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

 

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