This past Sunday at Freedom, we looked at one of Jesus’ most famous parables in Luke 10. It’s the parable of the Good Samaritan. I think one of the challenges with being so familiar with a story is that we can actually miss the point of the story. The point of the story is that a neighbor is something we are, NOT something we have.
One of the things we learn from Jesus is that our love for people is an indication of the authenticity & health of our relationship with God. You and I must first love God with all that is in us & then we will be able to love others as we love ourselves. In other words, love for God produces love for others. We cannot truly love others without first loving God!
Jesus ends His story with a practical application. To help his lawyer friend understand this point Jesus asked him the all-important question in Luke 10:36–37, “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
This means that as believers in Christ, neighborly love is a whole way of life. The lawyer wanted to know who was or wasn’t his neighbor. But the problem with that logic is that you can’t define who your neighbor is in advance. You can only be a neighbor when the moment arrives. In other words, a person becomes my neighbor when I treat him or her in a neighborly way. So, instead of wasting our time defining our “neighbors”…we need to get busy loving those that God puts right in front of us.
As believers in Christ…we are called to love our neighbors, and when we do we demonstrate the love of Christ.
By being good neighbors, our actions & our affections confirm the story we tell others about Jesus, the cross, & the Gospel. By becoming good neighbors we have the opportunity to share God’s love with all those around us.