In our modern world when we talk about loving our neighbor, we often believe it is to care for the man living next door, and although he is our close neighbor, the neighbor that Jesus spoke of is not the one living safely next door, but the one who is living in our world wounded, insecure, and malnourished.
During the sermon on the Mount Jesus told us, “Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy”, and in that statement he meant blessed are those who considers his neighbor showing mercy to the poor, the needy, and the wounded, for he will in return receive mercy from God.
When speaking concerning the Parable of the Good Samaritan, God was not asking us to be merciful to the neighbor next door we know has everything he needs, he was dealing with the hard issues of life, he was speaking of those in our country, streets, and society who are suffering right before our eyes. When he told us to preach the gospel, he was sending us to the hopeless, the broken, and the outcast. The mission of the gospel is to reach the dying and those truly in need.
When Jesus was asked who was our neighbor, Jesus answered plainly that our neighbors were the less-fortunate in our lives, streets, and world. When asked the question as a test, Jesus answer according to truth of the gospel and in accordance to his mission.
And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?” And he answering said, “Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself”. And he said unto him, “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shall live”. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
The question who is my neighbor is a question everyone asked, but I could not have answered better than Jesus did, and so that everyone would get the message, Jesus answered the question with a story.
Jesus answering said, “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, “Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spends more, when I come again, I will repay thee”. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. (Luke 10:25-37 KJV)
To answer the question, our neighbor is not the man next door living securely at our side, rather it is the man in the street, at home, dying without hope. The woman who has lost her husband, the child who is without a father, and those who have fallen prey to the evil of this world. If we are truly to live as the light Jesus instructed us to be, we then need to become neighbors to those who are in need that we may be blessed. Support us with your visit