Love your Neighbor as yourself, but Who is my Neighbor ?

The “Parable of Samaritan”, whereby a certain lawyer stood up and tested Jesus in Luk 10:25 by saying “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”. And when someone asked “what shall I DO” (emphasis on DOing), Jesus would answer him also based on “DOing”. So, Jesus asked him back in Luk 10:26 Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”. Literally, Jesus is saying “You are deep & steep in the Law and yet you don’t’ know what is written in the Law? How do you READ your bible actually?

And the Lawyer, answered Jesus, in Luk 10:27 …, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND,’ and ‘YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'”
Luk 10:28 And He (Jesus) said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”

The Lawyer answered correctly, This one commandment actually had summarized all the rest of the commandments, for instance: you would not commit murder, should you have loved your God & your neighbor; and you would not steal nor covet, should you have trusted your God to provide for your needs. But even so, Has any one on this planet earth from the day of Adam until today, ever fulfilled this main commandment yet?  No one has but one, Only Jesus!

Luk 10:29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is MY NEIGHBOR?”

Who is MY NEIGHBOR? Today we are going to See Bible as Jesus Sees.  When he asked this question, Jesus gave him this parable:

Luk 10:30 “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

Who is this wounded and half dead man? It is the typical man in the world. Before we were saved by His Grace, all of us were Sinners, which means being half dead, disconnected from God and hell-bound, sometimes we were stripped off by thieves, yet we cared not anymore. We were wounded and lived like zombie, yet we knew it not. We were living without the Life & Light of God in the world.

Luk 10:31 Now by chance a certain PRIEST came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
Luk 10:32 Likewise a LEVITE, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.

The Priest and Levite represented Religion hypocrisy, those who claimed they know God, and claimed to be Righteous by their deeds, yet in this parable Jesus said they passed by on the other side, trying to avoid the poor man who was badly wounded on a deserted road.  No one was watching, and therefore the Priest & Levite had apparently showed their true color by avoiding responsibility.

What did you do when no one is watching? what did you do behind a closed door? That will be the test of the real you. Because, if you believe you walk with God, and God is so close with you; then whether or not anyone is watching, it does not matter to you, for God is your justifier not man.

Luk 10:33 But a certain SAMARITAN, as He journeyed, came where he was. And when He saw him, He had compassion.
Luk 10:34 So He went to him and BANDAGED his wounds, POURING on oil and wine; and He SET him ON His Own animal, BROUGHT him to an INN, and TOOK CARE of him.
Luk 10:35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’

Stop here and think of this Question: Who is your NEIGHBOR in this story?  In our mind-set, I believe we all thought “my Neighbor” is that poor wounded half-dead man who needed help. We normally think: “LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR”, means Loving the poor, the needy, and the afflicted.  Many of us will immediately think that the person who fell among the thieves is our Neighbor.  But, that is not the case when you read bible from the lenses of Jesus.  Jesus’ word always has a multi-layer meaning. Look at the next verse here Jesus is about to define “who is your neighbor?” 

Luk 10:36 So which of these THREE do you think was NEIGHBOR to him who fell among the thieves?”

Note: which of these THREE: The Priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan; Jesus did not say “which of these FOUR”, was Neighbor to the injured man? The multiple choice question that Jesus asked, was of the three persons, and Jesus clearly defined them, NOT to include “the man who fell among the thieves”.

The answer is the Samaritan. And, Q: Who is this SAMARITAN?

Jesus was talking about Himself.  Religion could not save you, but added more burden for you to carry, Religion is leaving you alone to save yourself.  Meanwhile, religion points out your sins & failures to make your feel more condemned and more guilty and that makes you repeat your sins in a vicious cycle.  But, Jesus CAME WHERE WE WERE, He left His Kingdom Glory of Heaven, because He saw us, and He had compassion on us.

So, what Jesus did when He came to where we were? Did He give us more rules & regulations to obey? No! Did He drop some medicine and asked us to help ourselves? No! But, He did 5 things (5 = number of Grace):
1) BANDAGED our wounds (Healing & Restoring)
2) POURING oil & wine (Oil = Holy Spirit & Wine = speaks of Joy or redeeming blood of Jesus)
3) SET us ON His Own animal (place of comfort for us, while Jesus Himself took the discomfort of walking)
4) BROUGHT us to an INN (a Church where we belong)
5) TOOK CARE of us (Shepherd & sheep relationship)

Luk 10:35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’

The INN represented the church, and verse 35 is kindly assuring Pastors and Leaders (the innkeeper), to take care of His flocks while Jesus was away. The two denarii represented two days wage (Bible one denarii represented one day’s wage). One bible day is equal one thousand years. Thus, it has been about two thousand years since Jesus resurrected, that the churches on earth have been blessed with resources to take care of God’s people (Christians). And, Jesus encouraged the Pastors & Leaders of churches to give the extra miles, if they could, not just normal care but give more, and Jesus assured them here that when He comes again, He will repay you. And when God repays, He does not know what is enough, and He always gives abundantly more than enough.

Back to the commandment “LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF” so who is your Neighbor? He is Jesus Himself!; is it difficult to love your Redeemer, Jesus Christ?  Isn’t it easier to love the one who saved you than trying to love some stranger who was injured & needing help?

It is easy to Love your Redeemer, if you just let yourself receive His goodness in your life.  Jesus said: “Let me Love you, dan provide for you, Let me heal your wounds, Let me be your shepherd and make you to lie down in green pasture and Lead you beside the still water”.  We cannot give anyone anything, for unless we have something to give.  We cannot give for unless and until God demonstrated His Kindness, and administer to us His Grace, and with His Goodness & Grace abundant in our life, we are now able to Love Him and Love Others too. We are now able to Bless others with the spill-over that Jesus first gave.  (1John 4:19 We love because He first loved us.)

Good-Samaritan

 

The Road to Emmaus – a Love Story from the Garden of Eden Restored

The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-36) contains many Gold-nuggets to discover, we are about to discover a Restoration process of what was lost in the Garden of Eden by the First Adam. The story begins with two disciples of Jesus, who were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day that Jesus rose from the dead. There were two disciples but the bible only mentioned one name: Cleopas, and the other one unnamed.    We may have assumed that they were both male disciples, but actually the bible does not say anything about this.  I submit to you that they were husband and wife, Mr. & Mrs. Cleopas.

It is the Jews culture during the time to mention only the name of the man (husband). For instance, when Jesus was feeding the multitude of 5000 man with five loaves of bread and two small fish; it only mentioned the man. Five thousand men were accounted, excluding (not counting) woman and children (Mat 14:21  Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children).

This is not just the culture, but this is how God sees a married couple, as ONE. We see this evidenced even in the creation of mankind Adam & Eve. (Gen 5:2 KJV.  Male and female created He them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.)  God addressed them both as one person, and God named them Adam. Wait a minute! How about Eve?  Well, read your Bible, God did not name Eve, It was Adam who named his wife’s as Eve, and It was just Adam who called her Eve.  While, God has been calling both of them as Adam (Mr. & Mrs).  Although, it was Eve who was first deceived by the serpent and it was Eve who misled Adam to eat the wrong fruit, but whoever made the mistake, God treated them as equally responsible, because God sees them as ONE.

This is also evidenced in many countries’ social culture, to call a married couple by the husband’s name, eg. Mr. & Mrs. Smith.  So, now we know that the two disciples, who walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus, were husband & wife, Mr. & Mrs. CLEOPAS.  As they were walking and talking about what had just happened in Jerusalem “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth”, suddenly Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him (Luk 24:14-16).

Why did Jesus restrained their eyes not to know Him? Likewise to ask, why Jesus did not walk around in Jerusalem after His Resurrection showing off His NAILED PIERCED HANDS? Is it not going to astound people of His Deity identity? No, obviously God did not think like human, this is not the way of God. He wants all of us to stand equal chance to see Him by FAITH. In that Emmaus Journey we know that Jesus expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.  He wanted them to see Him in the Scriptures by FAITH NOT BY SIGHT.  Because, without faith it is impossible to please God.

It is a beautiful picture of them in the EVENING WALKING together with Jesus on the day of His first bodily Resurrection. It is like referring to the first Adam usually walking in the evening with God in the Garden of Eden.

Gen 3:8  …God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, (EVENING time) – Adam & Eve walking with God.
Luk 24:29  …”Abide with us, for it is toward EVENING,…  (Mr. & Mrs. Cleopas walking with Jesus)

And this is significant because this event corresponded to and restored the creation story in the Garden of Eden, whereby the first created couple (husband & wife) Adam & Eve had failed by committing the high treason of partaking from the forbidden tree, which was the only commandment that God had given them. There were two special TREEs in the middle of the Garden. They partook from the wrong tree, the TREE OF KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD & EVIL (the first tree). While, God actually gave them a choice to partake from the TREE OF LIFE.

Both trees would open the eyes of man, the first tree opened their eyes to their nakedness. When Eve took of its fruit and ate and she also gave it to Adam who was with her, and he ate it; what happened?

Gen 3:7  Then the EYES of both of them were OPENED, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

Their eyes were opened to see their Lack, and shortcomings, and they tried to cover themselves with fig leaves, which is a picture of Self Righteousness, trying to justify themselves with their work & self-effort to achieve God’s Favor. Apparently, they realized whatever their self-work to cover themselves did not measure up to God’s standard, and as a result, they were afraid, they were in fear and they hid themselves from God (Gen 3:8-10).

God did not want them to partake from this tree but God cannot violate His own creation of Free Will. Likewise, God cannot force you to love Him. It must come from your free will. Thus, a free will to be a free will, there must be a choice. God put both trees in the middle of the Garden for them to choose.

Jesus showed us in this event, that He is faithful and has restored the failures of first Adam partaking from the wrong tree, with what?  With the Lord Supper of Breaking the bread.

Luk 24:30  Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He TOOK BREAD, BLESSED and BROKE it, and GAVE it to them.
Luk 24:31  Then their EYES WERE OPENED and they KNEW Him; and He vanished from their sight.

The breaking of Bread is the holy communion between believers and Christ Jesus, a union in the body and soul. In other word, the Breaking of Bread is the TREE OF LIFE, the tree that Adam had missed it in the Garden of Eden. We have partaken this Tree through our continuous Holy Communion with Christ that rendered to infuse Life into our body, making us more healthy and adding years to our age, and energy to our body.

Joh 6:51  I am the living BREAD which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My FLESH, which I shall give for the LIFE (Greek: Zoe) of the world.”

“Zoe” of the world is the Physical life, NOT Eternal (spiritual) life which in Greek is “Zoe Ionos”

And, look what happened to Mr. & Mrs. Cleopas? After their eyes were opened? (Luk 24:33  So they ROSE UP that very hour and RETURNED to Jerusalem,…) 

Their heart was burning with the warmth of Christ’s Love, and it energized them to immediately walk back from Emmaus to Jerusalem again, which is total walk of 14 Km just during that evening alone, wow what a strong body?!.  Their Heart burning with the Passion of Christ Revelation, and they wanted to share it with the rest of the disciples in Jerusalem.

Road to Emmaus Restoring Adam and Eve