God’s Word Is Alive
Who Really Is Your Neighbor?
One day a lawyer, a man versed in God’s Law given to the Israelites, rises up and asks Jesus a test question: “Teacher, by doing what shall I inherit everlasting life?” When the answer is given, that one must love God completely and must love one’s neighbor as oneself, the lawyer asks: “Who really is my neighbor?” Jesus answers by telling the following story:
A certain Jew is traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho, Jesus says. The man falls among robbers who take everything he has, beat him and leave him half-dead. The situation is desperate, since the man will soon die if he is not given help.
Well, Jesus continues, by coincidence a Jewish priest is going down over the same road. What does he do? He does not even stop! Without any mercy in his heart, he goes over to the other side and continues on his way.
In time a Levite, another man with privileges of service at God’s temple, comes along. But he does not have any mercy in his heart either. He also goes by on the opposite side of the road and does not stop to help.
Look! Who is that helping the beaten Jew? It is a Samaritan man. This is amazing because Jews and Samaritans are enemies. As the Bible says: “Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.”—John 4:9.
Not only does the Samaritan bind up the man’s wounds and put him on his own beast but he also takes him to an inn and stays for a while and takes care of him. And then, as you can see, he takes out money that amounts to two days’ wages, gives it to the innkeeper and says: “Take care of him, and whatever you spend besides this, I will repay you when I come back here.”
After Jesus finishes his story he turns to the lawyer and asks: “Who of these three seems to you to have made himself neighbor to the man that fell among the robbers?” The lawyer answers: “The one that acted mercifully toward him.” To that Jesus says: “Go your way and be doing the same yourself.”—Luke 10:25-37.
What a fine lesson all of us can learn from this! Regardless of race, color, nationality or social position, people are still our neighbors. And if we are to receive everlasting life, we must love them and do kind deeds to them.