Who Is My Neighbor? (the parable of the very good samaritan)

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The Parable of the Great Samaritan is one particular of my favourite parables. I know, I know… I say that about all of them. But seriously this one particular is very good. If you haven’t study it do it right here: Luke 10:25-37

Jesus displays his genius by not only not falling for a trap, but by turning the tables back on the individual who asked the query.

Let’s start out with the set up. 

Anytime a religious leader, in this case a lawyer, tries to trap Jesus you know it is going to get very good. And this case is no exception.

His opening query (Luke 10:25) appears really affordable, What should I do to inherit eternal life? But the author tells us his intentions had been much less than stellar. So correct off the bat we know he does not definitely care about what Jesus has to say. He desires to trap Jesus. And he does with a complicated theological query.

The initially issue we should really take note of is who is asking this query. A lawyer, or religious specialist. In other words this guy knows his stuff. He most likely has most of law (scripture) memorized. Since he’s so familiar with the law he knows that this is not an simple query to answer. He’s not asking due to the fact he’s interested in the answer he’s asking due to the fact he desires to trip Jesus up. And he asks a query that would trip up even the finest teachers of the day.

Rather than answer this trick query, Jesus asks yet another query (Luke 10:26). He knows that this guy would rather speak than listen. So Jesus throws the query back at him. What do you believe?  And here’s the thing… He answered properly (Luke 10:27-28). He gets it correct.

Jesus even tells him he answers correct, but he tacks on that it is not okay to just know it. You have to essentially reside it. The lawyer is sharp and he sees what Jesus just did. Jesus just referred to as him out on not living up to what he believes. Now he’s faced with how to respond. He can either repent and repair his approaches. Or attempt to justify his actions. He chose the latter.

And who is my neighbor?  – The Lawyer

Realizing he can not essentially reside out the law completely, he searches for the loophole. He’s not interested in following Jesus he just desires the rewards. He does not want to know who his neighbor is rather who his neighbor is not. That way he can narrow the field so he can claim that he is fulfilling the law.

Prior to we go about criticizing this guy, he was following frequent teaching of the day. Rabbinic literature of the day created a clear distinction that your “neighbor” was only to include things like Israelites. What Jesus’ story does is it expands the parameters of who is my neighbor far beyond exactly where this lawyer, any Jew, or even us nowadays really feel comfy.

Jesus launches into his parable (Luke 10:30) that offers response not just to the Lawyer’s second query, “Who is my neighbor?” but also his initially, “What should I do to be saved?

Whilst Jesus’ story is fictional, the information are pulled from genuine life. The road from Jerusalem to Jericho was identified to be unsafe. Thieves would typically hide in the numerous caves, curves, and cliffs and ambush unsuspecting travelers. So when Jesus mentions this road and that a man was traveling alone these listening would instantaneously have believed how of how foolish of a selection this man created by traveling alone.

The inevitable happens… The traveler is beat up and robbed. To no surprise of the audience. The surprise of the story is what takes place subsequent.

The traveler is barely hanging onto life when a Priest comes across him (Luke 10:31). But the initial hope is quickly dissipated. He does not assistance. Not only does he not assistance, Jesus tends to make clear that he went out of his way to pass by on the other side of this half dead traveler.

Then a Levite comes by the traveler. Certainly he will cease and assistance, correct? Nope. He as well passes by on the other side.

To definitely realize what is going on in Jesus’ story we require to realize the customs of the day. Each of these initially two individuals are clergymen. A priest’s job was to officiate temple sacrifices and Levites helped sustain the temple and its’ solutions. Each of these jobs expected them to stay ceremonially clean though on duty. There was a list of factors they couldn’t do, one particular of them becoming touching a dead physique. Of course these guidelines weren’t supposed to hold individuals from assisting these in require. Therefore they are most likely applying this as a selfish excuse not to assistance.

These religious leaders had been much more concerned with their outward look of cleanliness than the actual situation of their heart. This is not the only time Jesus tends to make this point. He criticizes the Pharisees for only cleaning the outdoors of the cup but neglecting the inside in Matthew 23:25 and Luke 11:39. Jesus is receiving at the very same point right here. It is exactly where your heart is that matters. And for these characters in the story, it was in the incorrect location.

The lawyer’s heart has to be sinking due to the fact he can see himself in the story. But it is about to get worse for him.

“But a Samaritan…” Luke 10:33

These words nowadays are lost on us. When we see the word Samaritan we believe of a thing very good. The term “Good Samaritan” would have been an oxymoron to the lawyer and the Jews of the day. The Samaritans had been hated by the Jews and had been noticed as half-breeds. There was an intense rivalry that typically turned violent. So the reality that an unclean Samaritan was the hero of the story would have been a punch straight to the gut.

Jesus does not cease with the Samaritan just checking on the guy he goes above and beyond (Luke 10:34-35).  The Samaritan not only has compassion but his compassion moves him to action. He cleans and binds up his wounds, brings him to an inn, cared for him, and paid for his keep. At excellent price to himself he ensured this man was cared for.

The symbolism in this story is striking. The Samaritan was hated by the religious leaders. As was Jesus. He rescued the individual that required him the most. As did Jesus on the cross. And he did all of this out of really like for an individual that could by no means repay him. As did Jesus.

The story is more than and the audience is stunned. But Jesus is not accomplished but. Don’t forget this story was brought on by two queries and Jesus is now circling back about to them.

The lawyers queries of “what should I do to inherit eternal life?” and “who is my neighbor?” show that he was focused on the incorrect issue. He was concerned with right theology. But Jesus shows that being aware of the correct answer is insufficient. All the right Bible expertise is usual if we do not lead it to life transformation.

Jesus shows the lawyer he was asking the incorrect query. The query is not who is my neighbor, or what’s the correct issue to think. Rather, how can I be a very good neighbor, or how can I reside out my beliefs?

Jesus ends with a punch to the gut. “Which of these 3 do you believe was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The lawyer can not even answer… “The one particular who had mercy on him.” He can’t even mention the name. But he can not ignore the apparent message of the parable. He knows what he should do now he has to wrestle with if he will essentially reside that way.

It is simple to study this story and appear down on the lawyer. But this story should really be utilised as a mirror to examine ourselves. Are we much more like the lawyer or the very good samaritan? Are you becoming a very good neighbor? It is simple to speedily answer that query. But Jesus’ story forces us to essentially examine our lives to see for ourselves. 

We’ve heard the story. Now the query is how will we respond. Do we believe our right theology, or beliefs, are sufficient? We will be a very good neighbor to every person in life, even these we do not like?


If you liked this write-up, verify out some of the other articles I’ve written on Jesus’ parables.

What We Can Find out From the Wealthy Man and Lazarus

Judge Not (what Jesus definitely meant)

What We Will need to Know About the Parable of the Talents

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