The Ultimate Good Neighbor
By Stephanie Green, MBC Staff Application Analyst and MBC Tysons Attendee
Have you ever noticed how many components of the Gospel are represented in the parable of the Good Samaritan?
And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Luke 10:25-35 (NASB)
…and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead.
John 10:10a says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.” Satan delights in robbing, stripping and leaving us for dead. Sin leads to death. Romans 5:12 states, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Romans 3:23 makes it clear that no one is exempt from the consequence of Adam and Eve’s choice in the Garden, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Without an atoning payment for our sins we would all be left for dead like the traveler in this parable.
A priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
Neither the law, religion, nor our social status is effective to save us from our sinful nature. There is nothing we can be or achieve that will save us. Romans 7:18 states, “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” Like the priest and the Levite, despite how honorable and moral we may look on the outside, we are incapable of perfectly keeping God’s law of love.
And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
There is Another who, out of compassion, came to rescue the dying. Luke 19:10 explains, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Jesus freely gave Himself to heal and restore us who would otherwise die.
On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’
The Samaritan instructs the innkeeper to continue caring for the traveler, and he promises to provide for whatever is needed. This reminds me of Matthew 28: 18-20 – The Great Commission – when Jesus boldly instructs His disciples to go and continue making disciples as He had done because He is with them and has given them all that they need to imitate Him.
To drive home the meaning of this parable, Jesus answers the lawyer’s earlier question regarding who is his neighbor with a return question. “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” Luke 10:36-37
God calls us to reach out to the broken – not to shy away from them. He asks us to take the time to care for others around us, be hospitable, and to bear one another’s burdens. He has given us every skill, gift and circumstance we might need to carry out His commission to spread the Gospel.
Are you focusing your attention and efforts towards reaching out to those who are dying in their sins?
What can you do this week to imitate Christ and continue His mission to your neighbors?
Two challenges this week:
For your believing neighbors…
Call a friend, ministry leader or fellow volunteer and ask to pray for them. Emails are nice, but it’s especially encouraging to hear and witness prayers being presented to God for you by another believer.
For your nonbelieving neighbors…
Send a letter or card expressing what salvation through Christ means to you personally and how Jesus’ love has redeemed you. Be creative with poems or song lyrics, but most importantly, be yourself. Your story is powerful and impactful. God designed it and wants to use it.