Loving your Neighbor - Luke 10:25-37

The commandments of the Old Testament can be boiled down to two commandments – the first we discussed on Wednesday. Love the Lord your God with every bit of your being (Deut. 6:5), and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18). Everything else God commands falls under one of these two commandments.

An expert in religious law came to ask Jesus how one receives eternal life. As an expert in religious law this man knew every commandment given in the Bible, and even the laws which the religious leaders added to the Bible. Jesus turns the table and asks him what the law says. The religious expert shows off his knowledge by quoting the two greatest commandments. Jesus tells him that he must follow them. It sounds easy in theory, but the religious expert was unsure. He understood the loving God part, but what did it mean to love your neighbor?

During that time the Jewish people had circled the wagons, in a sense. They saw themselves as the only ones loved by God, the only ones who could be righteous. They had neglected the parts of Scripture which told them they were to be a light among the nations. So Jesus tells this religious leader a parable. The hero in this story is not the Jewish priest, nor the Levite, both who were well versed in the law and knew the command to love their neighbor. No. The hero was the hated – the horrible – Samaritan. The Samaritan people were considered the lowest of the low, they were worse than any other Gentiles – at least to the Jewish mind. But here he is the hero. Because this man knew that anyone he encountered in life was a neighbor and was to be treated with love.

Thoughts to Ponder
It’s easy to get caught up in the appearances of being religious and forget to show love to all. The bad driver on the highway is our neighbor. The rude person in the grocery store is our neighbor. Even the person at church who greatly irritates you is your neighbor. Do you love your neighbor?