Love excludes prejudice. We cannot say we have faith in God and favor one group of people over another. We are call to fulfill the law of love. To love and value your neighbor as we do ourselves. James 2:1-9
One day a religious scholar posed a question to Jesus. He asked “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” Jesus answered him and said, “Love the Lord your God with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, and with every thought that is within you.’ This is the great and supreme commandment. And the second is like it in importance: ‘You must love your friend in the same way you love yourself.’ Contained within these commandments to love you will find all the meaning of the Law and the Prophets.”
Who is my neighbor? We find the answer in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).
During Jesus ministry He told many parables to illustrate a spiritual truth. Once again a religious scholar asked Jesus a question to test His doctrine. “Teacher, what requirement must I fulfill if I want to live forever in heaven?” Is this a trick question? Surely, the religious scholar knew the law. Jesus answered him, “What does Moses teach us? What do you read in the Law?” The religious scholar was able to tell Jesus what the law requires. Umm… Jesus agreed with him and instructed him to go and do exactly that, but the scholar wanted to justify himself so he asked another question, “What do you mean by ‘my neighbor’?” So Jesus broke it down to him by telling him a simple story about the Good Samaritan. Sometimes we just need Jesus to straighten out our thinking to help us understand the truth.
There were several parties to this story. A Jewish man who was robbed by bandits traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. A Jewish priest who saw him from a distance and crossed to the other side of the road to avoid him. A religious man, a Levite and did the same thing. Finally, another man, a Samaritan, saw him and stopped to help the injured man. He gave him first aid, poured olive oil on his wounds, disinfected them with wine, and bandaged them to stop the bleeding. He placed him on his own donkey and took him to an inn for the night. The next morning he paid the innkeeper and told the him to care of him until he comes back from his journey. He also told the innkeeper that If it costs more than what he gave him, he would repay him when he returned. So Jesus said to the religious scholar, “now, tell me, which one of the three men who saw the wounded man proved to be the true neighbor?” The religious scholar responded, “The one who demonstrated kindness and mercy.” Jesus said, “You must go and do the same as he.”
What is the moral lesson in the story?
Our neighbor is the person we meet that has a need that we have the opportunity and ability to do something about. It could be something as simple as paying for someone’s purchase in the grocery store when we see they don’t have enough money. Or helping a young mother whose baby is crying uncontrollably in the shopping mall.
Jesus said in Mark 14:7, “the poor will be with you always,” meaning there will always be opportunities to help the poor and needy. We are to reflect God’s heart for the needs of widow, orphan, alien, and poor. This is the gospel in action.
Dr. Francine is an ordained minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. She hosts a broadcast called “Going Beyond Church” on Facebook. You can connect with Dr. Francine on Facebook at @afrancinegreen as well as on Twitter @beyond_2017. Visit her website at http://www.afrancinegreen.com.