Being a Neighbor

Key Verse: “Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour 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 10:36, 37

Selected Scripture:
Luke 10:25-37

OUR LESSON BEGINS WITH one of the lawyers of Israel asking Jesus a question. He said, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 10:25) Rather than giving him an answer, Jesus asked the lawyer what was written in the Law of Israel. The lawyer correctly responded, “Thou shalt 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 neighbour as thyself.” (vs. 27) However, he asked a further question of Jesus, “Who is my neighbour?”—vs. 29

In answer to the lawyer’s second question, Jesus proceeded to tell what we commonly refer to as the parable of the ‘good Samaritan.’ Paraphrasing the parable, a man traveled from Jerusalem to Jericho. As he traveled, he came upon thieves. They took his clothes, wounded him, and left him for dead. As the man lay there, both a priest and a Levite came by, but they both avoided the man and passed by on the other side of the road. Later a Samaritan came, and when he saw the man he had compassion on him. He bound up his wounds, took him to an inn, and made sure he was cared for until fully recovered. After giving the parable, Jesus asked the lawyer the question contained in our Key Verse. When the lawyer responded correctly that it was the Samaritan that had truly been a neighbor unto the man, Jesus told him that he should go and conduct himself in a similar way.

In this parable, Jesus shows what is meant by the statement to love ‘thy neighbour as thyself.’ (vs. 27) It means to do things for others (even if it involves sacrifice), as you would want done for you under similar circumstances. In the parable, it was certain that, without help, the man traveling would have died from his wounds. The Samaritan realized that if he had been lying wounded, he would have desired the help of a loving neighbor, and so he did not hesitate for a moment to give that help to a fellow man. On the other hand, the priest and the Levite did not show this quality of love. In fact, after seeing the man, they seemed to intentionally avoid him and passed by on the opposite side of the road.

The failure of the priest and the Levite to offer help to the man shows that many who claim to be God’s special representatives are far from his favor because they do not have this quality of love. This was true with the leaders of Israel in times past, and has also been true with many of the leaders of Christendom during the present age.

On the other hand, the Samaritan, generally held in very low esteem by the Israelites, had a character pleasing to God. This shows that God is truly pleased with a reflection of his own character of love, compassion, and tender mercy, and not with an outward ‘priestly’ appearance. Such must be our actions and conduct in everyday life regardless of our position or background. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour.”—Rom. 13:10

Dawn Bible Students Association
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