CAST Voices Devotion: Who is Your Neighbour?
By Sandy Reid
23 February 2017
Scripture: Luke 10:25-37
Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?”
He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?”
He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”
“Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”
Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?”
Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.
“A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’
“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”
“The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.
Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”
The word “neighbour” in the Greek means “someone who is near,” and in the Hebrew it means “someone that you have an association with.” When Jesus told this parable a neighbor would have been a Jew and definitely not a Samaritan. Samaritans were despised by the Jews. Jesus was really challenging this religious scholar to love those he despised.
The first character in the parable is a Priest who showed no love or compassion. If anyone should have shown love it should have been the priest.
The next person in the parable was a Levite. The role of a Levite was to assist the priests in the Jewish temple. A Levite would have known the law to love, but he does just as the Priest did – walks right by.
The next person who comes along is the Samaritan. Samaritans were considered the low class of society, as they had intermarried with non-Jews and not kept the law. Jews would have nothing to do with them. We do not know if the injured man was a Jew or a Gentile. It made no difference to the Samaritan. He did not consider race or religion. He saw a man in need and acted on this.
Jesus used a Samaritan in this parable because he knew the religious scholar asking the question hated Samaritans. In verse 36 when Jesus asks “Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?” he could not even say the word Samaritan because he hated them so much.
It is so easy for us to read this parable and think of course we would stop and help this man. Maybe we need to put some characters from 2017 in this parable.
- Who would be your Priest?
- Who would be your Levite?
- Who would be your Samaritan?
Tell the parable again with those characters in the story.
- Who is your “neighbour”?
- Do you love your neighbour?
Jesus said “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”