Who is My Neighbour?
By Sis Dess Villadoz
SCRIPTURE: Luke 10:37-37
30 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. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 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. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[e] 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.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
During the time of Jesus, many people have tested Him with questions that they think would trap Him and will disqualify Him to be called Messiah. Often these questions are uttered by those who experts in the law. They asked Jesus what is written in the law, this is not because they don’t really know what is written, this is mostly for the reason of getting an answer out of Him to make him look like a fool or a fraud.
Nonetheless, Jesus answered them in v 27 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’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself. And who is our neighbour?
Jesus answered them through a parable When Jesus told them the parable of the Good Samaritan, it shows different ways how different characters treated the wounded man.
The teacher of the law treated the wounded man as a topic of discussion.
The robbers as an object to abuse. The priest as a problem to avoid. The Levite as an object of curiosity. The only person who treated the wounded man with love and as a person is the Samaritan.
Oftentimes we have our own prejudices/preconception about the people we meet or see. It may have been a result of bad experiences or just wrong judgement based on outside appearances or little knowledge about the person.
In this parable Jesus teaches us that sometimes a lack of love is easy to justify even it is wrong. Our neighbours are not just the one who can help us or pay back in return, our neighbours are not just the one who have the same race or the social economic background. Our neighbours can be found anywhere, our neighbours are those not just within our circle but the one whose God send our way to show and demonstrates His love. Our neighbours are the one who needed to see God in us.
In Parable of the Good Samaritan, the character in the story whom we expect the most to attend to the wounded man are the ones who avoided to even pass by the same road.
Sometimes showing love – is seeking for practicality. In fact, Jesus shows love in action himself- Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons and fed the hungry. We were never asked to do things beyond our capability. We won’t be able to match Jesus’ actions, but the Good Samaritan man is a good model of how showing love in action despite the differences. The Samaritan and the Jews despise each other, but the Samaritan man set aside any ill feelings to attend the needs of the wounded man. Our desire to show love to our neighbour is an overflow of God’s grace and love toward us. Showing our love to our neighbours does not have to be big in order to be considered acceptable. Sometimes a simple phone call in the middle of a pandemic, a short note to send to let them they are remembered or even just a text message to
Father God, we thank you for showing us the light in everything that we do. May we learn to always recognise where we can demonstrate your love, may your compassion and grace flows to and through us. We could not always find the right heart to be always open to people we meet, nor the willingness to extend our hands to people in need. We thank you for the many chances to make it right and for opening our eyes and our hearts. Thank you for showing us that little deeds can cause a ripple effect. In Jesus Name, Amen!