As a Christian, you must have wondered who your neighbor is according to the Bible. For today’s culture or English meaning of the word, neighbor is so simple, the one who lives near your home is your neighbor, that’s what we learn in the English dictionary. But Jesus talks about a neighbor in a very different way.
Jesus says in Mark 12:31 ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’. In order to love our neighbor, we must understand who our neighbor is from a Biblical perspective.
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
In Luke 10:25-37, an expert in the law asked a question to Jesus “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered him in the parable.
There was a man going to Jericho from Jerusalem, on his way he was attacked, robbed, stripped, beaten, and left half-dead by robbers. While he was there, a priest comes, sees a beaten man but without helping him, he went away. A second man comes who is Levite, sees the beaten man but doesn’t help and he goes away too. Then comes the third man who is Samaritan (Samaritans were despised by Jews), he sees the beaten man, stops, bandages his wounds and takes him to an inn and took care of him without even thinking of his race and religion.
Jesus asks the expert in the law “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” and his response was the one who had compassion and mercy on the beaten man.
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The Priests and Levites were to help the injured man since they were the ones who knew the law but they failed to show love. But a Samaritan showed compassion on him. Jesus not only told about the neighbor but also talked about the difference between the ones who know the laws and the ones who follow the law.
Our neighbor is not the only one who dwells near us but every person who is in need. People tend to help those people whom they know or with whom they feel comfortable. Love has no boundaries. It should not flow only within the same communities or races. The Good Samaritan didn’t care about the injured man’s community or culture. He just saw him in need and helped him.
Jesus loved the whole world and He gave his life for every individual. Not for a specific country or religion or community. He loved all and we must follow Him.
How to be Good Samaritan
Now we have understood who our neighbor is with the parable of the Good Samaritan. It’s time to learn how we can love our neighbor. Before we love anybody in the world, we first must love our God. Jesus says loving God with all our heart, soul, and strength, and with our entire mind is the first greatest commandment in the Bible and second is love our neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40). Unless we get filled by God’s love, we cannot love others. With the help of God, we can love others selflessly and intentionally.
Let’s love others without any boundaries or looking at the class. We can show the living God to the world by loving others. The Bible says “whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 John 4:8). After explaining who the neighbor is, Jesus tells the man who was an expert in the law “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37). We must put in practice what the Good Samaritan did to the injured man.