After stating that the commandment "Love your neighbor" is second only to "Love the Lord your God", Jesus was asked, 'Who is my neighbor?'
Jesus replied by telling a simple, but poignant, story about two men. Click here to read the story.
Perhaps it's time to take a fresh look at it and consider how these words of Jesus apply to each one of us.
What do we know about these two men?
Both going about their own business
How can we describe the beaten man?
Alone, likely afraid and embarrassed
Beaten, bloody and dirty, half-dead, in pain
Ignored by two other people who could have helped
Destitute and in needHelpless and open to the elements
What did the Samaritan do?
Observed the man and saw his need
Was not too busy
Entered into this man’s pain
Demonstrated mercy and compassion
Touched the injured manProvided a place of refuge and restoration
Sacrificed his own money and time
Held nothing back
What didn't he do?
Try to convert him
And therefore go thou and do as the Samaritan did, whenever occasion offers: show mercy to those that need thy help, and do it freely, and with concern and compassion, though they be not of thy own nation and thy own profession, or of thy own opinion and communion in religion. Let thy charity be thus extensive. It is the duty of every one of us, according to our ability, to help those that are in distress.
- Matthew Henry, Bible commentator, late 17th century
It is an absolutely staggering commandment. If this is what it means, then something unbelievably powerful and earthshaking and reconstructing and overturning and upending will have to happen in our souls. Something supernatural. Something well beyond what self-preserving, self-enhancing, self-exalting, self-esteeming, self-advancing human beings like John Piper can do on their own.
-John Piper, pastor and author
Who is your ‘neighbor’?
Who is the needy person - that looks and thinks differently - to whom God is calling you?
- Perhaps it’s someone that has been diagnosed with a terminal disease or cancer.
- Or somebody of a different religion. Muslim. Catholic. Hindu. Atheist.
- Someone that holds to a different political persuasion.
- Could it be somebody of a different race or color?
- Maybe it’s a ‘neighbor’ who has a different lifestyle. Homosexual. A couple living together.
- A foreigner, someone for whom English is a second language. An illegal immigrant.
- An adulterer. A divorcee. A struggling single mom. An addict. An ex-con. A prisoner.
- A lonely widow or widower. Someone who is disabled or sick in bed.
- Someone that doesn't look or act or think like you.
Will you ‘go and do likewise’, as Jesus commanded?
As you contemplate this question, please listen carefully to the words of this song.
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks yours
- Casting Crowns, Jesus Friend of Sinners