach the Law, and the Levite would assist in the service
        2. But failing to “practice what they preach” showed how shallow their devotion to their faith really was
      3. As Christians, we need to be sure to practice “pure and undefiled religion”, otherwise we deceive ourselves – cf. Ja 1:22,26-27
        — What kind of religion do we have?
    3. THE COST OF COMPASSION…
      1. A willingness to cross social barriers
        1. As Jesus illustrated in using a Samaritan in this parable
        2. There should be no religious, racial, or national barriers to showing compassion!
      2. A willingness to take risks
        1. The Samaritan took a great risk by stopping to help
          1. What if the robbers were still near by?
          2. What if other thieves came by on this road known as “The Way Of Blood”?
        2. So Christians are called upon to take risks – cf. Lk 6:30
          1. How do we know people won’t take advantage of our generosity?
          2. Perhaps this is an area where we need to have faith in God
      3. A willingness to set aside busy schedules
        1. The Samaritan was on a journey, but took the time to stop and care for the man
        2. Jesus taught us to take the time to show compassion even when forced – Mt 5:41
          1. The first mile may have been forced
          2. But the second mile was one to be given out of love
      4. A willingness to make sacrifices
        1. The Samaritan sacrificed more than just time and energy
          1. He used some of his own provisions – Lk 10:34
          2. He even offered an open-ended agreement to provide for his help – Lk 10:35
        2. Jesus taught His disciples to be willing to make sacrifices – Lk 6:29-30,34-35
        3. In so doing, we are truly followers of God and walking in love – Ep 5:1-2
  2. CONCLUSION
    1. With the parable of “The Good Samaritan”, we are challenged to a higher standard of love
      1. Higher in that the definition of “neighbor” is more inclusive
      2. Higher in that the definition of “compassion” is greater
    2. This should not be surprising in light of what Jesus told His disciples earlier:”For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat 5:20)
    3. What is your righteousness like? That of the priest and Levite, or of the Samaritan?
      1. Only as we emulate the example of the good Samaritan, can it be said that our righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees!
      2. Only then do we have the assurance of entering the kingdom of heaven!

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