Loving Your Neighbor
In this incident as recorded by Luke, the physician, we observe a Jewish teacher of the law came to Jesus to test him with a question about eternal life. His question showed that he thought of eternal life as something to be obtained by some special act. Jesus’ reply showed that obtaining eternal life is inseparably linked with the way people live their daily lives. If they do not put God before all things and their neighbor before themselves, they can have no assurance of eternal life. (Flemming)
F.B. Meyer in his exposition of the text believed that the ensuing story told by our Lord is a parable as it was probably suggested by the journey up to Jerusalem. Or it may be founded on an actual occurrence.
Notice how the Master answered the inquiry, “Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus said in effect, stated Meyer, that the question is not, “Who is my neighbor?”
Rather, “Whom will I be a neighbor to?”
In other words, one ought to ask who wants my help? Neighborhood consists not in what you receive, but in what you give. It is independent of race, creed and the ordinary sentiment of pity. Love overleaps all these distinctions and risks its very life in order to render help. In fact, this parable is a very “poem of Love.” It is to be compared with 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (next week’s lesson, believe it or not).
“He who showed mercy on him,” said the lawyer, unwilling to name the Samaritan, and by his very reluctance, giving the point to his answer which Christ wished to bring out.
Thusly, we are not to love because we are neighbors in any geographical sense, but we become neighbors to the man farthest from us when we love and help him. The relation has nothing to do with proximity. If we prove ourselves neighbors to any man by exercising love to him, then the relation intended by the word is as wide as humanity. We must come to realize that one becomes our “neighbor” when a throb of pity shoots through our heart, and thereby we become a “neighbor” to him or her.
Church Supply Pastor and Christian columnist, Dr. Wayne M. Williams, presently resides in Athens with his wife of 39 years, Lita. For additional study notes, see the Facebook page International Sunday School Lessons.