The Parables of Jesus
March 22, 2022
The Good Samaritan
I would guess that many of you have neighbors that you either don’t speak to at all or when you see them, or you occasionally wave and say, “Hi, how’s it going?”
Our next-door neighbors, John and Janet, exemplify the true meaning of the word neighbor. Here are just a few examples:
When Janet bakes or John smokes meat, they drop some off to us. (I do reciprocate by bringing baked good off)
When I was in the hospital a couple of years ago, John installed a security light for me.
Janet always cuts a portion of our lawn because she knows it’s hard for me to do with my bad knees and, just to be nice.
Just yesterday, I was going out to the mailbox. John and Janet pulled into their driveway, just as our new neighbors across the street did. John saw me, waved, and said, “Hi Joe, how’s it going.” At the same time, our new neighbor came over and said to John, “Can you give us a hand with something really quick.” John didn’t ask what it was or how long it would take. Instead, he quickly replied, “Sure, not a problem.”
John and Janet are great examples of “Loving your neighbor as yourself.”
And that brings us to today’s Parable.
Let’s read the story and the dialog between Jesus and the expert in the law:
“On one occasion, an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” He replied. “How do you read it?”
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’10:27 Deut. 6:5; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’10:27 Lev. 19:18.”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this, and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
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. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 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. The next day he took out two denarii10:35 A denarius was the usual daily wage of a day laborer (see Matt. 20:2). 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.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:25-37
Who is my neighbor? That’s quite a question, isn’t it? But when you read today’s story, that answer is straightforward. Everyone is your neighbor.
Samaritans were looked down upon by the Jews. They were considered spiritually corrupt, and half-breed foreigners comprised Israelites and Pagan foreigners.
So, when Jesus used a Samaritan as an example of a good neighbor, it must have raised a few eyebrows not only amongst the experts of the law but also with His own followers. Among the Jews of the day, a neighbor was described as a fellow countryman of the same race.
The expert in the law was looking for a legal answer to who is my neighbor. But, Jesus gave him much more. God wants us to go beyond the racial division surrounding us and love the neighbor, whoever they might be.
Here’s the point: Everyone is our neighbor, no matter who it is, no matter their race, creed, or color, and yes, even political view. In Christ’s eyes, we are all brothers and sisters.
We live in a society that “preaches” things like “Me First” and “You’re the most important person in your life. None of this is true. Jesus put the needs of mankind ahead of His own and gave the ultimate sacrifice. His life for our salvation. Perhaps, making others more significant than ourselves, isn’t such a bad idea.
Dear Jesus. Help us to remember that everyone is our neighbor. Let your words, “The Son of Man came to serve, not to be served,” be our guide as we emulate your love for others. Amen.