Who Is My Neighbor?
Jesus answered the lawyer, “You shall love the Lord with all your heart, mind and strength and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). Unable to trap Jesus, the young lawyer tried to justify himself by asking Him, “Who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10:29).
Jesus then told the parable of The Good Samaritan. Jesus characterized the priest in the parable as one who by example should have shown mercy and kindness to the helpless and wounded individual, but he just looked at him and passed on the other side of the road. The Levite who came by after him did the same. Along comes a Samaritan, despised by the Jews; on seeing the wounded man, descends from his animal and renders first aid to the victim before putting him on his animal and taking him to the nearest inn. There he pays for his stay and offers to pay the difference on his return if more money is incurred. (Luke 10:27-37).
Who then acted as neighbor? Jesus moved beyond the confines of narrow thinking to the broad compass of inclusion. His parables were lessons of what love truly is. His life and teaching showed that love encompasses justice, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, patience, goodness and help to the needy and suffering. God sent His only begotten Son to save the world, not only a selected few. Hence He expects those of us who are Christians to show mercy and compassion, even to our enemies.