“Who is my neighbor?” said the young lawyer who was trying to defend himself. Yes, he was self-righteous, arrogant, knew his Scriptures well. But he wasn’t certain what it took to inherit eternal life.Who is my neighbor? said the young, self-righteous, arrogant lawyer who was trying to defend himself. Click To Tweet
Then Jesus asked him what the Law said. He was able to spout the words off clearly. But there was a problem. He needed an out. He wasn’t searching for truth. Who is my neighbor?
Jesus removed all doubt by His answer. He took away every excuse this man as well as each of us could ever want for not knowing.
Who is my neighbor?
The person who makes me uncomfortable.
The person or situation that is inconvenient.
The person who stretches my comfort zone.
The person who pushes me toward compassion and mercy.
The person who does not allow me to maintain my religious composure.
The person who forces me to lean on Jesus.
How was that for an answer the lawyer didn’t want. That story answered his question in a way he didn’t want to hear. It blew a hole in his stereotypical view of who and what his neighbor was and how he was to relate to him/her.WIMN? The person who stretches my comfort zone. The person who pushes me toward compassion & mercy. Click To Tweet
He could no longer maintain all his rules related to ceremonial cleanliness AND treat his neighbor in the way Jesus required. We don’t know if he did what Jesus said or not.
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho,
and he fell among robbers,
who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead.
Now by chance a priest was going down that road,
and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.
So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him,
passed by on the other side.
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was,
and when he saw him, he had compassion.
He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.
Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn
and took care of him.
And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper,
saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend,
I will repay you when I come back.’
Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor
to the man who fell among the robbers?”
He said, “The one who showed him mercy.”
And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Martha, I love the different ways you described who our neighbors are. I would add to it the prickly person who lives near you and is seldom nice. My hubs and I have been challenged to see one nearby family through His eyes. It always easy, but definitely necessary.
great addition jeanne! i’m sure we all can think of many additions to the list. thanks.
Such a wonderful reminder that our neighbor is not always the person that brightens our day but can definitely involve some work and investment. Of course in the end, I do feel brightened when I can do for someone even when it is difficult.
It also reminds me that when we ask Jesus a question, don’t expect that His answer is going to match our expectations.
so true kelly:) great observations!
Thank you for this reminder, Martha. Being a guarded introvert is no excuse. Jesus called me, and that love is unfathonable. Why wouldn’t I run to shine that love?
i’m so glad you stopped by erin…one of my favorite introverts:) my memories of you were that you did share that love in many kind, quiet ways and i’m sure you still do. blessings girl! wish i could hug your neck.
Howdy FMF neighbor! This is one of the scriptures I have an easy time remembering. I don’t always have an easy time living up to it, but I have an easy time remembering it. I have often felt like the outsider in life and it was always such a gift when someone blessed me with a smile or a wave or conversation. It is so important to be seen and recognized as one of the worthy. God sees everyone that way, but it is nice to also be seen by our fellow humans. Thanks for sharing and thanks for stopping by my blog!
i’m glad you stopped by sue:) i get the outsider part. multiple moves didn’t help that feeling of not being a part of where i was. i’m with you. remembering this story and living it out are two different things:(
Whew! The person who doesn’t allow me to retain my religious composure. That one got me. I’ve got to stew on that one. And we don’t know what the rich young ruler did, but either way, he was changed profoundly. I love your direct writing style. You get to it, my friend and that is really refreshing!
thanks christina.i have been taught by some really great people. they don’t let me hide under religious, spiritual sounding words. it has helped me a lot in my growth. but living out what i know is also challenging!
This story is always one of my faves. I want to be like the Good Samaritan!
me too. but i won’t ever fully be like him without Jesus’ help. there was no more natural enemy to the samaritan that a jew. jews distained samaritans. is there anything more difficult than showing love to people that you know look down on you? without Jesus, i can NOT do it.
Oh, that list! How difficult it is to live the person who…….! Dying to myself so that I can love my neighbor with godly love is the essence of the call of a disciple of Christ. Thanks for this slightly uncomfortable post.
Blessings to you!
just remember, i don’t write it from the perspective of someone who has arrived! the whole purpose of that story was to show us how much we need Jesus wasn’t it? first of all, we can’t love GOD in the way the law requires with out Jesus nor can we love our neighbor in the way the parable describes without Jesus…the only perfect One to fulfill the Law for us:) so great!
Great contrast of the arrogant and the humble Martha! I agree, the person that pushes others toward compassion and mercy is a true neighbor and friend. May the Lord help us all to be more compassionate and merciful!
glad you came by christy:) life is slowly getting back into a routine again. that story in luke is loaded isn’t it?